ULI Blog

 

Building a place with a sense of connection – where people want to live, visit or work – will prove out in retention, frequency, sales and so forth, panelists said at the ULI discussion “Building Healthy Communities and the Bottom Line” last week in Houston.


The discussion, facilitated by ULI Senior Vice President, Washington, DC, Rachel MacCleery, brought together a cross section of projects and experiences in and around Texas focusing on the market case for projects that improve the health of people and communities. ULI Houston, one of four Texas District Councils to receive a regional urban innovation grant, presented a program for almost 300 participants, and convened a workshop for innovators from four of the largest Texas markets—Austin, Houston, North Texas (Dallas–Fort Worth), and San Antonio—seeking best practices, case studies and potential partnerships among public and private sector leaders.

 

Measuring the impact of healthy places today is intuitive but can also be supported by quantifiable data, said Tom Bacon, founding partner of Lionstone Investments. Bacon also serves as Chair of the Houston Parks Board, a non-profit organization implementing the Bayou Greenways 2020 project connecting 150 miles of trails and creating parkland adjacent to 9 Houston bayous. Bayou Greenways leaders sought the expertise of Texas A&M University to quantify the benefits of this investment. According to the research, the $225 million public-private project will reap $80 million a year in health benefits for the City of Houston—a figure the researchers say is conservative.

Social connectivity was the refrain often repeated among the panelists. Creating a place with a sense of social connectivity with active greenspace, restaurants and retail will generate ROI in traffic, sales and occupancy, said Jonathan Brinsden, CEO of Midway, which has a range of office, industrial, mixed use, business and industrial parks, resort and residential communities underway or complete in 23 states. “All of our developments like CityCentre and Kirby Grove [in Houston] contain a central greenspace or community space…and it is the most valuable [square footage] in the entire development.”

Hillwood Communities, a builder of master planned communities throughout Texas, considered food a significant factor in fostering connectivity and health. Harvest, a 1,200-acre prototype development north of Dallas, is considered the next generation in master planned communities and is built around a 5-acre working farm. The community features a mix of single family and high density residential but also includes five green houses and a community garden where the head farmer teaches residents how to grow fresh, organic farm-to-table product in gardens in their own backyards.

Where LEED ratings focus on assessing sustainability of the building, we are now talking about impacting the health and wellness of the people in the space to encourage their well-being, said David Calkins, regional managing principal of Gensler. Calkins, who heads the education practice for the firm, went on to discuss the environmental magnet school James Berry Elementary in Houston which achieves design sustainability and efficiency, but is in fact “…a machine for creating advocates for the environment,” at the earliest ages of our society. The elementary school children are “growing produce in gardens at the school and taking lessons home on healthy choices in terms of food, recycling and influencing their parent’s behavior.”

These and additional case studies from around the state will be published in Building Healthier Places in Texas set for release in September 2014.

 

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For the first time in its seven-year history, the ULI Houston Development of Distinction Awards added "positive impact on community health" to the criteria for award-worthy projects. James Berry Elementary School,  the 2014 winner in the nonprofit category, has been highlighted on the global ULI Building Healthy Places web site, and the video profile produced for the awards now has a world-wide distribution. Click here to learn more.

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At the link below, you can watch six 4-minute videos on each finalist project and an interview with the 2014 Awards jury. It's the next-best thing to being at the Awards (minus the cocktails, great meal, live music, and networking with some of the best of the best in real estate and land use).

WATCH AWARDS VIDEOS NOW

Congratulations again to all who were honored, and see you next year!

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(Houston, TX – January 29, 2014) Throughout 2013, several significant trends continue to stand out in significance for the Houston housing market. These include robust job growth thanks to strong economic fundamentals, low resale inventory partially driven by investor activity, high rental rates, and high affordability resulting from continued low mortgage rates. This is according to a recent report by Metrostudy, a national housing data and consulting firm that maintains the most extensive primary database on residential construction in the US housing market.

The Houston new home market continued to surge in the fourth quarter, with builders starting construction on 6,141 new homes, the fastest fourth quarter pace in more than six years. Representing a year-over-year gain of 10%, Houston hasn’t seen this many annual new homes starts since 2007. On an annualized basis, starts stand at 28,233, 19.5% above 4Q12. “The growth in the pace of starts continues to follow a measured linear trajectory as lot supply constraints and shortages in labor and materials have prevented Houston builders from ramping up construction more quickly,” said David Jarvis, Regional Director of Metrostudy’s Houston Market. In the fourth quarter, area builders closed 6,500 new homes, bringing the annualized total to 25,627. This level of activity represents a 13% gain from a year ago.

