February 1, 2019
The historic Sears building on Houston’s Main Street will undergo a significant renovation, transforming from a vacant landmark into the centerpiece of a thriving innovation district called The Ion. The Rice Management Company, which manages the Rice University endowment, is spearheading the 270,000-square foot project.
Work on The Ion will begin in May. The building itself will retain signature elements of the original art deco building’s design, including historic corners, glass block windows, decorative tilework and a three-sided storefront with architectural canopies. Large windows will reconnect the open interior to the surrounding streetscape, and a new central light-well will bring natural illumination to the building, while providing unobstructed views across the ground floor.
Renovations are expected to be completed late next year.
“We chose the name Ion because it’s from the Greek ienai, which means ‘go’” said Rice University President David Leebron. “The Ion will become Houston’s nucleus for innovation, fostering a community and culture where entrepreneurs and corporations come together to solve some of the world’s greatest problems.”
For questions, comments or concerns, please contact Jennifer Duell Popovec