Feature Photo (above): Front entrance to the Brown Convention Center in downtown Houston. Image: Google Streets.
Houston (Harris County) — Houston First Corporation selected Dallas-based Jacobs Engineering Group Inc. as the architect/engineer for planned improvements to the George R. Brown Convention Center.
The improvements are intended to take advantage of opportunities being afforded by a Texas Department of Transportation 10-year highway project adjacent to the convention center and surrounding area.
The Brown Convention Center hosts more than 400 events and some 600,000 visitors annually. Its eastern portion backs up to the elevated freeway, and the vision is to connect both sides of downtown Houston via a potential deck park.
Jacobs will assist with modifications while ensuring that the convention center remains fully operational during construction.
Brad Simmons, a Jacobs vice president and global director of built environment, said in a statement released Wednesday, “We have an opportunity to be part of a project that will embrace a new gateway to East Downtown and make the convention center and its connections to this newly created space unique and versatile, while maintaining operational functionality.
“Our efforts will focus on helping Houston First continue delivering a positive experience for the community that results in repeat visits in both the business and leisure markets – both during construction of the North Houston Highway Improvement Project and for years to come.”
The Jacobs team includes convention and exhibition facility design firm Populous, and OJB Landscape Architecture. They will plan, design and deliver visionary and technical solutions for the convention center, among the nation’s 10 largest convention centers. Houston ranks as one of the top 25 cities for convention, conference and seminar travelers.
Services will focus on maximizing the facility’s operational efficiencies, maintaining continuous business operations and coordinating efforts with the state transportation engineers, the City of Houston and others involved in the North Houston Highway Improvement Project.
Texas Department of Transportation concept for the expressway system expansion and modernization near the Brown Convention Center. Courtesy: TxDOT.
“Houston First is very excited about this once in a lifetime opportunity to improve the connection and accessibility between Downtown and Eado. Joining these two areas will be a game changer, providing a more enriching experience not only for visitors to the George R. Brown Convention Center in the heart of Avenida Houston, but for all of Houston,” said Houston First President/CEO Brenda Bazan.
“We look forward to partnering with the Jacobs team and have every confidence in their expertise to make certain the GRB is able to continue attracting and delivering superior services to its clients during the transformation of an elevated freeway into a multi-use green space for everyone to enjoy,” Bazan said.
This article was edited from a Jacobs press release.