Unveiling Market Square’s New Look

The construction fences surrounding Market Square Park for the last 6 months are now down, ahead of tomorrow’s grand reopening extravaganza starring Mayor Parker and local rockabilly revivalists the John Evans Band — and including, as well, many activities for dogs. The latest $3 million makeover is the Downtown park’s third revamp since the 1970s, and was designed by local landscape architects Lauren Griffith Associates and Ray + Hollington Architects. Among the features: a new food kiosk run by Montrose mainstay Niko Niko’s (and featuring their new breakfast pita), a dog run, a few artworks carried over from the park’s previous incarnation, and a 9/11 memorial.


Photos: Swamplot inbox; Site Plan: Lauren Griffith Associates

28 Comment

  • I was by the square the other day and it looked really really nice. Definitely looking forward to checking it out after all of the opening ceremonies.

  • Big improvement and I bet the dog run becomes a social isntitution for the loft dwellars. If only it included an implosion of the Kim Son garage…

  • It was better before.

  • I’ve been casually observing this over the months while walking to Treebeards for lunch. This sort of thing would work well if Market Square were still either a market or a square, but today that part of downtown is really dead. Also, I’m trying to be open-minded but the 9/11 memorial seems tacky bordering on offensive.

  • Im sure the homeless folks are gonna love the makeover!

  • The city spends some money to redo a park in downtown and no one has anything nice to say? That’s a damn shame. I’m with ‘K’, I look forward to checking it out.

  • Ranger, the naysayers/pissants are the same types of folks who swore that Discovery Green would be a failure. They were wrong then and they are wrong now. Some people seek the negative in everything. I can’t imagine living my life like that. This park is going to be awesome. We are headed there this evening; can’t wait!

  • I was for keeping it as it was because I was concerned they were packing too much into the space. I was wrong. This is vast improvement and a great addition to the area. Between Niko Niko’s and the dog runs, there will be many, many more people using this space now.

  • The new Market Square is like Discovery Green’s little cousin. Both are more heavily programmed than has been typical in Houston’s park spaces. Market Square v3.0 will clearly be more heavily used by people with homes than was the previous version. The Niko Niko kiosk alone will make that happen, and the dog run will help bring in users after business hours. I agree that the 9/11 memorial is a very odd touch.

  • It looks nice. I rarely walk through this area so I probably won’t get a chance to use it. I think we have enough parks downtown now though. I walk around and through the city hall/tranquility park area often and during business hours it’s just a hangout for homeless and drug dealers. I get more use out of the high rise buildings and tunnels than the parks.

  • nice to see dogs continue to take precedence over people in the inner loop. they can’t just use the lawn or the bayou as a dog run?

  • I did not see a single water fountain, certainly with Nico Nico’s there is water there.

  • Without a fountain where will the police horses get a drink. The old fountain was pretty nice.

  • Looks good.

  • Meanwhile, bayou place shuttered up the Angelika, which is the only reason I ever went downtown at night…

  • @ Mel – I just heard about that, how sad :(

  • There is at least one drinking fountain there. And the two large fountains that used to be there are still there. Teh horses will be happy.

  • Cap’n,

    Where are the two fountains located in the drawing above? Are they the two blue dots facing Preston and Congress?

  • Looks pretty, but dude, where’s Love Street???

  • The greater issue is – do we really have a downtown?
    Example from this weekend:
    AV Geeks, an annual event hosted by the Aurora Picture show, Houston’s place for muy alt cinema!- did their thing last weekend out in Katy at the Alamo drinky lots Theater.

    Meanwhile, the Angelika Theater closed.

    “CityCentre” is a dozen miles from downtown. Sugarland and The Woodlands have magically created their own “downtowns.” (Yes, they are roofless malls, but none the less…)

    Modern sprawl means many centers. As I have always contended, just take away the ocean, the mountains, the great weather and the glamor and Houston is simply a small L.A. In the future, Downtown Houston will be even more irrelevant to more people.

  • The city continues to spend money on these little ‘parks’ and the massive expenditure on the sidewalks up and down both sides of Memorial!! All well and good, but we CAN live without those things. When is the city ever going to re-surface Shephard and Durham!?!? Both those roads are heavily travelled and are in dire need of repair from Holcomb to I10. My teeth rattle every time I drive down them – everyday!

  • Yeah, we do have a downtown. It’s where the courts are located. And the Astros, Rockets, Aeros, and soon to be Dynamo. Oh, it’s also where you go if you want to see The Ballet. Or Symphony. Or a Broadway Show. Or a local show at the Alley. Or the Opera. You also go there if you need to bail someone out of jail. Also, if you want to go to the I-Fest, Art Car Parade, Thanksgiving Day Parade, Rodeo Parade, MLK Day Parade, etc… then you need to go downtown. Downtown is also where a large % of native Houstonians over the age of 35 were born (St. Joeseph’s) and is where many of the city’s Fortune 500s are located.

    Houston is full of so many negative nillies.

  • “Houston Swamplot is full of so many negative nillies.”
    Fixed it for you.

  • Downtown. I used to go at night when it was cooler to pick up my mail at the post office. Used to. There are more homeless people downtown at this point than there in the San Jacinto/Fannin/West Alabama/Richmond area.

    At least the ones at Fiesta and Sears are nice. Some of the ones downtown are, well, scary. The “choo-choo” train has gotten scary as well at night.

    As for the 9/11 Memorial, I don’t recall Houston being attacked on 9/11.

    And given the current “political climate” it’s rather inappropriate given the fact that the Islamic Da’Wa center is a block away. Maybe someone wanted to send a message? If so, it was the wrong one.

  • Doofus – So You are saying that downtown is a destination for a daytrip?

    I think that is my point.

  • Regarding the 9/11 memorial – it appears to be in honor of Lauren Catuzzi Grandcolas, a Houstonian and the only Texan on Flight 93 – hence why that memorial is called Lauren’s Garden.

    Also – I have always associated 9/11 with extremist beliefs, not religious beliefs. The purpose of such memorial is more likely to remind us where hate can lead us.

  • Matt Mystery,

    I don’t recall the Houston Heights being attacked during WWII either, but they have a memorial for that. And they built that up the road from the Sons of Hermann lodge. Oh the ridiculousness of it all!!!

  • Was just in Market square today and I have to say the new park is approx. infinitely more more pleasant than the old setup.