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LOOKING BACK three decades, an abbreviated history of Downtown Houston

Hardy Tollroad opens

The Park Shops opens

Wortham Theater Center opens Phase I of Sesquicentennial Park opens

Metro Texas Special circulator routes

UH Downtown campus renovations

George R. Brown Convention Center opens






North and Katy Freeway transitways open


New Hope Hamilton Street Residence opens

Miracle on Main Street Ice Skating Bayou Place opens Rink begins Creation of Downtown Historic District


Legislation to create Houston Downtown Management District passess

Improvement of Theater District streetscape

Houston Police Department Mounted Patrol begins


Metro busway system becomes largest in America

HDMC research finds demand for downtown/ midtown housing units



Creation of Houston Downtown Management Corporation (HDMC)

Convention Center Hotel Rebate Legislation passes (HB 2282)







1983 Selection of design team for Sesquicential Park

Downtown Streetscape Improvement Plan

Buffalo Bayou master plan and creation of Buffalo Bayou Partnership

Creation of Theater District

Albert Thomas Convention Center (Bayou Place) redevelopment Downtown coordination for Economic Summit

Downtown Police Center lease and buildout in the old Texaco building Begin operations of HDMC

Rockets NBA Championship

Randall Davis completes Hogg Palace Lofts project

Street Teams Program starts operations

Enron Field project inception, The Rice opens planning and referendum (passes) Phase II of

Sesquicentennial Park opens

Transit Streets project ground breaking 1414 Congress SRO housing for homeless opens

Greenlink launches

About Us. Master Plan

for Main Street is announced

Main Street Light Rail begins service


XXXVIII Main Event

20th anniversary

When the Houston Downtown Management District (Downtown District)of was the Downtown Street Team Street formed by the Texas Legislature in 1995, with the leadership of Senator Rodney Ellis and Program reconstruction Allen's Landing hits Coleman, peak level Representative downtown was on the cusp of a rebirth. Governmental Park groundGarnet breaking BBVA Compass leaders had realized the value of a vibrant city center, and the Downtown District’s manStadium opens Harris County date wasEnron to facilitate the transformation a vital Super Bowl intoCivil Justicecore for living, working and leisure. Field Center opens

Discovery Green opens

Market Square Park re-opens

Operations were transferred to the Downtown on January 1, 1996 from the BuffaloDistrict Bayou Hobby Center Main Street Sabine to Bagby for the Performing Rail HoustonLight Downtown Management Corporation, formed by Houston City Council Promenade opens Arts opens planning Downtown District in 1990 to operate the Houston Downtown Public Improvement District created takesby first place in Inaugural Council in 1991. Green Office Houston Pavilions Main Street Square completed



The Downtown District operates under the direction of a 30-member board whose 1999 2000 2001 2003 public 2004 funds 2005 with 2006 assessments 2007 2008 to 2009 2010 facilities 2011 2012and 2013 primary focus is to2002 leverage improve services, as well as accelerate area improvements with The Downtown DistrictCityisannounces proud, widespread benefit above and beyond the level pres2nd convention way. ently provided by local government or voluntary effort. as always, to help lead the center hotel will


be a Marriott Marquis

Root Memorial Park re-opens

Shea Street Building, University of Houston Downtown opens

Downtown District launches Downtown Mayor Parker forms Public Safety Guide Downtown Retail Program Task Force


Christ Church One Park Place, Cathedral opens expanded campus opens

Center for Dance opens

Costwold test The Downtown District’s services Toyota Centerand capital improvements are financed through an Announcement blocks ground opens of new Catholic breaking assessment based on the certified tax rolls of the Harris County Appraisal District and Co-Cathedral Downtown/ a rate determined annually by the Board of Transit Directors. The current 5-year Service & Midtown New residential Street project high-rise, Improvements and Assessment Plan covers years 2011 through 2015. Houston Ballet Downtown The District’s role has evolved over the past 17 years. Much more than just street Aquarium opens Juliamonies, Ideson keepers, it advocates for downtown in every way. Whether it’s leveraging Building restored rebuilding the pedestrian environment, promoting development, recruitingandinvestors, re-opens Hilton AmericasHouston & George retailers and tenants, or creating an easy-to-use web portal, the Downtown District is R. Brown Convention taking care of business. Center expansion opens

Houston Pavilions is re-branded as GreenStreet by new owners Midway and Canyon-Johnson Urban Funds

As downtown evolves and moves forward, there is much more to do for Houston to truly take its place among the world’s great cities.




