Houston First Corporation (HFC) is the official destination marketing organization for the city of Houston.
A local government corporation, Houston First also owns the Hilton Americas-Houston Hotel, manages the George R. Brown Convention Center as well as 10 city-owned properties, underground and surface parking for nearly 7,000 vehicles and developed the Avenida Houston entertainment and convention district.
HFC’s vision and efforts enrich the lives of Houstonians in a number of ways, beginning with promoting the region as a destination for tourism and convention business. The organization also works to attract film production to the area and operates theaters where world-class performances take center stage, all while managing outdoor spaces where festivals and other activities thrive.
- Finance & Administration
- Marketing & Communications
- Public Policy
- General Counsel
- Facility Operations
- Partnerships and Event Development
The George R. Brown Convention Center opened on the east side of downtown Houston on September 26, 1987. The building was named for internationally recognized entrepreneur, engineer, civic leader, philanthropist George Rufus Brown (1898-1983), who donated six of the 11 blocks necessary to build the GRB. The first convention held in the George R. Brown was the American Society of Travel Agents in October 1987.
On July 28, 2001, ground was broken on a joint effort to expand the convention center and build an adjacent 1,200-room convention headquarters hotel that came to be known as the Hilton Americas-Houston. At a cost of $165 million and requiring 27 months of construction, the GRB grew from 1.15 million square feet to 1.8 million square feet. Three exhibit halls and more meeting rooms were added in preparation for Super Bowl XXXVIII in 2004. The expansion was completed on December 3, 2003.Ground was broken yet again to fulfill goals outlined in the GRB 2025 Master Plan. The latest improvements began in June 2014 with the rerouting of the north freight ramp to allow room for the Avenida North Garage and Transit Center. Ongoing development includes the creation of Avenida Plaza, a pedestrian-friendly outdoor space; The Wharf, an intimate special event area; and the interactive art piece "Wings Over Water" in the new Fountain of the Americas, created by Joe O'Connell & Creative Machines.
An additional show-stopping piece of public art will be Ed Wilson’s "Soaring in the Clouds" displayed overhead in the new grand lobby’s glass façade. Within the GRB is a new grand concourse that provides improved connectivity to the GRB’s prime exhibit space and four new restaurants, all on street level. Expansive flexspace with six balconies and sweeping views of downtown Houston play backdrop on Mezzanine Level 2.
Construction on the GRB and the surrounding area was completed in December of 2016. Avenida Houston is now downtown's premier destination to sip, stroll and savor all Houston has to offer.
To learn more about Houston First, please visit HoustonFirst.com.