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Super Bowl LI is just days away! And Downtown Houston is a flurry of activity — as some big projects reach completion, new restaurants serve their first meals, and businesses throughout the area dress up their windows. It might feel as if this is all for the big game, but the development underway is the result of years of planning and collaboration that will affect the city for decades to come.
An astounding $2.8 billion in new construction projects have recently been completed or are currently underway in Downtown — including 16 residential properties, 7 hotels, 3 highrise office buildings, a new campus for the High School for the Performing and Visual Arts, major improvements to the George R. Brown Convention Center (GRB), and several public parking garages.
Much of Downtown Houston’s growth can be attributed to the city’s focus on increasing the residential population in the area — which is needed to achieve a high-energy vibe in the district. There are currently more than 65,000 residents in Greater Downtown and 5,400 residents within the Downtown District’s boundaries; that number is expected to more than double over the next few years, thanks to the city’s Downtown Living Initiative, a tax-incentive program created in 2012 to encourage new mixed-use multifamily residential developments Downtown.
The number of hotels Downtown has grown from 15 to 22 — just in time for Super Bowl LI. This helps make Downtown a better destination not only for business travelers and conventioneers but for weekend wanderers as well. Transformational interior and exterior enhancements to the GRB include the addition of 5 new restaurants, a new grand entrance, and a new people-friendly plaza called Avenida Houston that accommodates public art, alfresco dining, casual gatherings and, of course, Super Bowl festivities.
Thanks in large part to the boom in residential and hospitality development, award-winning chefs and restaurateurs have been creating new restaurants Downtown. Among the establishments that have opened or are close to opening in the area around the GRB and Avenida Houston are Xochi, Grotto, Biggio’s, and Brasserie du Parc. Historic Market Square has also welcomed newcomers to the neighborhood, including Dizzy Kaktus, Craft Beer Cellar, and Houston favorite Local Foods.
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