H&LA Development Update: Houston, Texas

Our recent research for a project in Houston, Texas revealed some exciting new hospitality-related developments happening in the area, including a new Great Wolf Lodge in Webster, Texas. These developments will have an impact on tourism, employment, and the general economy in Houston and the surrounding areas in 2024 and beyond.

  • Space Center Houston is moving forward with plans for a new 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 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 October 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.
  • Meow Wolf, an experiential arts and entertainment company, is developing 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.
  • The Woodlands Mall north of Houston is moving forward with plans for a $100 million expansion that will create two new hotels, a parking garage, and additional retail buildings. Scheduled to be completed in phases over the next 10 years, this project will add an open-air, mixed-use commercial center to the existing mall, with at least 80,000 square feet of retail space, over 300 hotel rooms, and 1,200 parking spots.
  • 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. May 2023 saw the opening of The Food Zone Grand Texas, featuring 17 unique local restaurants housed in repurposed shipping containers.
  • Royal Caribbean recently opened a new $125 million cruise terminal 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.
  • The Houston Airport System has announced plans for a $450 million expansion at William P. Hobby Airport that will add seven passenger gates, baggage claim carousels, and upgrades to the current baggage handling system. Scheduled to be finished within the next five years, this major project will help support future passenger volume growth at the airport.
  • In 2023, Houston was officially selected to host the 2028 Republican National Convention. This high-profile event is expected to draw about 50,000 visitors to the area, leading to a total economic impact of approximately $200 million. This will mark the first time Houston has hosted a major party national convention since the Republican National Convention was held in the city in 1992.