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So What's New In Houston its 2018

Development never stops in Houston. Consider this your go to guide for staying in the know on the nation's fourth largest city and may we add the greatest.

Hobby airport expansion completed Oct.2015 Southwest Airlines spent $150 million to upgrade William P. Hobby Airport into Houston's second international gateway. The airport added an additional parking garage, roadway modifications, new concourse and an expanded terminal, all of which will help accommodate international flights to and from Houston. The expanded terminal makes room for a new ticket counter, six additional security checkpoints, five new gates and a Federal Inspections Services facility for Customs and Borders Protection. Avenida houston development - Completed December 2016 Construction wrapped in late 2016 on the 1,000-room Marriott Marquis and improvements to the George R. Brown Convention Center. The Marriott boasts 100,000 square feet of meeting space, plus a one -of a kind Texas shaped lazy river and infinity pool. The hotel is connected to the north side of the GRB, opposite the 1,200-room Hilton Americas-Houston. Meanwhile, the front facade of the GRB itself was renovated to feature ground-level restaurants and a new concourse. Eateries include Grotto Downtown, Pappadeaux Seafood Kitchen, McAllister’s Deli and the soon-to-open Bud’s Pitmaster Barbecue and fusion concept Kulture. Other changes include an art-inspired pedestrian plaza along Avenida de La Americas and a new convention center parking garage. The entire area has been rebranded Avenida Houston. Tied to the pedestrian plaza, The Wharf brings an intimate, tree-lined patio space where convention attendees and other visitors can overlook the 12-acre Discovery Green park. Lone star flight Museum Relocated Sep. 2017 The Lone Star Flight Museum will relocate from Galveston to Houston's Ellington Airport. Construction on the new museum began in early 2016 and the facility is slated to open in September 2017. The $38 million, 130,000-square-foot Houston museum will include the Texas Aviation Hall of Fame, a renowned flying collection of historic aircraft, a $1 million high-tech Aviation Learning Center and dynamic hands-on exhibits. Other components include an auditorium, exhibit hall, library, gift shop and cafeteria.

Officials broke ground in May 2015 on a six-acre site in Midtown that will become a multifaceted urban park. The $18 million project will include recreation facilities, retail space, a 300-unit apartment complex and more.

Airline farmers market redevelopment, Groundbreaking in Late 2017 The decades-old farmers market on Airline Drive in the North Heights is a mainstay for that neighborhood. But a plan to redevelop the 18-acre space would likely bring new food options, retailers and others to the site, making it a more attractive destination for locals and tourists. MLB Capital Partners is leading the effort and involving local chefs in the project. Plans are continuing to develop.

Post Oak Boulevard Redevelopment, Completion in Mid 2018 A major thoroughfare in the Uptown area will be completely transformed by the end of 2018, creating a pedestrian-oriented corridor designed to keep pace with a rapidly changing district. The Uptown Houston District is leading the effort to redevelop the entire length of Post Oak Boulevard from Richmond Avenue to I-610 West. What will emerge is a heavily-landscaped, grand boulevard lined with shops, restaurants and residential buildings. Sidewalks are being widened, extensive lighting installed and nearly 1,000 trees will soon create a green canopy over the street.

In early 2015, the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston revealed expansion plans that will change the face of the cultural institution in the years to come. The $450 million project includes two new buildings that will complement the institution's two existing structures as well as a complete reimagining of the north side of the campus with pedestrian-friendly additions and underground parking. The Nancy and Rich Kinder Building will feature two floors of gallery exhibition space, a theater, cafe, meeting space and a restaurant. The project will also include a new 80,000-square-foot Glassell School design. Construction on the project will start later this year and is expected to be finished by 2019. Get updates here and read about the project here.

In October 2017, construction will begin on a $33.8 million project that will more than double the size of Holocaust Museum Houston. The new Lester and Sue Smith Campus of the museum will span 57,000 square feet and make HMH the fourth-largest Holocaust museum in the nation. The expanded museum will include a new 200-seat theater that can accommodate professional performances, an expansion of the “Bearing Witness” permanent exhibit that includes testimony and artifacts from Houston-area survivors, new exhibit space for the German World War II railcar and Danish rescue boat and a new library and classroom space among other improvements. More...

Houston's oldest public green space is undergoing a $33 million makeover. Third Ward's Emancipation Park was purchased by former slaves in 1870 as a dedicated place for them to celebrate Juneteenth. Plans call for a new LEED-certified recreation facility, basketball gym, public artwork, small pavilions, a baseball field and more. The renovations are expected to act as a development catalyst for this part of Third Ward.

