City of Houston Poised For Regional Heritage Tourism Center

A multi million-dollar initiative is under way in downtown Houston that will convert two historic houses into what will become a regional heritage tourism center, Mayor Bill White announced today.

Subject to approval by Houston City Council, the city and the Greater Houston Preservation Alliance (GHPA) will enter into an agreement that will lead to the renovation of the historic William L. Foley House, built in 1904, and the Arthur B. Cohn House, built in 1905. Together, the two side-by-side structures, which front Avenida de las Americas between the George R. Brown Convention Center and Minute Maid Park, will form the nucleus of a tourism center that will serve the 18 counties of the Upper Texas Gulf Coast.

“Houston has been on a roll lately in protecting our heritage,” Mayor White said. “I am pleased the Foley and Cohen houses are not only going to be preserved and renovated, but they will play an active role in welcoming tourists to our city.”

The City owns the block, which is bordered by Avenida de las Americas and Jackson Street to the east and west, and Capitol and Rusk streets to the north and south, and the Foley and Cohn houses.

Plans call for a lease agreement in which the GHPA would raise funds from the private sector to renovate the two houses and the rest of the property. The GHPA will also maintain permanent offices in one of the two structures, which are the last remaining homes of the once-fashionable Quality Hill neighborhood.

The City’s Convention & Entertainment Facilities Department will partner with the GHPA in the design and construction of the property and then will ultimately be responsible for operating the regional tourism center.