“The number of finished vacant homes in the market remains at historic lows as builders see their speculative homes purchased before reaching completion,” said Jarvis. The relative supply of finished vacant homes in the market is a mere 1.5 months, well below the 10 year average of 2.5 months. While finished vacant and model inventory continue to shrink, the ramp up in under construction inventory was sufficient to push total housing supply to 6.7 months from 7.1 in the fourth quarter.

Deliveries of vacant developed Lots are starting to catch up to the pace of absorption. While last quarter the deficit was 602 lots, in the fourth quarter lot deliveries exceed lot absorption by 596. During the period, 6,737 new lots were delivered to the market while 6,141 new homes were started. On an annualized basis, 24,603 new lots have been delivered during the last four quarters, while builders have started construction on 28,233 new homes during the same time frame. That deficit is the smallest since the end of 2011, suggesting that the pace of lot development is finally gaining momentum. Houston’s relative supply of VDL sits at 16.4 months, well below the 10 year average of 25 months.

“Moving forward, lot availability will continue to be a key factor for the growth of the Houston housing market. Due to builder demand for more lots, most, if not all, lots being brought to market have a buyer before they’re completed. Therefore, a number of publicly-traded builders and large, privately-owned builders have begun aggressively accumulating land and developing lots for their own use as a defensive posture,” said Jarvis.

“Tight supplies of available housing historically leads to home price appreciation, and prices in housing are rising quickly in both new and resale homes. On top of this, builders are coping with an overall increase in the real cost of building a new home in the market. Builders currently face fierce competition for a limited number of available lots to build on in suitable locations. In addition, builders are paying higher costs for materials and facing shortages in labor. These factors have contributed to a bottleneck which has limited growth in starts and has extended delivery times. Increased land and input costs are subsequently being passed down to consumers, as tight inventories have increased builders’ bargaining power and allowed them to raise prices,” said Jarvis.

About Metrostudy

Metrostudy is the leading provider of primary and secondary market information to the housing and related industries nationwide. Metrostudy provides research, data, analytics and consulting services to help builders, developers, lenders, suppliers, retailers, utilities and others make investment and business decisions every day. For more information, visit www.metrostudy.com

About Hanley Wood

Hanley Wood, LLC is the premier information, media, event, and strategic marketing services company serving the residential, commercial design and construction industries. Utilizing the largest editorial- and analytics-driven construction market database, the company produces powerful market data and insights; award-winning publications, newsletters and websites; marquee trade shows and executive events; and strategic marketing solutions. To learn more, visit hanleywood.com

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At ULI, we are delighted when Members who "do good" -- give back to their community, mentor young leaders, uphold the highest professional standards, also "do well" -- grow their business and increase their influence. Bill Odle, Managing Principal, Houston and Tulsa for TBG Partners, also is ULI Houston Chair of Mission Advancement, and an officer in a national ULI Product Council for Public + Private Partnership. He recently sat down with Jenny Aldridge, Real Estate writer for the Houston Business Journal, to discuss industry trends in landscape and real estate development. "Outdoor spaces are now becoming the reason someone chooses to buy (a commercial project) which is very powerful."

To read the complete HBJ interview with Bill Odle, click here.

From left-to-right: ULI Houston Chair, Mission Advancement, Bill Odle, ULI Houston Chair, Greg Erwin,
ULI Houston Young Leader Chair, Brian Attaway

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The Houston Business Journal published favorable findings from the recent Emerging Trends in Real Estate® Americas Report.

Read the full article here.

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Through the $800,000 grant from The Kresge Foundation, ULI will leverage the substantial expertise of its members to provide guidance on community building in a way that responds to inevitable climate change and sea level rise, and helps preserve the environment, boost economic prosperity, and foster a high quality of life.

Learn More


 

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Writing an edtiorial for today's Houston Chronicle, Bill King thanks the Kinder Foundation for generously making the largest gift to parks in Houston's history, also one of the largest grants to public parks in the Nation. He also credits real estate developer, Houston Parks Board Chair, and ULI Member Tom Bacon for both the grand vision and dogged determination to see the project through.

"I got my first briefing on the project from a real estate developer named Tom Bacon. Bacon, a University of Texas at Austin and Rice University graduate, who started his career with Gerald Hines Real Estate, was a man possessed even back then with the idea of using Houston's most prominent geographic feature (and we don't have many) as the backbone for a park system.

Bacon spread out huge maps of the bayou system on which he had painstaking identified every parcel of land that would be necessary for the system.