The transformation of downtown has been significant. Since 1996, more than $5.85 billion worth of construction has been completed in more than 135 public and private projects, including the reconstruction of 23 downtown streets. More than 3 million square feet of new Class A office space has been constructed, 3,280 hotel rooms in 12 projects have been added to give downtown an inventory of over 5,100 rooms, and nearly 8,500 garage and lot parking spaces were added. Today there is a thriving restaurant and bar community, a pedestrian center accessed by light rail, major sports and entertainment venues and more than 55,000 Houstonians choosing to live in the near downtown area, over 150,000 daytime workers and more than 220,000 daily visitors.

Demonstrating downtown’s continued strength, there are currently $500 million in new projects under construction with another $1 billion in pre-development or design. Recently completed projects include One Park Place, a 346-unit high rise apartment building overlooking Discovery Green, an award-winning five-year-old 12-acre park; GreenStreet, a $170 million mixed-use entertainment, retail and office complex; BG Group Place, a 46-story, one-million-square-foot office tower by Hines; Hess Tower, a 29-story, 844,763 square-foot office tower by Trammell Crow; the new Houston Ballet Center for Dance; and a new state-of-the-art Tellepsen Family Downtown YMCA. The Downtown District has helped transform over 67 percent of all block faces in downtown. Capital projects include sidewalk and streetscape improvements such as widening walkways and street lighting as well as enhancements to downtown public spaces including Main Street Square, Market Square Park, Buffalo Bayou and many more. The Downtown District also continues to drive long-range planning, public improvement projects and coordination with private entities on projects affecting the future of downtown. With multiple planning studies completed during the past several years, downtown now has an urban roadmap to becoming a world-class city center. 2

Photo by Nic Lehouz, courtesy of Gensler

Courtesy of trammell crow



Downtown by the numbers





em p loy e e s

15,617 stu d ents


o u td o o r fo u n ta i n s


55,769 5,106 r e s id e n ts (2-mile radius)

m i l e s o f t u n nels & s ky b r id g e s

h ot e l ro om s i n 1 6 h ot e l s


fo rt u n e 500 h e a d q uarters

44,000,000 46


square f e e t o f o f f i c e s pac e

LEE D projects 37.6 million square feet

100,000 pa r k i n g s pac e s

i n d e v e lo pm e n t s i n c e 1 9 96

12 pa r ks


ac r e s 1 . 8 s q ua r e m iles


Why Downtown? > Access to largest, most diverse employment base > Proximity to other businesses > Prestige of a downtown address > Employee productivity > Adjacent to business services > Vibrant environment


the office market remains the economic engine of downtown with 44,000,000 square feet of office space.



Downtown Houston is at the heart of this business community with a workforce of 150,000 and 12 of Houston’s 23 Fortune 500 companies. Downtown is the hub of the City’s business community. Creating the appetite for and attractiveness of investment in Houston’s office market is demand for office space, limited large blocks of space, favorable financing climate and a widening view that real estate in Houston is not only a safe haven for capital, but also profitable. Office building investors are also attracted to densely populated urban communities with restaurants, cultural and sports destinations, because they will be a magnet for better-educated workers in the short and long run. Downtown Houston accounts for approximately 21 percent of Houston’s office market and is a competitive headquarters location as it is a perpetually active and diverse place. It offers a Class A work environment and image desired by many corporate employers. Factors that support the long-term viability of the downtown office market include: a large pool of labor available because of downtown’s central location and transportation access via freeways, Park and Ride, local buses, light rail system and high occupancy vehicle lanes; office space value; the prestige of a downtown address; proximity to other businesses such as energy companies, legal, finance and accounting firms, suppliers and partners; and employee productivity because of immediate proximity to restaurants and services. Downtown is also serious about sustainability. There are 46 LEED Certified projects totaling 37.6 million square feet including two LEED Certified Core and Shell Platinum buildings. Eighteen additional projects totaling more than 7.3 million square feet are in the process of becoming LEED Certified and there are 38 Energy Star certified buildings in downtown Houston. In 1994, Central Houston, Inc., with strong support from the Downtown District, established its Business Development Program to recruit office tenants to downtown. While highly publicized redevelopment initiatives are aimed at adding new uses and activities to downtown, the office market remains the economic engine of downtown with 44,000,000 square feet of private office space. 7



