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Houston Downtown About Us: Overview

The Houston Downtown Management District (Downtown District) was formed by an act of the Texas Legislature in 1995 and has been in operation since 1996. During this time, downtown has experienced an exciting renaissance and a remarkable economic rebound. Today more Houston residents as well as visitors see downtown as a place to do far more than work—downtown is now a place to live, dine, visit, play, enjoy the arts, worship and learn!

Check out these impressive numbers—

  • Since 1996, $4 billion of construction has been completed in over 110 public and private projects
  • Over 3,800 residents now live downtown, up from only 1,400 in the 1990's
  • Almost 150 restaurants and clubs have opened since 1997 with a broad range of offerings
  • 3.2 million square feet of new Class A office space has been constructed, bringing downtown to a total of over 41 million square feet
  • 3,000 hotel rooms in 11 projects have been added bringing total rooms to 4,858 in 15 properties
  • $500 million of infrastructure improvements by the City of Houston, METRO, TxDOT and the Downtown District including the reconstruction of 23 downtown streets
  • 8,486 garage and lot parking spaces were added to an inventory of over 100,000

The Downtown District is bounded largely by the freeway ring around Houston’s central business core, including Interstate 10, Highway 59 and Interstate 45.

The District is operated under the direction of a 30-member board of directors whose primary focus is to leverage public funds with private resources to improve facilities and services, as well as accelerate area improvements with widespread benefit above and beyond the level presently provided by local government or voluntary effort.

The District’s services and capital improvements are financed through an assessment based on the certified tax rolls of the Harris County Appraisal District and a rate determined annually by the Board of Directors. The current 5-year Service & Improvements and Assessment Plan is for tax years 2010 through 2014. The current assessment rate of .135 (.1065 for services and .0285 for capital improvements) was levied against the 2010 certified valuation and is payable in five installments for the tax years 2010 through 2014. The following may cause the District to amend its 2010 Assessment Roll: 1) final 2010 valuations are revised by HCAD; 2) omitted properties are identified; 3) properties are reclassified into one of the exempt classes of property; 4) land and improvements annexed into the District; and 5) new or rehabilitated improvements result in an increase of valuation by at least one million dollars.

An operations budget and plan are developed and approved by the Board. The mission of the plan is to sustain and manage downtown while continuing redevelopment to make it a diverse, accessible and perpetually active core of the Houston region both in perception and reality.