The Ion formally launched May 9 following a ribbon-cutting ceremony with key speakers, including Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner and Rice University President David Leebron.

In 2019, Rice University announced the development of a new innovation district. While The Ion has been operating in limited capacity for several months, the official opening is being celebrated May 9-May 13.

Intended as a hub of academic, corporate and entrepreneurial research and collaboration, The Ion features office space, collaborative working space and a variety of dining locations, including Stuff'd Wings; Common Bond, a bistro and bakery; the Lymbar, a bar with Latin- and Mediterranean-style dishes; and Late August, an Afro-Asian blend restaurant.

Rice founded the district in partnership with Baker Botts, Chevron, Microsoft and Aramco Americas.

"You cannot have a great city if you do not have great partners, and you cannot have a great city if people are not willing to invest," Turner said at the Ion's launch.

The 16-acre site sits in the southwest Midtown area along Main Street, with easy access to the Metropolitan Transit Authority of Harris County's METRORail.

"This is an enterprise for the city of Houston, to move Houston and all of its people forward so that we can become the center of the future of energy and energy transition," Leebron said at the launch.