With its high concentration of daytime employment, growing residential base, expanding convention business and strong destination driven visitation, downtown offers a retail environment with great potential for growth. Dining and nightlife remains the single biggest occupier of downtown retail space, but a growing residential population also creates a high demand for the day-to-day convenience goods and soft-good merchandise. Although one will find retail throughout downtown, downtown’s major activity centers are located in the Historic District, a quirky mix of dining and nightlife establishments, and Main Street Square, home to GreenStreet with heavy hitters such as XXI Forever, House of Blues and BCBGMAXARIA. Just two blocks from Main Street Square, The Shops at Houston Center recently received a $12 million re-do with slick new signage, lighting and furnishings. And within a short walking distance is downtown’s grocery store, Phoenicia Specialty Foods, and high profile dining at Discovery Green and the growing Convention District. The Downtown District has a Retail Program Manager on staff to act as facilitator, tour guide and consultant to potential retail tenants as well as downtown property owners, brokers and tenant representatives. To assist in stimulating development in the core areas noted above, the Downtown District offers the Retail Grant Program. The aim of the grant program is to stimulate growth and diversification of retail through tenant and storefront improvement subsidies.


Photo by Doris Ting. Courtesy of Phoenicia Specialty Foods.

to assist in stimulating development in the urban core, the Downtown District created the Retail Grant Program.

A Diverse and Extensive Customer Base

Affluent Demographic & Active Lifestyle

Availability and Cost Retail Space

Best Access to METRO’S Transit System

Investing in Houston’s History

More than 19,000 people live in downtown with 55,000 in a 2-mile radius and a rapidly increasing 144,000 people live within 3 miles. Over 150,000 people work downtown, 15,000 students attend downtown colleges and approximately 18 million people visit downtown annually for conventions, sporting events and arts and entertainment purposes.

When creating a customer profile, factors include not only age, race and other common demographics but behavior and lifestyle patterns. The downtown customer is open to new experiences, civic and culturally-minded, social, adventurous, intellectual, laid back, enjoys film and music and loves to spend time with friends and family.

A number of downtown’s property owners share the Downtown District’s vision of creating a vibrant mix of sustainable retail establishments. In order to get the right tenant, many property owners are willing to negotiate special lease terms and rates and offer generous tenant allowances for build-out.

More than 65% of METRO’s bus lines lead to and from downtown as does their Park & Ride services and METRORail, which carries more than 45,000 passenger trips each day.

With architecture dating back to the 1800’s, downtown has some of the most stunning historic structures in the region. Within the Historic District and along Main Street particularly, many historic buildings have been renovated and offer customers a one-of-a-kind shopping, dining and entertainment environment.




A decade ago the concept of living in downtown Houston was exactly that to many observers, a concept, rather than a viable option. Fast forward to 2012‌ the pieces are in place to create a truly livable downtown. The types of residents attracted to downtown living are young urban professionals working downtown, empty nesters, reverse commuters and, yes, even families. A variety of living options are also available from penthouse apartments to cool and funky lofts—and at all price points. Because the Downtown District is goal-driven, livability is more than just a buzz word; it is the foundation from which everything else will grow. With a growing 19,000 residents in the downtown area and 55,000 within 2-miles, residential development continues to be a major focus of the Downtown District. The market is hot and people want to live in the city center where they have easy access to work, transportation and an urban lifestyle. With few buildings left in downtown that can be repurposed into residential living, the only option now is new construction. The dilemma is the high cost of land, which means that creating a viable downtown housing market is challenging and cannot be accomplished by the private sector alone. In August 2012, as a solution to combat the disparity between development costs and market conditions, the City of Houston, Downtown District and Downtown Redevelopment Authority created the Downtown Living Initiative Chapter 380 Program that incorporates financial and other benefits to assist in the development of mixed use residential development. The incentives are only offered to the first 2,500 residential units under contract to participate, or for a four year period from July 2012 through June 2016.


Rice University’s Dr. Stephen Klineberg concluded that there is a growing interest among Houstonians to live in the urban core.

The 2012 Kinder institute Houston Area Survey found that


of respondents say that they would rather live in a smaller home in a more urbanized place where they can walk to work

Photo by Jill Hunter

and shop. in 2010 this

many people are choosing to simplify their lives by living in an environment that is walkable and workable.

number was 39%.




