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

BCMHouston

@bcmhouston

Avoiding stress outright is unrealistic, but how can you cope with stress in a healthy way? Check out these tips: https://t.co/T3zHK0UdTg #StressAwarenessMonth

21 mins ago
profile_image

MD Anderson Cancer Center

@MDAndersonNews

“If you can prevent your child from having cancer, why wouldn’t you do it?”Watch to hear Scott Courville’s story of overcoming HPV-related #tonsilcancer and why he now advocates for the #HPV vaccine. #hncsm #CancerMoonshot #endcancer https://t.co/JMOHsVnWKZ

22 mins ago
profile_image

Rice University

@RiceUniversity

RT @MoodyArts: Sneak peek! Costumes by Machine Dazzle are coming along in preparation for his fashion show this Sat. at 8pm in the gallery…

39 mins ago
profile_image

BCMHouston

@bcmhouston

Mark your calendars for the next Evenings with Genetics event on May 7. Drs. Lorraine Potocki and Jordan Kemere will discuss Williams syndrome. https://t.co/U5X7WfMkwi #Williamssyndrome

41 mins ago
profile_image

Rice University

@RiceUniversity

RT @RiceKinderInst: We're proud our research was helpful in highlighting the issues Gulfton residents experience daily. A portion of Hillcr…

42 mins ago
profile_image

MD Anderson Cancer Center

@MDAndersonNews

Pembrolizumab is more effective in patients with metastatic non-clear cell renal cell carcinoma, says our @ejonasch. #kidneycancer #immunotherapy #endcancer https://t.co/MnxwJlPHUH

53 mins ago
profile_image

Veterans Affairs

@DeptVetAffairs

Borne The Battle 142: Carroll Harris – Marine Corps Veteran, Postal Inspector, Marine Corps Historian https://t.co/k9PNoDhkUc #BTBattle #VAntagePoint

1 hour ago
profile_image

MD Anderson Cancer Center

@MDAndersonNews

RT @ShannonWestin: This is going to be fun! We’ll be chatting about #ovariancancer and @SprintforLife with @GreatDayHouston #gyncsm #oncsu…

1 hour ago
profile_image

Harris Health System

@harrishealth

Every day, 29 people in the U.S. die in drunken-driving accidents according to the CDC. Learn how to prevent #drinkinganddriving and watch Ben Taub Hospital's nurses try on drunk simulation goggles to demonstrate how vision is impaired as #bloodalcoholconcentration rises. https://t.co/wxLXPazxpK

2 hours ago
profile_image

Rice University

@RiceUniversity

RT @mbloom11: #AvengersEndgame is here... Our #FirstGame is near 🦉”Rice Fight Never Dies” #GoOwls 👐 ✖️ #IntellectualBrutality 💪 https://t…

2 hours ago
profile_image

Harris Health System

HarrisHealthSystem

Every day, 29 people in the U.S. die in drunken-driving accidents according to the CDC. That’s one death every 50 minutes. In Texas, the legal blood alcohol concentration (BAC) limit is .08 percent. As summer approaches, which means there are more people on the road, learn how to stay safe with Ben Taub Hospital’s nurses and trauma injury prevention and outreach coordinator Kati Bare. Watch them try on drunk simulation goggles to demonstrate how vision is impaired as BAC rises.

2 hours ago
profile_image

TAMU Health Sciences

@TAMHSC

Coal could yield treatment for traumatic injuries: Scientists, including Thomas A. Kent, MD, @TAMUmedicine, discover coal-derived 'dots' are effective antioxidant. (via @ScienceDaily) https://t.co/kCCmetKvIg https://t.co/CV6aJ64UiR

2 hours ago
profile_image

Veterans Affairs

@DeptVetAffairs

Listening to the Voice of the Veteran through the My Life, My Story Program https://t.co/RwDtldnxTC #VAntagePoint

3 hours ago
profile_image

Harris Health System

@harrishealth

RT @BCM_Surgery: Congratulations Dr. @srobtodd for your induction as president of the @SWSCongress at the 71st annual meeting! @UTAustin @T…

3 hours ago
profile_image

Veterans Affairs

@DeptVetAffairs

Medal of Honor Recipient commemorated at the New Orleans VA Medical Center https://t.co/8tQuz3FPjK #VAntagePoint

4 hours ago