Downtown Houston is about to undergo a major transformation as the city prepares to host the Super Bowl in 2017.
On Friday morning, members of the Super Bowl Host Committee and other dignitaries broke ground on a new Marriott Marquis Hotel that is being built across the street from the George R. Brown Convention Center.
The project is the first of many more that will unfold before Houston officially rolls out the red carpet for visitors and football fans in 2017.
"The 1,000 room hotel is an important part of the Super Bowl. It's an important part of our bid," Super Bowl Host Committee Chairman Ric Campo said.
Campo says other projects surrounding the convention center and Discovery Green will be rolled out in coming months.
"More retail space and less car traffic in time for the city to host the 2017 Super Bowl," Houston City Council Member Robert Gallegos said.
The projects, including the Marriott Marquis, are expected to benefit Houston in the long term.
"Hundreds of jobs and families will be impacted, by the careers that are built here and many thousands of guest coming to Houston every year will have experiences that they'll take back where they came from," Marriott International President and CEO Arne Sorenson said.
The Marriott Marquis is expected to open in 2016.