H&LA Development Update: Houston, Texas

H&LA’s recent research for a project near Houston, Texas revealed some exciting new hospitality-related developments happening in the area. These developments will have an impact on tourism, employment, and the general economy in Houston and the surrounding areas in 2023 and beyond.

  • In October 2022, Space Center Houston released a new master plan that includes a Lunar Mars facility, which will feature immersive areas simulating the surfaces of the moon and Mars. Each of these areas will be about 2.5 acres. Anticipated to open in 2024, this facility is part of an ongoing effort to shift the Space Center Houston’s focus from the history of the U.S. space program to the future of space exploration, training, and research.
  • Axiom Space Inc., a privately funded space infrastructure developer, is constructing a new 14-acre headquarters campus at the Houston Spaceport, near Joint Reserve Base Ellington in southeast Houston. The campus will be designed to train future astronauts and develop a commercial space station. This project is slated for completion in 2023 and could eventually bring more than 1,000 jobs to the region.
  • A new Great Wolf Lodge indoor waterpark resort is planned for a 30-acre site in Webster, Texas, near Space Center Houston. Scheduled to open in 2024, this large-scale resort will offer more than 500 overnight rooms, a 95,000-square-foot indoor waterpark, a 58,000-square-foot adventure park, a full-service restaurant, and meeting space. An adjacent development, dubbed Flyway Webster, will create 1.6 million square feet of retail, restaurants, and bars, as well as a boardwalk and outdoor concert venue.
  • In March 2022, a new construction-themed amusement park called Dig World opened at the Katy Mills shopping mall in Katy, Texas, west of Houston. This outdoor attraction gives youth and adult visitors the opportunity to operate real construction equipment, such as excavators, skid steers, and UTVs. Dig World also offers space for birthday parties and corporate events.
  • The Typhoon Texas outdoor waterpark in Katy recently began construction on a new $4 million addition called Typhoon Junior, designed especially for children ages four to eight. Access to this new area will be included in the park’s general admission. This projected is scheduled to be finished by the time Typhoon Texas reopens for the season in April 2023.
  • A new sports, dining, and entertainment center called Home Run Dugout is planned for a site in Katy, Texas, near the intersection of Interstate 10 and State Route 99. This new attraction will feature baseball/softball hitting bays, ballpark simulators, a full-service restaurant, and a beer garden. Home Run Dugout will be near the forthcoming Pop Stroke golf entertainment center, scheduled to open in December 2022, and the Andretti Indoor Karting & Games family entertainment center, which opened in 2020.
  • The Houston Zoo is now in the midst of $70 million project to create a new Galapagos Islands exhibit. This 2.5-acre area will feature the zoo’s first-ever penguin habitat, as well as a split-level sea cave, an underwater tunnel, and a 190,000-gallon aquarium, all of which are scheduled to open in early 2023.
  • Big Rivers Waterpark & Adventures in New Caney, Texas, recently debuted 11 new rides and attractions, including a rocking pirate ship ride, a spinning roller coaster, and a 360-degree spinning pendulum ride. Big Rivers is part of the larger Grand Texas development, which is expected to add a full-fledged theme park within the next few years.
  • In November 2022, a new $125 million Royal Caribbean cruise terminal opened at the Port of Galveston. This 170,000-square-foot facility will serve as the home for Royal Caribbean’s Oasis vessels, the company’s largest class of cruise ships. The new terminal is expected to significantly increase passenger volume at the port for years to come.
  • Developer Jerome Karam has announced plans to transform the former Gulf Greyhound Park in La Marque, Texas, into a Las Vegas-style concert venue. Tentatively named the JMK5 Arena, this 12,500-facility will feature a covered outdoor stage, VIP bungalows, and 40 to 50 acres of adjoining commercial development. Located just off Interstate 45 southeast of Houston, this property is expected to open within the next few years.
  • Meow Wolf, an experiential arts and entertainment company, is moving forward with plans to create a new immersive art attraction in Houston. Housed within a 115,000-square-foot warehouse in the city’s Fifth Ward, this new attraction will open in 2024 and create upwards of 120 new full-time jobs. This $42 million investment is expected to spur additional development in the surrounding area in the form of retail, restaurants, and art galleries, creating an art-focused district capable of attracting hundreds of thousands of visitors annually.