He had personally ridden his bike around many of the areas, thus gleaning a detailed knowledge of the terrain that no map can convey. Even then, he was directing efforts of the parks board and its allies to quietly purchase as much of the land as possible to pave the way for the project now unfolding before us.

Since those early days, an amazing array of civic leaders has come forward and made wonderful contributions to this legacy project.

The Kinders' gift announced this week is a critical boost. Also critical was the support the project received from the mayoral administrations of Bill White and Annise Parker.

Bacon is typical of the folks who have worked on this project. He brought to bear his unique skills as a real estate developer, his firm's resources and dogged determination to see the thing through."

Like Gerald Hines and Tom Bacon, and a host of other ULI Members, the best real estate developers possess this unique combination of skills: they can imagine big things, are willing to commit resources to back up their dreams, build collaborations that bring out the best in their teams, and are not afraid to doggedly pursue the vision to fruition.

Read the rest of King's editorial here

And the original press release announcing the Kinder Foundation's $50 million gift to the Houston Parks Board here

 

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Better Block Houston 2013
Media Contact:  John Gardosik
713.568.9208
j.gardosik@gmail.com


Better Block Houston reimagines the city on October 20th


HOUSTON, TX – October 14, 2013 – This October Better Block Houston brings a vision of Complete Streets to the Tlaquepaque Market in Houston’s Eastwood neighborhood.

On October 20th, one block of Telephone Road east of Lockwood will become a showcase for community-oriented street activity. From noon until 5pm, temporary bike lanes, street furniture and trees will enliven the street while entertainers, food trucks and educational booths engage visitors. Live music will be provided by High Toned 2, Cisco, Klezmer Dogs, Kerry Mellonson of Satin Hooks, the Austin High School drum line and others.

Now in its third year, Better Block Houston promotes the concept of “Complete Streets.” These streets cater to pedestrians, cyclists and transit users as well as automobile traffic. In a car-centric city like Houston, this might seem like a radical idea, but Houston has always been a city capable of changing with the times.

Though Better Block 2013 only lasts for one day, event organizers hope that the experience will inspire people to rethink what they expect from their city.

“Better Block is more than just a temporary festival,” said event organizer Matt Dietrichson of Houston Tomorrow. “It’s an opportunity to show what’s permanently possible when a community comes together to improve the streets they travel every day.”

Located minutes from Downtown Houston, the Greater East End is a burgeoning bike and pedestrian friendly community with a rich history. Organizers had this in mind when selecting this year’s event location.

“Houston’s greatest asset is its communities,” said event chair Pat Speck. “That’s why we’re so excited to be working with Tlaquepaque Market this year. Dick Adkins has really kept the spirit of community in this historic place, so it’s the perfect venue to investigate how Houston can better serve its people as it continues to grow.

For information, email j.gardosik@gmail.com or call 713-568-9208.

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About Better Block Houston
Founded in 2011, Better Block Houston promotes the value of walkability and community development through temporary street installations. The Better Block Project is an international movement with events in seven cities this year in Texas alone. More information can be found at http://betterblock.org.

About Tlaquepaque Market
Tlaquepaque Market is a historic shopping and community center in Houston’s Eastwood neighborhood. Located at 700 Telephone Road, the center hosts a variety of local businesses including Blue Line Bike Lab, Bohemeo’s Café and Thai restaurant Kanomwan.

 

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Structural Firm Haynes Whaley Joins Global Infrastructure Company Cardno

Enhances Domestic and International Capabilities in Public, Commercial and Institutional Markets

Houston, TX. (October 9, 2013) – Haynes Whaley Associates, a 93-person structural engineering firm, has merged with Cardno, an 8,000 person professional infrastructure and environmental services company with expertise in the development and improvement of physical and social infrastructure for communities around the world.

Larry E. Whaley, P.E., President and CEO of Haynes Whaley Associates, remarked, "Haynes Whaley Associates' focus has always been to provide our clients structural engineering expertise with the highest level of integrity. We are pleased to join Cardno, a company that shares our values and corporate culture and offers us the ability to continue to grow our business by expanding our services domestically and globally through their 290 offices worldwide."

Haynes Whaley, which will be known as Cardno Haynes Whaley, offers specialized structural engineering services for a broad range of commercial, public and institutional projects. Haynes Whaley has completed several prominent projects across the United States including The Menil Collection in Houston, Renzo Piano’s first project in the United States; Market Square in Washington, D.C.; Hobby Center for the Performing Arts in Houston; the Coronado Springs Resort at Disney World; the National Biodefense & Countermeasure Center at Fort Detrick, Maryland; and NASA’s Neutral Buoyancy Lab in Houston. Current projects include ExxonMobil’s new corporate campus in North Houston, The University of Texas Medical Branch Galveston Jennie Sealy Replacement Hospital, and the new downtown Houston Convention Center Hotel. 

