A fast-growing and prestigious location for businesses and professionals, the Houston Westchase District grew up on land once owned by Houston philanthropist and rancher Bob Smith, who first began to develop it in the 1970s. Approximately 15 miles from downtown Houston and conveniently adjacent to the Energy Corridor, Westchase is bordered on the north by Westheimer, on the south by Westpark Tollway, on the west by Wilcrest and on the east by Gessner. Westchase venues see a lot of business generated by prestigious corporations in and around the area.
First established in 1995, Westchase has seen more than $1.5 million worth of business develop there within the subsequent years. The area is home to roughly 1,500 businesses with 81,000 employees. Major employers such as BMC Software, Chevron, Dow Chemical, and Halliburton have offices in Westchase. It is a young commercial neighborhood, just growing into its own.
Chief among Westchase meeting venues is the 600-room Marriott Houston Westchase, which features 38,500 square feet in 22 meeting rooms, the largest of which is the 14,794-square-foot Grand Pavilion. The 297-room Hilton Houston Westchase has 13,000 square feet in 11 meeting rooms (the largest of which is nearly 5,000 square feet).
The area also boasts abundant housing, apartment communities, retail developments and restaurants as well as highly ranked public and private schools. The Quillian Center, the sports and recreation center of First Methodist Houston, has facilities that are open to the general public and can be used for team building. The center includes two lighted softball fields, open-air pavilion, soccer fields, 400-meter fitness trail, playgrounds and an aquatic venue with a 25-meter pool, diving board, and slides. Also available are concessions, showers, lockers and parking. Memorial City Mall, with dozens of retail, dining and entertainment options, is about five miles away.
Although Westchase has heavily landscaped boulevards and superior public safety, the district – like much of Houston – is not known for its walkability. However, in 2010, Westchase announced a new trail system that will eventually link the library, post office, Terry Hershey Park at Buffalo Bayou, Arthur Storey Park south of Bellaire, and connect to the Brays Bayou trail system. Phase I, the 1.6-mile Library Loop Trail scheduled for completion in 2011, begins at the Robinson-Westchase Library on Wilcrest and features a paved trail 8-10 feet wide, allowing for simultaneous pedestrian and bicycle traffic.