Downtown Houston is known for many things, but education? Believe it or not, downtown has the means to educate from the crib to a Juris Doctor. There are a multitude of early care options downtown that allow the little ones to be close to the parents while at work and create a home-away-from-home environment. From sophisticated day care to family-friendly Montessori schools, there is something for everyone. Education options continue with Trinity Lutheran and Incarnate Word Academy, both faith-based schools that cover the middle school years through high school, respectively, and Houston Independent School District’s new High School for the Performing and Visual Arts, a new With more than 12,000 students, UHD still stage-of-art school in downtown with construction due to begin in 2014. This special- feels like a small school with a community ized school is one of the most prestigious in point of view. the nation. The University of Houston – Downtown (UHD) opened in 1974. The campus now consists of five buildings – One Main Building, Jesse H. Jones Student Life Center, Willow Street Pump Station, Commerce Street Building and the Shea Street Building, which sits just north of I-10 and is the new home of the College of Business. UHD offers 43 undergraduate majors and four master’s degree programs throughout four colleges: Business, Science/Technology, Humanities/Social Science and Public Service. Because of its proximity to downtown businesses, and its flexible day, night, weekend and online course schedule, part-time and non-traditional students are a major component of UHD. Downtown is a hotbed of activity in the worlds of business, law and government – and amid the hustle and bustle sits Houston’s oldest law school. Enrollment at South Texas College of Law (STCL) is just over 1,200 students who are taught by 55 full-time professors and as many adjunct professors; the student/teacher ratio is 20-to-1, allowing for personal interactions with professors and a family feeling within the school. With some of the most prestigious law firms nearby, STCL is in the perfect location for work study programs as well as career access after graduation. 13

convention center & hotels


With a vibrant downtown, a walkable Convention District and one of the largest convention facilities in the U.S., there has never been a better time to meet in Houston. Flanked by Toyota Center and the Hilton Americas-Houston to the south, Minute Maid Park on the north, BBVA Compass Stadium to the east and Discovery Green park as its front yard, the George R. Brown Convention Center (GRB) is perfectly positioned with easy access to all there is to do downtown and conveniently connected to other major Houston activity centers such as the Museum District and Texas Medical Center. With 1.8 million square feet of exhibition, meeting and registration space, the GRB is one of the ten largest conference facilities in the U.S. It features seven exhibit halls, 100 meeting rooms, a grand ballroom and a tiered amphitheater. The GRB hosts forty major conventions and 200 smaller events annually and is the hub of a blossoming Convention District on the east side of downtown Houston. Critical to the success of the Convention Center are robust and diverse hotel offerings. For well over a decade downtown Houston had been serviced by only four hotels, with approximately 1,800 rooms. But the demand for hotel rooms has increased significantly, and hoteliers and investors have responded. With twelve new and/or restored hotels added in 2001 through 2012, downtown Houston’s hotel room count has reached 5,106. Downtown offers variety in hotel options including large convention hotels such as Hilton Americas-Houston, which is directly connected to the GRB, the Hyatt Regency and Doubletree, luxurious service at the Four Seasons and beautiful historic options with The Lancaster, Hotel Icon, The Sam Houston Hotel and Magnolia Houston. Demand is driving the market with three hotel projects currently under development that will add an additional 1,491 rooms to downtown, including a 1,000-room Marriott Marquis, the City of Houston’s second convention hotel.


Courtesy of Morris Architects

Courtesy of Embassy Suites

the George R. Brown Convention Center is perfectly positioned with easy access to all there is to do downtown. 15

Houston is one of only five cities in the U.S. with permanent professional resident companies in all of the major performing arts disciplines.

Photo by bruce bennett

Photo by paul kolnik

Jeffrey Bean and James Belcher. Photo by Mike McCormick



Clustered in the heart of downtown is Houston’s Theater District, an impressive cultural and entertainment destination featuring eight renowned performing arts organizations and many smaller ones, as well as numerous restaurants, plazas and parks. Approximately two million people visit the Theater District each year to see awardwinning performances of theater, dance, opera and symphony in four different venues. Houston is one of only five cities in the United States with permanent professional resident companies in all of the major performing arts disciplines of opera, ballet, music and theater. Jones Hall is a monument to the memory of Jesse Holman Jones, a towering figure in Houston during the first half of the 20th century. The venue also hosts the Houston Symphony, in its centennial season, and Society for the Performing Arts with more than 250 events annually. The Wortham Center, home to the Houston Ballet and Houston Grand Opera, was funded entirely by more than 3,500 donors who contributed $66 million to complete the project. Since its opening in 1987, millions of people have attended performances at this magnificent performing arts venue, which also has served as the backdrop for hundreds of galas, meetings, corporate events and even weddings. The Hobby Center for the Performing Arts is the newest addition to downtown’s 17-block Theater District, opening in 2002 to much acclaim. The Hobby Center is Houston’s home for traveling Broadway shows and houses resident companies including Theatre Under The Stars and Broadway Across America. The Alley Theatre, founded more than sixty years ago, exists to provide audiences with the highest quality theatre, offering a wide variety of work including new plays, classics, the re-discovered and the rarely-performed, and new musical theatre, with an emphasis on new American works. The Alley is one of the few American theatre companies that supports a company of actors, designers, artisans and craftspeople throughout the year. 17