Everything really is bigger in Texas. The North Houston Bike Park will be one of the largest parks of its kind in the country when completed in the fall of 2017.The 20-acre BMX park is rising adjacent to the North Houston Skatepark, the largest skatepark in North America. Located just minutes from Bush Intercontinental Airport, the bike park will feature a BMX-sanctioned race track, street course, freestyle ramps and bowls, and a community events center. The complex is expected to cost roughly $14 million and backers believe it will draw cyclists from across the country and perhaps even abroad for recreation as well as training for the X-Games and other major sporting events.

Grand Texas Theme Park - Completion Expected Summer 2018 Talk of a new theme park is making waves in Houston. With an estimated opening of summer 2018, the 632-acre amusement park will be Houston areas largest attraction, including the Big Rivers Waterpark, The Grove Factory Outlets, Speedsportz Racing Park, Grand Texas Sportsplex, Grand Texas RV Resort, and more. The park will be located in New Caney just 30 minutes from the heart of downtown. The historic former Sunset Coffee Building at Allen's Landing is being returned to use and will hopefully bring new life to Buffalo Bayou Downtown. Sitting at the confluence of Buffalo and White Oak bayous where the Allen Brothers first came ashore and established the town of Houston in 1836, the $8 million project will offer an outdoor plaza, refreshment facilities, canoe and kayak rentals and a rooftop event space among other amenities. The building will also house the offices of the Buffalo Bayou Partnership.

A new master plan could bring more than $200 million in renovations to Houston's largest park. The 1,500-acre Memorial Park near the Galleria district will soon see an update to its 3-mile jogging trail. But more long-term plans call for a land bridge over Memorial Drive, an indoor swimming pool, additional bike and pedestrian trails and a rugby pitch, just to name a few elements. Once it's approved, the master plan could take up to 10 years to completely realize. In early 2015, the Houston City Council approved a contract with the nonprofit group "Houston Botanic Garden" to take over an aging golf course in Southeast Houston. The group has until the end of 2017 to raise $20 million that will allow them to take control of the property and begin developing a major botanic garden on the site. Altogether, the first phase of the project is expected to cost $40 million and take several years to construct. The group continues to fundraise and is in the process of hiring a firm to develop a master plan for the site.

A seat at the chef’s table? At James Beard Award winner Justin Yu’s new restaurant, the answer is always yes! One of Houston’s hottest new restaurants, Theodore Rex, will keep several tables and seats at the bar open for walk-in diners at this modern bistro.

Elevated Bayou Cuisine. That’s how celebrity chef and James Beard Award nominee Bryan Caswell describes the food at his new restaurant, Oxbow 7, located in downtown Houston’s central business district.

“Top Chef” champ and James Beard Award winner Chef Paul Qui is bringing his winning recipes to H-town. The Austin-based chef is expanding his culinary portfolio with Aqui and inviting all Houstonians to come experience his Southeast Asian cuisine.

You don't have to head to the Texas coast for the catch of the day. Just a short drive from downtown, in the historic Heights neighborhood, Star Fish coastal bar and kitchen serves up fresh seafood in an upscale setting.

Moody Center for the Arts at Rice University - Opened February 2017 Designed by acclaimed Los Angeles-based architect Michael Maltzan to bring together the Rice community and the Houston public and enable innovative artistic work to flourish, the $30 million, 50,000-square-foot Moody will serve as an experimental platform for creating and presenting works in all disciplines, a flexible teaching space and a forum for creative partnerships with visiting national and international artists. Open and accessible to the public, the Moody is dedicated to trans-disciplinary collaboration in the arts, sciences, and humanities, and will establish a new arts district on the campus, close by the distinguished Shepherd School of Music and the permanent James Turrell Twilight Epiphany Skyspace. The Moody will provide facilities including art gallery space, a 150-seat black box theater, a gallery for experimental performance and a café. Its defining feature is the light-flooded, interdisciplinary maker lab at its core: an atrium with immediate access to surrounding resources that include a wood shop, metal shop, paint booth, rapid prototyping areas, studio classrooms, technology lending library and audiovisual editing booths.

White Oak Music Hall is one of the premier live music venues in Houston. Just minutes from downtown, The 8,000 square foot live music entertainment complex features multiple indoor and outdoor stages along with the Raven Tower ice house. The Lawn stage regularly hosts big-name concerts each weekend like The Lumineers, The Flaming Lips, Shovels & Rope, and Okkervil River. Built in 1926, an underground cistern was used for decades to hold a large portion of Houston’s public drinking water. After it sprang an irreparable leak, the 85,000 square-foot public reservoir was drained and sat unused and practically forgotten about. The hypnotic beauty of the chamber is reminiscent of Istanbul’s Basilica Cistern but with thin rays of light from open hatches above that illuminate the wide expanse.

