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Society / The Seen

Houston Billionaire’s New High-Rise Emerges as New Home of Harvey-Displaced Galas

A Dramatic Party Saver

BY // 10.13.17

The city’s performing arts groups and their patrons weren’t the only ones thrown into sleepless mode when Hurricane Harvey flood waters ravaged downtown theaters. Chairs of the spring galas, many typically held in the Grand Foyer of Wortham Theater Center, were dealing with the vapors at the prospect of finding an equally resplendent locale for their fancy dress balls.

After all, they have been planning their black-tie and white-tie extravaganzas since last spring and fears of a less that grand locale only doubled the concern that the flooding devastation might negatively impact the fundraising efforts. Those funds, which easily top the seven figure mark, are key to the various organizations’ bottom lines.

First to confirm a change of venue was Houston Ballet, which has revealed that in place of the Grand Foyer, the ball will be moved to the surface parking lot adjacent to Houston Ballet’s Center for Dance. The ballet reports, “Richard Flowers and The Events Company are designing a one-of-a-kind custom created venue, with a magnificent Swan Lake theme.”

Ballet ball chair Hallie Vanderhider is resting easy with the knowledge that her February 17 fundraiser is in good hands and is on target to be a show stopper.

Count a few other Houston ball chairs among the new Tilman Fertitta fan club, which grew by leaps and bounds with the billionaire’s purchase of the Houston Rockets. His 38-story Post Oak at Uptown Houston mixed-use hotel/office/apartment development boasts two ballrooms. Both Houston Grand Opera and Houston Symphony have booked the Grand Ballroom for their galas, scheduled April 14 and May 12, respectively. And both have rather whimsical themes well suited to a Fertitta locale.

“An Evening in Old Hollywood” is theme of the opera’s white-tie ball with chairs Drs. Elizabeth Grimm and Jack Roth leading the star stuck evening. HGO describes the fete as imagined by Richard Flowers and The Events Company, “Walk the red carpet to a swanky supper club on Sunset Boulevard where stars were born and glitz sets the stage. Palm trees and the Polo Lounge… cocktail shakers and deal-makers. Fred and Ginger, Garbo, Grant, and Garland — dancing cheek to cheek under the glamorous glow of the Hollywood Hills.” We can hardly wait!

Inadvertently or not “The Balinese Room” theme of the symphony ball makes a nod to Fertitta’s Galveston heritage and allows for all manner of creative decorating. Robin Angly and Miles Smith are chairing the evening with the assist of co-chairs Darrin Davis and Mario Gudmundsson.

When the hotel opens early next year, event planners and gala chairs will find plenty of room in the new party space for exceptionally large events. The Grand Ballroom is 16,000 square feet with a seating capacity of 1,200, complemented by two pre-function areas. The Post Oak Ballroom on the second level, accessed by a grand spiral staircase, measures  3,000 square feet and seats 220.

Adding to the grandeur, the area includes a private, sweeping terrace, an exclusive entrance dressed with a display of Bentley and Rolls Royce automobiles (Fertitta owns the dealership), and an “elegant women’s lounge.”

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