HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- The long-awaited renovation of the historic Sears building on Main Street in Midtown will begin in May.
In 2018, Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner, along with Rice University President David Leebron, unveiled plans for what they are calling the "Midtown Innovation District."
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The former Sears building, renamed The Ion, will be reconstructed into a 270,000-square foot structure designed to bring the area's entrepreneurial, corporate and academic communities together into collaborative spaces and programs.
"I gleefully applaud this next giant step in the creation of an innovation hub that will take Houston closer to becoming a world leader in data science and digital technologies," said Turner. "As I said last year when the idea was unveiled, we have to leap, not stroll, into the economic frontier. Now the physical transformation of The Ion will help get us there."
The Ion will keep some signature elements of the historic Sears building, including the corners, glass block windows, decorative tilework and a three-sided storefront with architectural canopies.
The building is expected to be completed in 2020. The Rice Management Company, which manages the Rice University endowment, is spearheading the project.
The Ion is the first phase in the development of the Innovation District, which will have 16 contiguous acres in Midtown.
"We are eager to contribute to an enhanced quality of life for residents and visitors of Midtown Houston," said Matt Thibodeaux, executive director of Midtown Houston. "The Midtown innovation district is an embodiment of our shared community vision to give professionals and families a means of seizing opportunity as Houston continues to grow as a leading city in technology."
Transformation of iconic Sears building in Midtown to begin in May