HOUSTON — For the last few months, the Sears in Midtown has sat empty.

The once iconic property is now associated with the nearby homeless camp for many.

“I don’t feel comfortable going there, even driving, I don’t feel comfortable. I just stay away from there,” said Sang Hee Yo, who lives nearby

However, the art deco building will serve a new purpose in the next two years.

The land, owned by Rice University, will reportedly be the anchor of a new “innovation district”.

“There is not anything like this in Houston. There’s not anything like this in Texas,” said Jack Witthaus, Houston Business Journal Reporter

Sources tell the Houston Business Journal the campus will allow early-stage startups to collaborate and grow.

“After Amazon spurned the city, a group of people got together and said, ‘We’ve got to do something now to improve our innovation landscape’,” said Witthaus.

Witthaus says the up-and-coming neighborhood, public transportation, and access to parking made Midtown the perfect place for the concept.

Rice University announced Mayor Sylvester Turner will publicly announce details about the new innovation district Thursday.