Innovation

Former Sears Building to be New Houston Innovation District


By Christine Hall | April 12, 2018

Near the escalators of the former Midtown Sears—known to be the first in Houston, Texas Medical Center CEO William McKeon joined Thursday with Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner, and Rice University President David Leebron and Station Houston CEO John Reale to announce plans for what will become Houston’s innovation district.

“This is an important day for the entire city,” Turner said. “This hub will provide a window into what Houston is doing in digital innovation.”

The 9.4-acre site, anchored by the former Sears building, will get a facelift over the next two years to become a hub designed for the city’s academic, corporate and entrepreneurial communities to collaborate.

Working with Mayor Turner, the idea went from strategy and talk to execution quickly, McKeon said.

“This brings us beyond the sum of our parts,” he said. “We have the opportunity to take digital assets from the Texas Medical Center and locate them here.”

In developing these plans, Rice worked closely with the Greater Houston Partnership, Houston Exponential and Station Houston, the region’s hub for tech innovation and entrepreneurship focused on digital technologies. By leveraging all of the city’s economic strengths, the innovation district will “help transform Houston into a world leader in data science and digital technologies,” Leebron said.

Station Houston will serve as incubator and amenity program operator to support startups, create educational programs and connect Houston’s digital workforce to opportunities.

Having companies from different sectors, like health care, energy, consumer and aerospace, collaborate around digital technologies will be advantageous, said Erik Halvorsen, director of the TMC Innovation Institute.

“It makes sense to bring companies together from different verticals and have them be in the same space with the same advisors and mentors, sitting in the same sessions, sharing ideas,” he said. “There would be unanticipated benefits from the collisions that will occur in a place like this.”

The overall design and development of the building will be led by Hines in conjunction with architects Gensler and James Carpenter. The site, owned by Rice Management Co. was bequeathed to the university by well-known Houstonian Ima Hogg.

It was later leased to Sears, and the department store was built in 1939, deliberately window-less. The architects plan to incorporate light into the space and are already considering areas where that would work organically, including removing panels that covered up parts of windows during a renovation in the 1960s.

The building is located in close proximity to the METRORail Red Line and central to downtown, the Museum District and the Texas Medical Center, which has committed to support the project, along with the Greater Houston Partnership and Houston Exponential.




Social Posts

profile_image

Veterans Affairs

@DeptVetAffairs

Operation Welcome Home AZ to Honor Female US Navy Veteran https://t.co/4MptVhkZRJ via @sedonatimes

53 mins ago
profile_image

Veterans Affairs

@DeptVetAffairs

Greeley, CO Veterans use giant pumpkins to raise funds for Veteran support groups https://t.co/VmWzQizrxs via @GreeleyTribune

2 hours ago
profile_image

Veterans Affairs

@DeptVetAffairs

Vietnam Veteran talks about the Moving Wall memorial coming to town https://t.co/AGPUIypSR8 via @northjersey

3 hours ago
profile_image

MD Anderson Cancer Center

@MDAndersonNews

From naming her IV pole to decorating her hospital room, #lymphoma survivor shares how she got through a #stemcelltransplant: https://t.co/ymTuHbW8hR #endcancer https://t.co/IekDCNuWDp

9 hours ago
profile_image

University of Houston

@UHouston

RT @UHpres: Cougars beat Navy 49-36. Next up USF on Saturday, Oct 27th. Go Coogs!!

10 hours ago
profile_image

University of Houston

@UHouston

Ya woo @UHCougarFB wins!

10 hours ago
profile_image

University of Houston

@UHouston

RT @UHCougarFB: COOGS WIN! The #HTownTakeover defeats Navy, 49-36, to become bowl eligible at 6-1 overall and improve to 3-0 in @American_F…

10 hours ago
profile_image

UTHealth

@UTHealth

Dr. Pauline Rosenau of @UTexasSPH talks about the growing trend of "concierge" medicine and its implications for physicians and patients in this @HoustonChron story: https://t.co/F5GiUhhitK #publichealth #healthcare

11 hours ago
profile_image

MD Anderson Cancer Center

@MDAndersonNews

#Sarcoma caregiver’s advice to other parents of children with #childhoodcancer: “Be kind to yourself.” https://t.co/ChPAU0633S @kidsandcancer #endcancer https://t.co/F6pQ85jKsT

12 hours ago
profile_image

BCMHouston

@bcmhouston

Learn how @BCM_SportsMed athletic trainer Meghan McKay stays fit. https://t.co/hwiYdYrMLE #healthy #habits

12 hours ago
profile_image

Rice University

@RiceUniversity

RT @RiceFootball: 🏈 𝐆𝐀𝐌𝐄 𝐃𝐀𝐘 🏈🆚 » @FIUFootball 📍 » Riccardo Silva Stadium ⏰ » 6:30PM CT 🖥 » ESPN+ 🔗 » https://t.co/apR29eo4Hf 📻 » @S…

13 hours ago
profile_image

Houston Methodist

@MethodistHosp

@ehaasmd Thanks for sharing the photos.

14 hours ago
profile_image

MD Anderson Cancer Center

@MDAndersonNews

What is #protontherapy and what types of cancer can it treat? https://t.co/r63xWsEgr4 @mdaprotons #endcancer https://t.co/yP6k35iFhV

14 hours ago
profile_image

Houston Methodist

@MethodistHosp

@TheCAOG Thanks for sharing the photo.

14 hours ago
profile_image

Houston Methodist

@MethodistHosp

@BCMDeptMedicine Thanks for sharing the info.

14 hours ago