UH’s venerable basketball arena is going to enjoy a major makeover, reclaiming its status as one of Houston’s—and the nation’s—premier sports venues. The transformation comes courtesy of a generous $20 million gift from globally recognized entrepreneur and chairman of the University of Houston System Board of Regents, Tilman J. Fertitta and his family.
In late August, Fertitta and the University announced the gift would be part of a $60 million renovation of Hofheinz Pavilion.
“This gift is personal,” Fertitta explained. “It represents a commitment from my family and me to support UH in its quest to strengthen our nationally competitive institution, both in academics and athletics. Upgrading our athletics facilities shows we are serious about competing at the highest levels of collegiate sports for many years to come.”
When completed, the new Fertitta Center will feature a premium club area and a courtside club. The reconfigured bowl will move mid-court seating locations closer to game action with floor-level seating opposite the team benches for UH students. Renovations include a new audio system, sports lighting and video boards as well as new concession stands and expanded restrooms. The facility’s exterior also will be refreshed.
The renovation will preserve the legacy of the Hofheinz family and its contributions to both UH and Houston. Hofheinz Plaza, which will be located adjacent to the Fertitta Center, will be highlighted by a bronze statue of former Harris County Judge Roy Hofheinz. In addition, UH will request that city officials rename a portion of Holman Street in front of the arena after the Hofheinz family.
Design work on the Fertitta Center is underway, with construction scheduled to follow the 2016-17 season and completion during the 2018-19 season.
“Half a century ago, Hofheinz Pavilion was built with a gift from our parents Roy and Irene Hofheinz,” said Fred Hofheinz, their son. “Roy Hofheinz, visionary and entrepreneur, brought fame and recognition to Houston and its University. It is fitting, then, that the new arena will bear the name of Tilman Fertitta, another Houston entrepreneur, who shares our father’s dream of greatness for the University.”