Community investments, project-based opportunities, and more goals in proposed Midtown benefits agreement

A working group helped Rice Management Co. to identify a set of commitments to ensure underrepresented Houstonians are provided with an opportunity to benefit from the development of the Ion District.  (Hunter Marrow/Community Impact Newspaper)
A working group helped Rice Management Co. to identify a set of commitments to ensure underrepresented Houstonians are provided with an opportunity to benefit from the development of the Ion District. (Hunter Marrow/Community Impact Newspaper)

A working group helped Rice Management Co. to identify a set of commitments to ensure underrepresented Houstonians are provided with an opportunity to benefit from the development of the Ion District. (Hunter Marrow/Community Impact Newspaper)

The Ion and Ion District, a 16-acre development located in Midtown looking to be a transformational mixed-use project that strengthens Houston’s economic resiliency and builds community, has gotten one step closer to its goal of building up particularly disadvantaged communities that have not had access to economic opportunities in the technology, innovation and tech-enabled industries.

A group of 13 stakeholders representing respected community, business, civic leaders and Houston midtown residents has issued a report in collaboration with Rice Management Co.—which owns the land where the Innovation District will stand—with recommendations to ensure underrepresented Houstonians are provided with opportunities to benefit from The Ion and the Ion District.

The recommendations from the full report address concerns across three main areas: economic opportunity, housing opportunity, and inclusive hiring and contracting. The report also provides specific and measurable commitments the group is asking both Rice Management Co. and the city of Houston to consider and incorporate into the final document.

The group, called a community benefits agreement working group by Rice Management Co., has been working with the company since November on the report recommendations.

“When we first thought about the Ion and the District, we envisioned a welcoming place where everyone can find the right opportunity for themselves,” said Ryan M. LeVasseur, managing director at Direct Real Estate for RMC in a May 19 release. “And, I”m proud to say, we’ve begun that process through research, collaboration and community engagement.”


The process will next continue with Rice Management Co. and the city of Houston negotiating the final terms of what is being termed a community benefits agreement. Those final terms will be presented to Houston City Council, and if approved, will be a legally binding contract.
By Hunter Marrow
Hunter Marrow came to Community Impact Newspaper in January 2020. Before that, Hunter covered local news in Ontario, OR for three years, covering municipal issues, crime, and education across Malheur County and across the border into Idaho.


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