Home » City Scope

Houston City Scope January 2016

huntsman_houston 336

Peter Huntsman Joins Memorial Hermann Board of Directors

Peter R. Huntsman, president and CEO of Huntsman Corporation, has been named to the Memorial Hermann Health System Board of Directors, effective Jan. 1.

“The challenges and opportunities of healthcare will be an important base of our quality of life as the Houston region continues to be a global leader in so many areas. I look forward to serving,” Huntsman said.

Huntsman Corporation is a global manufacturer and marketer of differentiated chemicals for a variety of global industries, including automotive, aviation, paints and coatings, construction, technology, agriculture, healthcare, personal care and appliances.

“Peter Huntsman is a tremendous businessman, civic leader and humanitarian,” said Will Williams, chair of the Memorial Hermann Health System board. “We are thrilled to have someone of his caliber on our board to engage in the critical discussion about how Memorial Hermann can continue to provide the highest quality, safest and best patient care in this region.”

Huntsman also serves on other executive boards and councils including those of the Wharton School of Business at the University of Pennsylvania, the Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavilion, the Mont­gomery County Women’s Center and Interfaith of The Woodlands. He also helps to direct a number of domestic and international humanitarian projects funded by the Huntsman family and Huntsman companies and serves as CEO of the Huntsman Cancer and the Huntsman Family Foundations.


Houston Ballet Academy Director Shelly Power_Photo by Amitava Sarkar_2015

Houston Ballet Academy Director Takes New Role

Starting next September, Shelly Power, Houston Ballet Academy director, will lead the international dance competition, Prix de Lausanne as the first dually titled artistic director and CEO in the competition’s 45-year history.

“My hope is to build on the wonderful legacy of the organization, and expand the Prix de Lausanne’s role supporting students’ next steps in the international dance world and beyond,” said Power.

“I’m delighted that we will have Shelly Power’s experience, vision and dyna­mism to lead this extraordinary and much-loved competition into its second half century,” said Stephane Lagonico, president of the board of the Prix de Lausanne.

Prix de Lausanne focuses on revealing exceptional talent of young dancers (ages 15 to 18), offering scholarships to the most prestigious international schools and companies, pro­­m­ot­ing scholastic education and preserving dancer’s health through proactive health guidelines.

“Our long-standing relationship with Prix de Lausanne will be strengthened by Shelly’s presence, and I look forward to working with her for many years to come,” said, Houston Ballet Artistic Director, Stanton Welch.

During her 11 years with Houston Ballet, Power developed a robust four-tier main school and numerous programs to support career-planning, wellness, academics, housing and life-skills.


HLSR Wine Competition Sets Stage for 2016 Rodeo Uncorked! Events

Champion wines were awarded from thousands of wines at the 2016 Rodeo Uncorked! International Wine Competi­tion, held Nov. 14-15 at NRG Center.

The competition judging boasted nearly 2,500 entries from approximately 20 different countries, including Chile, Croatia, France, New Zealand and Portugal. The competition also received 181 entries from the 2016 featured region, The Pacific Northwest, which includes wine-making regions of Washington, Oregon, Idaho and British Columbia. Texas wineries alone represented 267 entries.

The 2016 Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo International Wine Competition champions are:

  • Grand Champion Best of Show – Orin Swift Cellars Cabernet Sauvignon, Mercury Head, Napa Valley, 2013
  • Reserve Grand Champion Best of Show – B.R. Cohn Winery Cabernet Sauvignon, Olive Hill Estate, Sonoma Valley, 2013
  • Top Texas Wine – Pedernales Cellars Viognier, Texas, 2014
  • Top Sparkling Wine – La Gioiosa Prosecco Superiore DOCG, Valdobbiadene, NV
  • Top White Wine – B.R. Cohn Winery Chardonnay, Sangiacomo Vineyard, Carneros, 2014
  • Top Red Wine – Mercer Estates Reserve Cavalie, Horse Heaven Hills, 2012
  • Top Region Wine – Mercer Estates Cabernet Sauvignon, Columbia Valley, 2012
  • Top Sweet Wine – J. Lohr Late Harvest White Riesling, Arroyo Secco, 2014
  • Top Value Wine – Harken Chardonnay, Barrel Fermented, California 2014
  • Top All-Around Winery – Sutter Home Family Vineyards
  • Top Region Wine Company – Ste. Michelle Wine Estates
  • Top Wine Company – Tinchero Family Estates

All champion wines will be auctioned at the Rodeo Uncorked! Champion Wine Auction and Dinner Sunday, Feb. 28, and paired with competing dishes from top chefs at the Roundup and Best Bites Competition, Sunday, Feb. 21.

Visitors to the 2016 Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo can enjoy a selection of award-winning wines by the glass or bottle at the Rodeo Uncorked! Champion Wine Garden, located in Carruth Plaza at NRG Park. For more information on tickets and events in the Champion Wine Garden, visit rodeohouston.com.