sports & entertainment


Houston has one of the largest major league sports stadium concentrations in the U.S., featuring three state-of-the-art facilities downtown: Minute Maid Park, Toyota Center and BBVA Compass Stadium. Home of the Houston Astros, Minute Maid Park is a 40,950-seat outdoor baseball stadium with a retractable roof. Minute Maid Park hosted the 2004 MLB All-Star Game and the World Series in 2005. Toyota Center, which opened in September 2003, is a $175 million multi-purpose facility that seats 18,500 for basketball and 19,300 for Houston’s mega-concerts and other special events. With much fanfare, BBVA Compass Stadium opened in 2012 in east downtown, just two blocks from Minute Maid Park, and is host to Major League Soccer champs Houston Dynamo in addition to Texas Southern University football games. Downtown’s visitors also have lots of options in regards to sights and attractions. The family-friendly Downtown Aquarium offers amusement rides and exotic animals, or you can find a slice of history at the Heritage Society Museum, ten acres of parkland with ten historic structures dating from 1823 to 1905. Brewery tours at Saint Arnold Brewing Company, Texas’ oldest craft brewery, are offered daily as well as stadium and ballpark tours. For entertainment, you’ll find Live! at Bayou Place, which includes Sundance Cinemas, Bayou Music Center and a variety of restaurants and clubs and GreenStreet featuring House of Blues, Lucky Strike Bowling Lanes & Lounge and Pete’s Dueling Piano Bar in addition to a variety of eateries and shopping options . Downtown’s Historic District is Houston’s original town center and has been revitalized to include an eclectic mix of dining and lounges, spearheaded by some of the City’s hippest and well-established restauranteurs and bar owners, in addition to iconic local favorites that have been in business more than thirty years. 20

parks & public spaces


According to Project for Public Spaces, four key elements to successful public spaces are accessibility, sociability, activity and comfort. They are easy to get to and through, have a sense of community, draw crowds with elements of interactivity and look and feel like the kind of place people are happy to be. Downtown’s parks and public spaces are diverse: from Main Street Square, a pedestrian plaza with jumping fountains and light rail access; to Hermann Square in front of City Hall that is home to many of the cities signature events; to Sam Houston Park, twenty acres of park space that celebrates Houston’s past. In recent years, the City, Downtown District and key organizations have made public green space, with the aforementioned qualities in mind, a major priority. The most recent award-winning spaces include:

Houstonians can enjoy 170 acres of public art, natural beauty and recreational activity along Buffalo Bayou.

Market Square Park The renovation of Market Square Park took a one-dimensional space and created a vibrant gathering place. Once the political center of town as well as the commercial, this block served as the foundation for four city halls during its existence. As the city grew, newly formed businesses radiated out from this central location forming what we know as the Historic District and beyond. While much of downtown developed south of the square, it remains the center of “cool” as it attracts people seeking a unique, local vibe where everybody knows your name. Market Square Park’s 2010 redesign boasts two dog runs, outdoor cafe, public art and a serene 9/11 memorial garden.

Discovery Green Discovery Green is an urban park in the heart of downtown. Buzzing with activity, it is a place that’s attractive to families and children in a way that didn’t exist previously. Since its grand opening in 2008, more than five million visitors have enjoyed an abundance of programming and events including daily fitness classes, workshops for kids, live music, recycling events, nighttime flea market, salsa dancing classes and so much more. The one-acre Kinder Lake serves as a signature feature of the park along with the very popular jumping fountains. Visitors can also enjoy a burger from the waterfront restaurant or fancier fare at its full service restaurant.

Buffalo Bayou Parks Houstonians can enjoy 170 acres of natural beauty, public art and recreational activity along multi-faceted Buffalo Bayou. Hugging the north end of downtown and stretching east and west includes Buffalo Bayou Park, Sabine Promenade, Sesquicentennial Park and historic Allen’s Landing. Joggers, cyclists and their furry friends hit the pavement for exercise or leisure on trails that follow the course of the bayou for 4.5 miles. Just outside downtown along the bayou sits the state-of-the-art 30,000-squarefoot Lee and Joe Jamail Skatepark and moving farther west along the bayou, hikers and cyclists can take a short cut over the water on the pedestrian-friendly Rosemont Bridge, completed in 2011. 23

