H&LA’s recent research for a project in the Houston area of Texas revealed some exciting new hospitality-related developments happening in the area. These developments will have a major impact on tourism, employment, and the general economy in the Houston area.
- A major theme park complex called the Grand Texas Sports and Entertainment District is now under development in New Caney, Texas, north of Houston. To date, Grand Texas has seen the opening of four major components: Big Rivers Waterpark, Gator Bayou Adventure Park, Grand Texas RV Resort, and the Speedsportz go-kart racing track. Future plans include the Grand Texas Theme Park, with five roller coasters and dozens of smaller rides and amusements, as well as the Grand Texas Sportsplex, outlet stores, A 24-hour urgent care center, and multiple hotels and restaurants. Once completed, the Grand Texas Theme Park will be the region’s first full-fledged theme park since the closing of Six Flags AstroWorld in 2005.
- In 2018, Six Flags Entertainment Corp. added to its portfolio the Wet ‘n’ Wild SplashTown in Spring, Texas, north of Houston. In May 2019, the park will reopen as the newly branded Six Flags Hurricane Harbor SplashTown, featuring the new six-story Wahoo Wave water slide. The 48-acre park will also introduce new signage, Caribbean-inspired theming, reconfigured ride entrances, and new retail and dining outlets.
- The first Crystal Lagoon in the state of Texas opened at the Balmoral residential community in August 2018, northeast of Houston. This $13 million amenity consists of a two-acre, man-made lagoon surrounded by white sand beaches, a hammock park, and cabanas. While this attraction is only available to Balmoral residents, a representative of Crystal Lagoons U.S. Corp. has stated that the company is now working to open public-access lagoons at various retail locations across cross the state.
- A $500 million redevelopment project called The Grid has been approved for the 192-acre former Texas Instruments site in Stafford, Texas, southwest of Houston, which closed in 2012. Components will include retail shops, parks, restaurants, high-end apartments, office space, and multiple hotels. Groundbreaking on this project occurred in September 2018, and it will be completed in phases over the next few years. Once finished, The Grid is expected to be a major magnet for both business and leisure visitors.
- A major expansion is underway at the Museum of Fine Arts in Houston. Slated for completion in 2020, this $450 million project will add two new buildings, with expanded gallery space, a theater, a café, a pedestrian-friendly outdoor campus, underground parking, and meeting space.
- The Houston Zoo is in the midst of a $150 million capital campaign to dramatically redevelop more than half of its total acreage. The first phase of this project, to be finished in 2022, will include four major new exhibits and a heightened focus on wildlife conservation efforts.
- In spring 2018, Harris County approved plans for a $105 million renovation of the Houston Astrodome. Assuming this project moves forward as planned, the Astrodome could be available to host conventions, trade shows, livestock shows, arts festivals, and other large-scale events by early 2020.