The new Marriott Marquis boasts a “lazy river” perched 110 feet in the air in the shape of Texas.

The new Marriott Marquis boasts a “lazy river” perched 110 feet in the air in the shape of Texas.

Marriott Marquis Houston Set To Open Oct. 1

The Marriott Marquis Houston is on track to open on Oct. 1, 2016,adding 1,000 new guest rooms, more than 100,000 square feet of meeting space and Houston’s largest ballroom to the city.

The new hotel brings Houston to the forefront of top-tier leisure and meetings destinations in the country, catalyzing the reawakening of Houston’s urban district and attracting discerning, cultured travelers. A one-of-a-kind Texas-shaped lazy river, rooftop infinity pool and special events pavilion overlooking Discovery Green Park establish the Marquis Houston as a cosmopolitan oasis in the heart of downtown. The hotel also features a full service spa and fitness center, two-story sports bar and two specialty restaurants.

“The property captures the bold, fearless spirit of Texas itself – empowering guests to blend work and play for meetings, leisure and business travel,” says Jay Marsella, director of sales and marketing for the Marriott Marquis Houston.

Developed by the RIDA Development Corporation, the $370-million project broke ground in April 2014 and “topped off” in September when its final beam was lifted into place on the 29th floor. Houston-based Morris Architects designed the hotel while Dallas-based Balfour Beatty Construction and Florida-based Welbro Building Corporation Inc. are the general contractors on the project; Dallas-based Looney & Associates is the hotel’s interior designer.

Within its 1,000 guest rooms, the hotel offers 360 king rooms, 600 double queens, and 40 suites, including four vice-presidential suites and two presidential suites. Rooms will have Marriott’s signature bedding and in-room technology options. Work areas provide a custom-designed pivoting desk and ergonomic chair for the business traveler while elegant bathrooms feature amenities from THANN, an all-natural, luxury spa line from Thailand.

Perched 110 feet in the air and surrounded by Houston’s downtown skyline, the hotel’s amenity deck features a 530-foot-long water feature that circumnavigates the entire state of Texas. Nearing El Paso, the river appears to disappear off the edge of the building with views through an underwater window looking down on the park below.

The Marriott Marquis Houston features a 5,000-square-foot, full-service spa with seven treatment rooms and a 5,000-square-foot fitness center, ideal for both business and leisure travelers.

Six food and beverage outlets, including two specialty restaurants (one helmed by a to-be-named local Houston celebrity chef), two-story sports bar, wine bar, lobby bar, café, and pool bar and grill offer a myriad of culinary experiences.

Connected to the George R. Brown Convention Center via a climate-controlled skybridge, the hotel features 52 meeting rooms that boast over 100,000 square feet of flexible meeting space, including a 39,000-square-foot ballroom – the largest in Houston, a 22,000-square-foot junior ballroom, and a 3,500-square-foot, open-air event pavilion on the hotel’s sixth floor terrace.

Located near Minute Maid Ballpark and the Toyota Center, the Marriott Marquis Houston is perfectly situated for business and leisure guests to take advantage of all that downtown Houston offers. In addition, Houston’s theater district, upscale shopping district and nightlife activity venues are just a few stops away via the new METROrail lines located at the hotel.


Houston’s Friends of Down Syndrome celebrates new location.

Houston’s Friends of Down Syndrome celebrates new location.

Friends of Down Syndrome

Students, faculty, parents and supporters of Friends of Down Syndrome celebrated their new location during a ribbon cutting with the International Chamber of Commerce on Nov. 20.

Friends of Down Syndrome and the Down Syndrome Academy opened in January 2014 in Houston to serve as a post-high school education program for adults with Down Syndrome. Due to high demand, the Academy has already moved to a larger space. Students come from all over Houston, and the surrounding area. Friends of Down
Syndrome is now located at 5200 Mitchelldale, Suite D4.

For more information, visit friendsofdownsyndrome.org, stop by the new offices or call 281-989-0345.


Annual Houston Ballet Nutcracker Market Grosses $6.4 Million

The Houston Ballet Nutcracker Market, “Putting on the Ritz,” which celebrated its 35th year, was a huge success. The four-day event, which for many officially kicks-off the holiday shopping season, attracted 105,000 shoppers and grossed $6.4 million. Ten percent of all merchandise sales, plus the proceeds from admission, donations, sponsorships and special event tickets, went directly back to Houston Ballet Foun­dation and its Academy and Scholar­ship Programs. In addition, more than 1,300 volunteers helped the Nutcracker Mar­ket soar to great heights in 2015.

“We would like to thank everyone who donated their time and resources to making this year’s Market one of our best,” said Patsy Chapman, CEO of Houston Ballet Nutcracker Market.


Chi Omega alumni (L-R, Back): Carol Sutton, Dawn Farley, Peg Palisin, Polly Kent, Drue DaSilva, Margie Esse, Barbe Bozeman, Mary Sue Williams Koch; (Front) Janet Jones, Cathy Coers Frank and Gwen Koch.