governance & civic celebrations


The core of Houston and Harris County City governments are located in downtown. In 1939, City Hall moved from historic Market Square to today’s location. The “ultramodern” building designed by Joseph Finger includes artistic elements, specifically in the lobby rotunda, that are a sight to see. A reflection pool in Hermann Square faces the entrance to City Hall and is home to many events and festivals. Houston Public Library’s Central Library is located next door and includes the historic Julia Ideson Building (original library), home to the well-known Texas Room. With more than four million residents, Harris County is the most populous county in Texas and the third most populous county in the United States. The county seat is Houston and the hub of county government resides in the Harris County Campus in downtown with thousands of Houstonians coming to the campus daily. The campus includes four state-of-the-art buildings—Criminal Justice Center, Civil Justice Center, Juvenile Justice Center and Jury Assembly Building. The previous Civil Courts Building, also known as the 1910 Courthouse, listed on the National Register of Historic Places, recently underwent a $38 million restoration. Downtown has always been the host of Houston’s signature festivals and civic celebrations. Citywide events such as the Holiday Parade, Freedom Over Texas 4th of July Celebration, Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo Parade, International Festival, Orange Show Art Car Parade, SummerFest and much more draw millions of visitors annually.


25 photo by hal puckett

getting around


Downtown’s access to transportation in Houston is second to none, but there is always room for improvement. A major focus of the Downtown District is improved access and mobility, which includes providing support to the City of Houston, METRO and TxDOT in the planning, design and development of an expanded and more effective mass transit system. In addition, the Downtown District has taken a leadership role in creating and supporting alternative methods of transportation, such as Greenlink and Houston B-cycle.

Park & Ride Bus Service 29%

Rail 4%

Local or Express Bus 4%

Carpool 11%

Single Occupancy Vehicle 48%


Vanpool 1.5% Walk 1% Rarely Travel to Downtown 0.5% Motorcycle 0.4% Bicycle 0.3%

Greenlink Through a partnership between the Downtown District, BG Group and Houston First Corporation, the downtown community can utilize the environmentally friendly buses to get to popular downtown locations quickly. Seven buses operate Monday through Friday, 6:30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. and are free to the public. METRORail and Bus Set along Main Street, the METRORail begins downtown and extends through Midtown, the Museum District and Texas Medical Center before ending at Reliant Park. Local bus service runs mostly on city streets, stopping at every other corner along its route. Convenient Park & Ride locations are throughout Houston making commuting easy and affordable. Houston B-cycle Thanks to BlueCross Blue Shield, the Houston B-cycle program has expanded

from three to 14 stations in downtown as well as into the adjacent Midtown, Museum District and Montrose neighborhoods. Daily, weekly or annual memberships can be purchased.

of fast casual restaurants and service retail. The tunnels and skywalks are operated by individual building owners and are open Monday through Friday during business hours.

Walkability The easiest way to get around downtown is by walking. As downtown becomes more densely populated, there are more onstreet dining and retail options than ever. The street environment has also been enhanced over the years with street trees, pedestrian lighting, linear parks and plantings and businesses are becoming more creative with their storefronts—all making it a more enjoyable experience for walking to a meeting or destination of choice.

Parking Downtown offers more than 100,000 parking spaces. For long-term parking, affordable options—garages and surface lots— are located throughout downtown convenient to destinations, whether it be a restaurant or event. On-street, metered parking, for short-term parking, is available during the day on most downtown streets. The meters accept cash, credit cards and now payment is extra easy using the City’s ParkMobile pay-by-phone application; hourly prices vary depending on location.

Tunnels & Skywalks Downtown’s pedestrian tunnel system is more than 6 miles long, having, supposedly, started years ago as a tunnel between two downtown movie theaters. Today, along with the above ground skywalks, they are not just connectors, but include hundreds


clean & safe


The Downtown District’s Operations Program works to ensure that downtown is safe and clean. The Downtown District works hand-in-hand with the Houston Police Department to ensure public safety and to address civility issues. Violent crime in downtown decreased 30 percent from 2010 to 2012, and non-violent crime decreased 36 percent, making downtown one of the safest neighborhoods in the City. In 2011, the Downtown District developed the Downtown Public Safety Guide Program (DPSG) to ensure that residents, workers and visitors to downtown Houston continue to feel confident in their personal safety and have a positive downtown experience. With a focus on hospitality and safety solutions, the DPSGs provide a customer-friendly and visible presence serving as additional eyes and ears for downtown. They strive to offer a professional relationship with all local law enforcement and social service agencies, business and property owners, private building security companies and City entities. All Downtown Public Safety Guides receive special training in first aid, safety procedures, conflict management and customer relations.

