HOUSTON – The University of Houston athletic program announced Thursday its largest individual donation ever.
Tilman Fertitta, the owner of Landry's, donated $20 million to remodel Hofheinz Pavilion.
The university said Fertitta's donation is a step forward in helping with the $60 million renovation cost.
Hofheinz Pavilion, which has been open for nearly 47 years, would be named the Fertitta Center, and it’ll feature a club area and court side club.
“What an honor this is for me today to be able to take this facility and take it to the next level. When I was 8, 10, 11 years old, and (it) had such an impact on me,” Fertitta said.
The school will transform an area near the arena into Hofheinz Plaza and ask the city to rename a portion of Holman Street after the Hofheinz family.
“Times have changed. We realize that and we know that if our father were alive today that he would be supportive of this project with great enthusiasm. He was a great booster of the university. We know he would agree that the name change would be necessary to bring the university to the next level of excellence,” said former mayor Fred Hofheinz, son of Roy Hofheinz.
The school believes the renovation will give it a competitive advantage and a push toward entering the Big 12 Conference.
Construction would start after this upcoming basketball season and be ready for the 2018-2019 season.
The board of regents were set to vote on the name at their meeting on Thursday.