Contract Amount
Project Type
Electrical Construction
Project Owner
Rice University
General Contractor

The ION Houston, Texas

Case Study
FSG Provides Electrical Construction for Sears Building Renovation Project


Houston's Rice University had been the owner of a large parcel of prime midtown Houston real estate since the early 1900s. Beginning in 1939, the site had been the home of an iconic Sears department store location beloved by area residents and visitors alike for its classic mid-century art deco design. In 2018, when Sears announced plans to close the location, Rice purchased the remainder of the company's lease along with a few more surrounding acres of land. Plans soon emerged for the creation of the new Rice Innovation District, a technology park and creative hub anchored by a completely reimagined, renovated, and expanded Sears building, to be rechristened as The ION.

Plans for The ION called for the 288,000 square-foot building to accommodate multiple uses, including shared workspace, prototyping and maker resources, event space, classrooms, food & beverage, as well as indoor/outdoor communal areas with shared amenities. The General Contractor for the project, Gilbane, was tasked with heading up a high-profile project that carried the attention and focus of many more stakeholders than just the project owner. As such, Gilbane knew it needed to partner with subcontractors that could match its sense of urgency and deliver their very best work for The ION. To complete the electrical work scope on this ambitious, technology-focused project, Gilbane turned to FSG's Houston branch.


FSG brought a wealth of experience in managing large construction projects to the table for this project. FSG's experienced project management team carefully monitored and managed the project so that materials and manpower were where they needed to be on time and ready to go. As a project largely completed during the worst of the 2020 coronavirus pandemic, the effort presented many additional challenges for all project team members. Still, FSG executed its work scope to the very highest standards for Gilbane, ensuring that the electrical construction was completed to the customer's ultimate satisfaction.


For The Rice Management Company, which manages the Rice endowment, The ION project represented the successful completion of a key phase of its development plans for the future. For the city of Houston, the Rice Innovation District got off to a great start with The ION project and took a large step toward positioning the city as a leading resource for technological development. For Gilbane Building Company, The ION project took its place within a winning portfolio of ambitious projects completed for happy project owners.

For FSG, The ION project provided another opportunity to demonstrate our commitment to providing excellent service for our customers in support of their goals.

More Information

Header Image: Sears of the Atomic Age"Sears of the Atomic Age" by rutlo is licensed under CC BY 2.0

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