The Guides patrol downtown daily, focusing on the busiest pedestrian areas and also offering extra support for special events. Through high visibility and consistent coverage, they focus on: 28

• Deterring crime by reporting problems to the proper authorities • Discouraging aggressive panhandling • Assisting the homeless population in distress by connecting them with services and housing

• Checking in on businesses • On-street concierge service, assisting visitors, residents and workers with maps, directions and information on where to go, what to do and how to get thereget there






1992 - 2012 OV E R





The Downtown District also enhances the downtown experience by ensuring a safe, clean, comfortable, welcoming environment. The District works closely with the City of Houston on public projects such as sidewalk improvements and better lighting and the operations team works 24/7 to maintain and improve the downtown streetscape. Celebrating their 20th anniversary in 2012, the Downtown Street Team maintains streetscape improvements, including trees, ground cover plantings, flowerbeds, planters and hedges; this is in addition to grass thoroughfares that the District mows. Special attention is given to landscaping and floral displays along the transit streets, key pedestrian pathways and other high visibility locations. The Downtown District also manages the signature Main Street Square fountain, awardwinning Market Square Park, downtown’s banner program and holiday decorations. 29



The Downtown District’s marketing program is responsible for promoting a diverse and vibrant downtown image through advertising, public relations, partnerships, events, community relations and other promotional materials and activities. The overarching goal is for downtown to be the preferred place to live and work as well as a fun, friendly, easily-accessible, affordable and safe destination, both day and night. The information source for what to do, where to go and how to get there. All downtown restaurants, shops, bars and events are listed on our web portal in addition to a robust resources section to support people interested in doing business in downtown.


The List The weekly eBlast focuses on events, new openings and special offerings and promotions. It is an opt-in eBlast and is distributed to more than 23,000 people.

Social Media With a growing Facebook and Twitter following, social media is a fantastic way to let people know what is happening downtown on a daily basis. Above & Below Downtown Map The Downtown District’s most popular marketing piece is the Above & Below map—a guide to downtown’s buildings, streets, tunnels and attractions.

Downtown Magazine Downtown Magazine is a quarterly publication— part city magazine, part guide. Readers will find interesting and topical editorials and profiles as well as a comprehensive dining guide and datebook sharing info on what to do and where to go downtown. The target audiences are downtown workers, residents, and visitors, both local and out-oftown. Free to the public, the magazine’s distribution is currently 70,000 per quarter.

magazines per quarter

copies of downtown above & below map (annually)

unique visitors to web portal (2012)

subscribers to the list (as of April 2013)

facebook followers (as of April 2013)

twitter followers

publicity value (2012)


goals & budget


Since inception, the Downtown District has focused on improving downtown’s quality of life. This focus remains a cornerstone of the 2011-2015 Plan. Services and capital improvements are proposed that continue the substantial revitalization presently under way while addressing new challenges as downtown experiences higher levels of activity resulting from success. The total expense of services and improvements are $0.135/$100 assessed value ($0.1065/$100 operations and $0.0285/$100 capital). Operating and capital expenses are summarized as follows. The plan that follows details the goals and action items to achieve these goals and expenditures for each.



Safe, Clean & Comfortable Charming, & Inviting Public Realm Accessible to Region/Easy to Get Around Vibrant, Sustainable Mixed Use Space

41.2% 43.8%

Vision & Offerings Understood by All Governance & Service Known for Excellence




For more information on the Downtown District, including the current 2011-2015 Service Plan & Budget, visit 32


Plan, manage, maintain and redevelop downtown to make it an inviting, accessible, livable, and perpetually active urban place.

Plan Goals: Goal 1: Downtown feels comfortable and safe at all times

Goal 3: Accessible to entire region all of the time and easy to get around

Goal 5: Downtown’s vision and offerings are understood by all

Continue collaboration to maintain low crime rate

Effective transit access from more places, more hours of the day

Marketing downtown to region

Reduce presence of homeless and street person population Downtown’s sidewalks are comfortably lighted Downtown is noted for its cleanliness and well-kept appearance Conditions of disorder are removed Prepared for and respond to emergencies Goal 2: Public realm that is charming, inviting, beautiful and celebrates the life of the city

Make key pedestrian streets inviting Managed, programmed and delightful public spaces Place of civic celebration

Convenient, multiple means of circulation without personal vehicle Easy to find way around Connected neighborhoods and districts inside and outside of downtown Convenient, managed, understandable parking Goal 4: Vibrant, sustainable mixed use place

Best place to work in region Exciting neighborhoods to live in Competitive shopping place A remarkable destination for visitors

Promote ease of using downtown Vision plan/ development framework for future understood by all Tools to assist continued redevelopment Information source to support continued development, investment and marketing of downtown Goal 6: District governance and service known for excellence