Haynes Whaley works nationally, as well as internationally, with projects in 40 states, the District of Columbia, Africa, Caribbean, Malaysia, and Singapore.

Paul Gardiner, President of Cardno’s Americas Region commented, “We are pleased to have such a high caliber firm join us. They share our values of innovation, great people and partnering. With Haynes Whaley, we can now offer both of our client bases comprehensive development services from concept through construction. Their services complement our existing portfolio of offerings in the public, commercial and institutional arenas.”

Within the United States, Cardno provides infrastructure and environmental solutions for clients such as DR Horton, Costco, the Department of Defense, universities, federal penitentiaries, oil and gas entities, hospitals, municipalities and communities. Key land development projects include the Encore Development Site in Tampa, FL, Sun City Carolina Lakes Master Plan in Lancaster County, SC, Bayou Chico Brownfields Redevelopment in Pensacola, FL and AmberGlen Site Development and Management.

Following Cardno’s normal strategy, shareholders of Haynes Whaley Associates will become Cardno shareholders and remain active leaders in the company. Cardno Haynes Whaley will operate as part of Cardno’s Engineering and Environmental Services Division in the U.S.

About Haynes Whaley: Founded in Houston in 1976, and with offices in Reston, Virginia and Austin, Texas, Haynes Whaley Associates focuses on creative structural engineering solutions for a broad range of commercial, public, and institutional projects. The firm works nationally as well as internationally, with projects in 40 states, the District of Columbia, Africa, Caribbean, Malaysia, and Singapore. More information about Haynes Whaley Associates is available at www.hayneswhaley.com.

About Cardno: Cardno is a professional infrastructure and environmental services company, with expertise in the development and improvement of physical and social infrastructure for communities around the world. Cardno’s team includes leading professionals who plan, design, manage and deliver sustainable projects and community programs. Ranked at #26 on Engineering News Record’s 2013 Top 500 Design Firms List, Cardno provides clients with access to more than 8,000 professionals in over 290 locations focusing on delivering tailored solutions to address social, physical and economic business needs.

Founded in 1945 in Brisbane, Australia, Cardno is an international company listed on the Australian Securities Exchange [ASX: CDD]. To learn more, visit www.cardno.com.
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ULI Houston is pleased to share news about our Members and important events from our Sponsors. Please send your announcement to: Houston@ULI.org

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The Houston Chronicle reported on a Midtown project aiming to tap into Gen Y preferences for urban, transit-oriented lifestyles. ULI Senior Resident Fellow, Maureen McAvey says millennials don't mind living in smaller spaces, because "they think of the city as their living room." Read the full article here.

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The first ULI Houston program of the new fiscal year, "The Suburban Land Rush," brought a full house to the Junior League. Among the 330 attendees were news reporters from the Houston Chronicle, the Houston Business Journal, and the Realty News Report.

To read Erin Mulvaney's article in the Houston Chronicle, click here.

And to read Shaina Zucker's Houston Business Journal blog post, click here.

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A new report published by the Urban Land Institute’s (ULI) Greenprint Center for Building Performance in Washington suggests that the global real estate industry continues to make progress in improving the environmental performance of existing buildings.  To read the full press release and access the 4th annual report, click here.

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In an Opinion column for Urban Land, former secretaries of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development Henry Cisneros and Mel Martinez say that America's housing finance system is fundamentally broken and in desperate need of repair. Read more at Urban Land.

ULI is sometimes called "the big tent" because we convene people from every discipline that makes a city work--developers, investors, planners, public officials, designers, scholars, and more. We are interested in presenting a diversity of views and voices, and welcome comment, even polite disagreement, from ULI Members on the issues that interest you.

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“The Woodlands is an attractive new town that successfully integrates all the necessary elements of a vibrant, healthy community: a diversity of housing types; employment centers; a town center; a research park; and cultural, educational, medical, and recreational facilities. Its success is directly attributed to the vision, courage, and financial commitment of its developer.”

Official Jury Statement on The Woodlands, 1994 ULI Awards for Excellence, New Community Category
 

While researching a commentary The Houston Chronicle requested from ULI Houston on George Mitchell as a visionary developer, it was gratifying to see how ULI has encouraged the development of "Healthy Places" for many decades.

To read the commentary published on Sunday, August 3 in the Houston Chronicle Opinion section, click here.