Chi Omega alumni (L-R, Back): Carol Sutton, Dawn Farley, Peg Palisin, Polly Kent, Drue DaSilva, Margie Esse, Barbe Bozeman, Mary Sue Williams Koch; (Front) Janet Jones, Cathy Coers Frank and Gwen Koch.

HAPF Annual Wine Tasting Fundraiser

The Annual Houston Alumni Pan­hel­lenic Foundation (HAPF) Wine Tasting Event was held on Oct. 23 at St Cecilia’s Community Center. This year’s theme was “Texas Two Sip” and incorporated a festive Texas theme. Cathy Coers Frank, Chi Omega, was selected as the Guest of Honor in recognition of her longtime support of Houston Alum­nae Panhel­lenic and Foundation. Co-Chairmen for this year’s event were Merry Adamcik, Delta Zeta, and Melanie Frank, Sigma Kappa. The wine tasting was presented by Andrew Rorschach.

The annual event raises funds for fraternity women of Harris County in financial need for the purpose of continuing their education. Last May, 22 women were awarded scholarships totaling $54,500. These women represent 12 sororities and 12 universities located across the United States. In the last 28 years, HAPF has awarded $731,800.00 in scholarships to 476 women.

HAPF President Sandy Lewis, Zeta Tau Alpha, announced that a scholarship will be given in the name of this year’s honoree, Cathy Coers Frank, at the annual Scholarship Luncheon on May 5, 2016, to be held at the Junior League of Houston.

For more information please visit houston-panhellenic.org.


Rendering of Smart Financial Centre at Sugar Land.

Rendering of Smart Financial Centre at Sugar Land.

Smart Financial Centre at Sugar Land

ACE SL, LLC (ACE) and the City of Sugar Land have partnered to develop the Smart Financial Centre at Sugar Land, the region’s first state-of-the-art, indoor performance venue. The $84-million project will further position the city as a destination location for culture and entertainment.

Located off of U.S. 59 and University Boulevard, Smart Financial Centre is situated on a portion of 38.5 acres of City property. It will set a new standard for live performance venues and will be equipped to host a wide array of programming, including national music and comedy artists, children and family entertainment, theatrically-staged productions and cultural and performing arts attractions. It will also be open to the community for local graduations and community theatre performances.

“This is a project unlike any other in the Houston-region, one that supports tourism and economic goals that have been identified throughout more than a decade of discussion- including support from a citizen-led Visioning Task Force and a public vote in 2008,” said Mayor James Thompson. The city feels the venue will increase tourism, provide activities for local and regional visitors, promote capital investment and create new jobs. A new 50-acre business site for Fluor, the Texas Instruments campus, the future expansion of office space, and a hotel/conference center and other amenities are part of its plan.

Designed for flexibility, the 200,000-square-foot venue incorporates innovative moveable walls that can expand and contract to create four different seating capacities that range from an intimate setting of 3,400 seats to a maximum of 6,400. It also features 14 luxury suites, corporate hospitality areas, and the latest sound, light and video technology. Other offerings include space to house up to 18 trucks and buses, as well as 2,500 guest parking spaces.

“We are excited to provide the greater Houston area with a multi-functional, state-of-the-art performance venue located in Sugar Land, Texas,” said Gary Becker, ACE SL. “Its customizable features and flexible design allow us to easily transition from one performance to the next.”

In addition to its upscale design, ACE SL partnered with prestigious companies for sponsorships. In February 2015, Smart Financial Credit Union was awarded the naming rights of the performance venue, agreeing to a five-year term with a five-year option to extend. Mercedes-Benz of Sugar Land is another notable sponsor as the official automotive sponsor. The luxury partnership includes a VIP lounge for suite and premium seat holders, the Mercedes-Benz of Sugar Land concert series, automotive displays, audience engagement opportunities such as interactive kiosks and test drive events, and exclusive reveal events to showcase new Mercedes-Benz models. Other sponsors for the facility include Silver Eagle, Think Energy and PepsiCo.

“Smart Financial is proud to support Sugar Land as it develops into an entertainment hub for tourists and locals alike. We are a locally based Texas institution and we believe in giving back to the growing communities we serve,” said Gary Tuma, President and CEO of Smart Financial Credit Union. “We cannot wait to open the doors and welcome the community into this beautiful, state of the art venue.”

The Smart Financial Centre will attract large-scale, national performances and position Sugar Land as a destination location for culture and entertainment. It follows the installation of Constellation Field, home to the Sugar Land Skeeters. ACE SL, LLC and the City of Sugar Land broke ground on the Centre in December 2014. Linbeck Group, LLC is serving as the construction manager for the facility, which was designed by Martinez + Johnson Architecture. It is projected for completion in fall 2016.

Comments are closed.