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City announces plans to redevelop Jones Plaza

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HOUSTON – Redevelopment plans are in the works for Jones Plaza in downtown Houston.

Houston First Corporation announced the redevelopment plans for the plaza, which is located in the heart of downtown's Theater District.

VIDEO: City officials discuss redevelopment of Jones Plaza

The project "aims to revitalize the plaza into a vibrant public square for all visitors," according to a press release.

The project will begin in May and is expected to be completed by November 2020.

Bob Eury, on behalf of the Downtown Redevelopment Authority, donated $5 million to the project. Jim Crane, Whitney Crane and the Astros Foundation committed $1 million and will lead a $20 million fundraising campaign.

"Downtown is the heart of Houston. It is a vibrant, urban center comprised of talented people, leading corporations, premier performing arts companies and dynamic public spaces. The redevelopment of Jones Plaza will only enhance downtown's cultural footprint," said Mayor Sylvester Turner. "We are grateful for the support of Houston First, the Downtown Redevelopment Authority and Jim Crane for helping bring this vision to life."

A welcoming design has been developed for the 1.5-acre public plaza.

"Jones Plaza's redevelopment will transform the space into the focal point of the Theater District as it was always intended. We look forward to redeveloping this area into a welcoming venue of its own that ignites excitement among Houstonians," said David Mincberg, board chairman of Houston First Corporation.

Visions for the plaza include easy access to the plaza from all sides, trees, moveable seating and tables, a water element, a performance space, lighting elements, a 4,000-square-foot dining facility, a transparent building skin with indoor and outdoor seating, a kitchen facility, restrooms and private event spaces.

"Rios Clementi Hale Studios is thrilled to work with the Houston First Corporation, the City of Houston, and Theater District stakeholders on the redesign of Jones Plaza. For us, this is a remarkable opportunity to bring together the two things-public open space and venues for the performing arts-which have been at the heart of our most rewarding work. Our design concept, called Urban Choreography, celebrates this dual role which Jones Plaza will play in Downtown Houston. It must be an inviting green oasis that contributes to the daily life of downtown residents, workers and visitors-and at the same time, it must flexibly accommodate a wide range of cultural programming and special events," said Nate Cormier, ASLA, principal-in-charge, Rios Clementi Hale Studios.