A new innovation district is emerging in Houston outside the Rice University campus, designed to help businesses and people ‘collaborate and collide’.
The first building to be completed is the Ion building, which houses mixed-use spaces for established companies, startups, and fledgling firms at the accelerator stage. It also provides space for academic events.
The Ion building isn’t brand new, but a remodel of the historic Sears building. The adaptive reuse project has transformed the former art deco department store, built in 1939, into a vibrant, extended space with offices, coworking spaces, incubator areas, event space, restaurants, and informal shared-collaboration areas across 266,000 square feet.
“People aren’t collaborating and colliding and sharing ideas as easily as they can in cities that have built environments where people are literally rubbing shoulders,” says Ryan LeVasseur, managing director of developer, the entity in charge of managing the university’s $6.2 billion endowment fund. “So we are attempting to reverse that.”