HOUSTON -- After years of planning and researching, the Astros are moving forward with their plans to create an entertainment venue across the street from Minute Maid Park that they hope will bring more fans into the area year-round and serve as a gathering place before and after games.
The complex will have a 60,000-square-foot retail area with bars and restaurants on multiple levels; a large, open viewing area to watch games on a big screen and a high-end hotel, giving Houston a gathering spot close to the ballpark like Texas Live! in Arlington, Ballpark Village in St. Louis and The Battery in Atlanta. It will be situated on about one full city block at the corner of Texas Avenue and Avenida De Las Americas -- across from the main entrance to Minute Maid Park. Giles Kibbe, Astros senior vice president and general counsel, said the team hopes to break ground following next season.
“What we want is for fans to go to an area long before the ballgames, stay late after the games, have a lot of fans there watching during the games,” he said. “Not just Astros games but Rockets and Texans. And on non [Astros] games days, it’s still a great entertainment district where people can go with bars and restaurants and live music.”
The Astros purchased a portion of the city block in 2016 and in '19 acquired the remainder of the land, which is now a parking lot. When completed, the project will help tie Minute Maid Park to the Toyota Center -- home of the Rockets -- the George R. Brown Convention Center and Discovery Green Park, as well as the Marriott Marquis hotel.
“It will be glass enclosed along Avenida and Texas, looking at the ballpark,” Kibbe said. “The back side of that will be a lot of bars and restaurants on multi levels, and people will be on the railing watching what’s going on down in the bottom if there’s live music, looking up at the massive screens, looking across outside to the big jumbotron on the other side [of Texas Avenue] on MMP. That’s a pretty big area where there’s going to be a lot of activity and a lot of people.”
Kibbe said a 17-story, 300-room hotel will be included in the entertainment complex and connected to Minute Maid Park via a skybridge.
“We’re starting to talk to different brands and trying to decide what we’re going to do,” Kibbe said. “I know this is going to be a hotel that we want baseball teams to stay at when they’re here, so we know the quality of the hotel that we need to put in there.”
The majority of the complex will be owned by the Astros' ownership group and no public money will be used in the construction, which Kibbe said will take a couple of years.
“We’re going to do it right,” he said. “I do believe that once it’s done, people are going to want to be there for Rockets games in November, December, January, February, March and Texans games as well. … It will be the place to be.”