Board and administration: engage stakeholders in decisions Communicate to owners, tenants and other about District Preservation of assets: build appropriate capital replacement reserves 33

board of directors & staff


Board of Directors Donald j Henderson President; Chair, Executive Committee DJH Consulting Valerie D. Williams Vice President; Chair, Audit Ernst & Young LLP Leslie Ashby Secretary; Ashby, LLP Gregory A. Brothers Treasurer; Chair, Finance & Investment; Chair, Public Safety South Texas College of Law Genora Boykins NRG Energy, Inc. Thomas Cheng The Abercrombie Company Brandon Dudley Office of Senator Rodney Ellis Irma G. Galvan Irma’s Restaurants Regina Garcia Fritz Guthrie St. Joseph Medical Center Tammy Hendrix


Patricia B. Loden Chevron Corporation

Stephen Walker Shell Oil Company

John Mooz Hines

Gary Warwick Warwick Ritz, Inc.

Sherea A. McKenzie Harris County Community Development/Precinct 1

Ex Officio Members

Kenny Meyer Chair, Maintenance & Operations MC Management & Development Thomas Nauls The Tipping Point Toni Niece Luby’s Fuddruckers Restaurants Sharon owens Chair, Marketing & Communications Edna L. Ramos Chair, Retail & Economic Development Property Owner & Downtown Resident Stewart O. Robinson Chair, Office Market SOR LLC Karun Sreerama ESPA Corp.

H. Milton Howe Landgrant Resources, Inc.

Frank G. Staats Chair, Planning, Design & Construction SRE Consulting Services LLC

Angus Hughes Fouts Corporation

Mustafa Tameez Outreach Strategists, LLC

Marlene Gafrick City of Houston Planning & Development Director Pam Gardner Chair, Central Houston, Inc. Deborah Korenek Chair, Houston Downtown Alliance Daniel W. Krueger City of Houston Public Works & Engineering Director Thomas C. Lambert METRO, Interim President & CEO Chief C.A. McClelland City of Houston Police Department William J. Turner City of Houston Parks & Recreation Director Dawn Ullrich President, Houston First Corporation

Downtown District Staff Bob Eury Executive Director Jackie Traywick Chief Operations Officer Lonnie Hoogeboom Director of Planning, Design & Development

Angie Bertinot Director of Marketing & Communications/Retail Development Heather swift Retail & Residential Programs Manager Lauren Covington Marketing Coordinator

Jacqueline Posenecker Planning & Design Coordinator

Laura Van Ness Director of Business Development

Emily Braswell Director of Transportation Planning

Tatalease Derby Director of Downtown Redevelopment Authority/TIRZ #3

Chuck Jackson Director of Operations Scott Finke Assistant Director of Operations Laura Johnson Assistant Director of Special Projects, Operations James Kennedy Operations Manager Brett DeBord Director of Construction

Anita Dick Records Management Officer & Assistant Secretary Michelle Carpenter Senior Administrative Assistant Kathleen Chisley Accounting/Administration Assistant Gerri Mitchell Accounting/Administration Assistant Edith Tejada Receptionist


Greenlink launches

Master Plan for Main Street is announced Allen's Landing Park ground breaking

Main Street Light Rail begins service

Street reconstruction hits peak level





Discovery Green opens

Market Square Park re-opens

Buffalo Bayou Sabine to Bagby Promenade opens

Hobby Center for the Performing Arts opens




Downtown District takes first place in Inaugural Green Office Challenge

Houston Pavilions opens

Main Street Square completed


BBVA Compass Stadium opens

Harris County Civil Justice Center opens

Super Bowl XXXVIII Main Event

Enron Field opens Main Street Light Rail planning

20th anniversary of the Downtown Street Team Program







2013 City announces 2nd convention center hotel will be a Marriott Marquis


Costwold test blocks ground breaking

Announcement of new Catholic Co-Cathedral

Toyota Center opens

Root Memorial Park re-opens

Downtown/ Midtown Transit Street project completed

Downtown Aquarium opens

Hilton AmericasHouston & George R. Brown Convention Center expansion opens

Shea Street Building, University of Houston Downtown opens

Christ Church Cathedral expanded campus opens

Downtown District launches Downtown Mayor Parker forms Public Safety Guide Downtown Retail Program Task Force

New residential high-rise, One Park Place, opens

Houston Ballet Center for Dance opens

Houston Pavilions Julia Ideson Building restored is re-branded as GreenStreet by and re-opens new owners Midway and Canyon-Johnson Urban Funds

Houston Downtown Management District 909 Fannin, Suite 1650 Houston, Texas 77002 713.650.3022

Downtown brochure final