Houston School for the Performing and Visual Arts New Campus - Completion Expected in Late 2018 Houston's High School for the Performing and Visual Arts, the first in the nation to marry academics with a concentrated training in the arts, is building a new 168,000-square-foot building Downtown. The massive new structure will relocate the school that inspired the musical Fame from its current Montrose campus into the center of Downtown adjacent to the Theater District. The five-level building will include an 800-seat main theater with a balcony, dance and music studios, and art galleries. Plans also call for a modern outdoor dining area on the first level and outdoor roof terrace located near the library. S Founded in 1978, the theater will soon undergo a $30.5 million expansion including three new theaters and a four-story parking garage. The new space will be located across the street from its current two-theater campus located along Buffalo Bayou near downtown. The new campus is expected to be called The Gordy and will double the theater's square footage to 66,850 square feet from 32,091 square feet. Total seats will also increase to about 618 from 403. Groundbreaking is planned for summer 2018 and The Gordy is expected to open for the 2019-2020 season.

The Menil Collection has appointed Michael Van Valkenburgh Associates (MVVA) to enhance and expand the landscape design of the institution’s 30-acre campus. The appointment signaled of implementation of the Menil’s master plan for its urban “neighborhood of art,” as the enclave of museum buildings, green spaces, and bungalows has been called. The Menil’s project, undertaken on the basis of a master site plan by David Chipperfield Architects, calls for the creation of additional green space and walkways, new visitor amenities such as the now-open Bistro Menil and new buildings. The first new art building on campus will be the Menil Drawing Institute, a freestanding center for the exhibition, collection, conservation and study of modern and contemporary drawings, to be designed by the Los Angeles-based firm Johnston Marklee.

Work has begun on a $250 million redevelopment initiative that will bring more high-end retail to Houston's famed Galleria. Galleria III is being demolished to make room for a new, more pedestrian-friendly space that will front Westheimer and provide room for about 35 new luxury stores including The Webster and Celine as well as a brand new Saks. The redevelopment is slated for completion in mid to late 2015. The Downtown Redevelopment Authority is vetting proposals to redevelop the former Sakowitz department store building at Main and Dallas streets. The project could include as much as 90,000 square feet of retail space. More broadly, the authority is looking at options to bring a total of up to 400,000 square feet of retail to the Dallas Street corridor.

The former managing partner of River Oak’s Brasserie 19, Shawn Virene, returned with more sparkle and bubbly for H-Town. Virene brings the best of France’s Champagne region and Bouzy village with the opening of champagne-fueled concept restaurant, a’Bouzy.

Chapman & Kirby, an upscale “gastro-lounge”, is the latest addition to EaDo’s rapidly growing dining and entertainment scene. Described as “steampunk industrial,” the large 9,000 square foot space offers a sophisticated yet cool vibe with unique touches like antique mirrors, dark leather, gold accents, brick, and Edison light bulbs.

Better Luck Tomorrow, the “neighborhood bar with food” concept recently opened by acclaimed chef Justin Yu and prolific bar operator Bobby Heugel, features a series of easygoing cocktails and a smart selection of dishes far above typical bar fare.

The first Texas venture for Richard Sandoval Restaurants is a chic bourbon concept dubbed Bayou & Bottle, set in the lobby of Four Seasons Houston. Created by celebrity chef and restaurateur Richard Sandoval, the lively bar serves more than 100 varieties of bourbons and whiskeys, along with a well-edited menu of New American fare.

B-Cycle Expands Across Central Houston - Expansion through 2018 The city's B-Cycle program kicked into high gear in 2014, expanding from a pilot phase of just three bike racks around Downtown to nearly 30 stations stretching from Montrose to the Museum District. Plans call for continued expansion in 2016 and beyond. The system currently includes 31 stations and 225 bikes but will add another 71 stations and 568 bikes with money from a federal grant. B-Cycle will move into areas like the city’s major university campuses, the Med Center and other areas inside the 610 Loop that have not yet benefited from bike share. The bike-share program allows member users to check-out cruiser-style bikes free of charge for up to an hour and just $2 for each additional ½ hour.

The demand for Corporate furnished apartments in Houston has been growing over the past year and more and more travelers are using fully furnished apartments for their temporary stays instead of using hotel rooms, the main reasons are the space and ability to cook their own meals, amenities comes next but are not the main reason. Companies however use corporate housing companies such as Pleasant Stay Apartments in order to cut down their lodging and accommodation expenses, now days you can find furnished apartments all over the city in great locations in even greater communities.

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