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Houston First Selects Rida Development for New Build 1,000-room
Convention Center Hotel in Downtown Houston, Texas

By Nancy Sarnoff, Houston ChronicleMcClatchy-Tribune Regional News

Sept. 25, 2012--A Houston-based developer has been selected from nearly a dozen teams vying to build a second 1,000-room convention center hotel in downtown Houston.

Houston First Corp. announced late Tuesday that it selected Rida Development to enter into exclusive negotiations to build the property.

While the hotel is expected to be privately financed, it is also likely to receive tax rebates from the city and state.

"The idea was to make the best deal for the public and for the city overall, and I think we did that with Rida," said Ric Campo, chairman of Houston First, which owns the Hilton Americas-Houston and manages the George R. Brown Convention Center and other city-backed buildings.

The hotel would be built on the block immediately north of the Discovery Green park and attached to the Convention Center via a skybridge.

Campo said Rida had the most competitive proposal with a strong design, which will "energize that part of the city."

"We are so excited to be developing this transformational hotel in our home city of Houston," Rida Development President Ira Mitzner said in a statement. "We look forward to the day when Houston competes among the best convention destinations in the United States."

Convention officials have said that adding more hotel rooms to the downtown hotel market will boost the city's convention and meeting business.

Rida is not new to such large-scale hotel developments.

One of its recent projects was a 1,400-room convention center in Orlando, Fla.

"It was a privately financed deal and very successful," Campo said.

Rida and Houston First will continue to negotiate a term sheet for the project.

Ultimately, the mayor and City Council must approve the proposal.

Campo said he hopes to see the hotel break ground in 2014 and open in 2016.


(c)2012 Houston Chronicle

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