Medical Giant Joins Ion Innovation District

HOUSTON – (Realty News Report) –The Ion, the new innovation hub in Houston’s Midtown, has added Houston Methodist as its first health care-centric partner.

The Ion, 4201 Main St. at Wheeler, is a transformed 80-year-old Sears department store redeveloped by Rice Management Co., which is affiliated with Rice University.

From its Art-Deco roots, the 266,000-SF structure houses The Ion’s mission to connect innovators, scientists, businesses, educational institutions, startups, incubators, venture capital and the community at-large in an inclusive manner.

One of the largest health systems and academic medical centers in Texas, Houston Methodist operates its flagship academic hospital in the Texas Medical Center, a number of hospitals in Houston and a research institute.

At the Ion, Houston Methodist will build out a space at the Ion modeled after Houston Methodist’s Center for Innovation Technology Hub in the Texas Medical Center.

Expected to open later this year, Methodist’s Tech Hub at the Ion will occupy a 1,200-SF space which will first be used for informational and educational programming, networking with fellow tenants and entrepreneurs, and participating in on-site mentoring and pitch competitions.

“We are advancing the evolution of the hospital’s role in health care through digital transformation,” said Michelle Stansbury, VP of Innovation and IT Applications at Houston Methodist. “Having a footprint at the Ion will not only provide the Ion’s network and Houston community with a window into what we are doing for patients, consumers and providers, but also gives the Ion community and rising innovators an opportunity to bring its own ingenuity and ideas to life with ours.

Houston Methodist will occupy a 1,200-SF space at the Ion, which currently has a mix of occupants, partners and participants including Microsoft, Chevron Technology Ventures, Schlumberger, Dow Chemicals, Exxon Mobil and early-stage companies such as Koda Health.

The presence of Houston Methodist “will advance the Ion’s ability to support entrepreneurs and innovators that are already at the Ion as we embark on a new focus in health care innovation,” said Jan Odegard, Executive Director of the Ion.

Houston Methodist will advance the Ion’s vision to foster more collaboration across industries, joining aerospace, energy, and oil and gas companies. Through this partnership, Houston Methodist expands the work of its Center for Innovation and its Technology Hub, which opened in early 2020 to provide a living laboratory environment to experience the latest innovations in patient-centered health care technology, including remote monitoring, ambient intelligence and virtual reality.

Partnering with Houston Methodist at the Ion, which was developed by Rice Management Company on behalf of Rice University, builds on the legacies of two of the state’s leading institutions, said Rice University President Reggie DesRoches.

“Building new relationships and resources can expand digital innovation in health care,” DesRoches said. “Rice is thrilled to play its part, and we celebrate our shared commitment to meaningful community engagement.”

Houston Methodist and Rice University have a history of collaborations including the Houston Methodist – Rice University Center for Human Performance, which is under construction on Rice’s main campus. The space is intended to bring physicians, academic researchers and university students together to work side by side with student athletes, trainers and coaches to advance research and education in human performance.

Houston Methodist and Rice University also are collaborating on the Center for Translational Neural Prosthetics and Interfaces, to bring together scientists, clinicians, engineers and surgeons to solve clinical problems with neurorobotics. Research work there has included brain implants.

Bryson Grover, Investment Manager of Real Estate Development, Rice Management Company, said, “By enhancing opportunities for our network of academics, businesses, entrepreneurs and innovators to collaborate across the Ion District and globally, we’re creating a more resilient future economy for our region.”

The development of The Ion gained momentum after Houston failed to make the top 20 finalists list of cities vying for the Amazon’s HQ2 facility, one of the largest North American economic development plums to emerge since the site selections for NASA.

The Ion, 4201 Main Street, anchors a 16-acre innovation district along Main and Fannin near U.S. Highway 59 – near the approximate midpoint between downtown Houston and the Texas Medical Center.

The Metro light rail runs adjacent to the Ion, however the route of at-grade train can be confusing to drivers and cyclists along that stretch. South of the Ion, the Metro rail route bisects and butchers several blocks of land, eliminating opportunities for significant real estate development.

Aug. 12, 2022 Realty News Report Copyright 2022

Photo: Courtesy The Ion. Photo credit: Shannon O’Hara Photography

File: Houston Methodist. Medical Giant Joins Ion Innovation District.


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File: Houston Methodist. Medical Giant Joins Ion Innovation District

File: Rice Management. Medical Giant Joins Ion Innovation District. Jan Odegard. Reggie DesRoches



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