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Published:August 24th, 2005 13:21 EST
Looking Good, Houston

Looking Good, Houston

By Sean Stubblefield

In Texas, Downtown Houston has long been known among the locals primarily as a place of business, with most of the cultural and commercial aspects existing along the city`s outlining or extension areas (such as clubs, theater, arts facilities, sports arenas, fancy restaurants, parks and universities). The central portion of the city, generally reserved for conducting business and little else, often looks and feels rather vacant, desolate and devoid of humanity (literally or figuratively)-- especially after business hours. Incidentally, the whole south side is virtually neglected, abandoned and in serious disrepair. The main reason anyone goes to Downtown Houston is for work related affairs, or passing through on the way to somewhere else on the edge of downtown or beyond.

But, fortunately, that may be changing.

Over the last few years, the city of Houston`s downtown area has been gradually undergoing a redesign and reconstruction process in an effort to re-invigorate the city`s image, and perhaps its residents, as well. Many city streets and sidewalks, and even several buildings, have been refitted or remodeled, to be more attractive, artful and modern.  Much of Downtown Houston is being refined and beautified, making it more livable and appealing. Last year, a light rail train was even introduced.

The continual renovation has made a notable improvement on the city`s appearance and atmosphere, and I hope there more enhancements to come.

Indeed, one`s environment does influence one`s psychological and emotional welfare.

Therefore, it is in our best interests to surround ourselves with things that are aesthetically pleasing, in order to inspire a pleasant and encouraging attitude.

And so, with this in mind, on August 23, city developers announced a plan to further revitalize and enliven Houston by transforming its Downtown into a commercial entertainment mecca with a $200 million project called The Houston Pavilions. The idea is to turn a three block region, currently consisting of parking lots (of which Houston has aplenty), into a large metroplex mall center designed to attract people to Downtown for leisure activities, and to generally lift people`s spirits.

Sure, it may also be a ploy to get more people to spend their disposable cash (while hopefully enjoying themselves, of course) in Houston, but it should also help to give and bring new life to the city`s down trodden downtown.

It would feature retail stores, entertainment venues and restaurants, plus residential and hotel facilities. However, as impressive and exciting as this rejuvenating enterprise sounds, at least in theory, it is still in the pre-production stages as Houston city officials evaluate the details of this ambitious proposal.

Similar pavilion complexes built in Denver and Seattle have been successful.