And, to view a short clip from a video tribute to longtime president of The Woodlands, Roger Galatas, in which he remembers George Mitchell, click here.

For more on the subject, read the ULI book, "The Woodlands, the inside story of creating a better hometown" by ULI Houston founding leader Roger Galatas with Jim Barlow. Click here to visit the ULI Bookstore.

George Mitchell leaves a wonderful legacy in The Woodlands and the historic areas of The Strand in Galveston and the Hotel Galvez, in addition to so many other visionary business and philanthropic endeavors. It is good to be reminded that building healthier, more environmentally responsible communities and advocating the importance of historic preservation are not fads or a new idea at The Urban Land Institute, as well.

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We are proud that immediate past ULI Houston Chair, and current ULI Trustee Jonathan Brinsden, President and CEO of Midway, and past ULI Houston chair Ed Wulfe, CEO of Wulfe & Co.s, have accepted Mayor Annise Parker's invitation to serve on a task force led by Fred Griffin of Griffin Partners and reporting to Andy Icken, Chief Development Officer for the Mayor. The Mayor's Task Force is charged with "aggressively seeking all options to increase the amount of retail and supporting parking in downtown," according to a press release from the Office of the Mayor.

The task force will work in cooperation with the Downtown Management District, whose President, Bob Eury, also is a long-standing ULI Member. Fellow Task Force member Marvy Finger was honored with a ULI Houston Development of Distinction Award in 2010 for One Park Place, and Brinsden and Wulfe each won Development of Distinction Awards in 2012, for CITYCENTRE and Gulfgate Center, respectively.

ULI relies heavily on the experience of its members, who commit to "observe the highest standards of integrity, proficiency, and honesty in my professional and personal dealings." The Institute has long been recognized as one of the world’s most respected and widely quoted sources of objective information on urban planning, growth, and development. 

We applaud all ULI Houston members who generously volunteer their wealth of knowledge to create better places in our hometown.

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Cities with the Highest Rent Spikes in 2012-Fortune Magazine

Still renting?  With apartments and rental homes in short supply, rents are rising quickly here in Houston.  According to David Jarvis, Houston Director, Metrostudy, “This is bad news for renters, but good news for apartment owners and operators.  Secondarily this is also good news for our home builders who market to renters.”

Read the full article from Fortune Magazine here.

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Did you miss the Luncheon on October 11th? See what you missed!

No matter which party wins in November, Houston will be on the leading edge of healthcare. Hear how these healthcare real estate leaders meet challenges of delivering medical care in a fast-moving environment with regulatory uncertainty and ever-changing technology.

Marshall Heins - Memorial Hermann Healthcare System
Lisa Helfman - Texas Children's Hospital
Tanner McGraw - Marcus & Millichap
Nick Ro - Kelsey-Seybold Clinic

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Dear Houston Real Estate Leader,

I am looking forward to seeing you at the largest annual forecast for ULI and the Real Estate Center at Texas A&M, the morning of Nov. 1 at the Westin Galleria, Houston.

As a past conference sponsor, I’ve found special value in the exclusive VIP sponsor briefing before the conference opens to the public. This unique opportunity delivers candid, unscripted discussion with program headliners—this year, Gary Maler, Director of the Real Estate Center at Texas A&M, and Steve Murdock, PhD., Director of the Hobby Center for the Study of Texas at Rice University, will pose the tough questions and challenge our assumptions.

The conference continues with presentations and a roundtable discussion with top people in real estate explaining how they stay ahead of the curve. The program concludes with a keynote luncheon.

Paul Murphy, CEO of Cadence Bank, will give the opening address. Industry veterans, Murry Bowden, with The Hanover Company, Jim Casey, with Trammell Crow Company, Brad Freels, with Midway, John Mooz, with Hines, and Tom Murray, with Toll Bros., will share with moderator Tom Fish of Jones Lang LaSalle Capital Markets Group how they’re anticipating and adjusting to changes in their respective real estate sectors. Peter Rummell, ULI Global Chair, and former Chairman of Walt Disney Imagineering as well as former CEO of the St. Joe Company, will deliver the keynote address.

As a Texas A&M Mays Business student’s Dad, I also appreciate a distinct feature of this program. Each year, ULI and Texas A&M professors pair Aggie graduate real estate students with a “Mentor for a Day.” To be a Mentor, you simply invite a promising young person to share lunch at your table. A small thing for you, but an incredible learning opportunity for them.

I urge you to step up! Sponsor the conference on behalf of your company. Commit to be a mentor for a day to one of our future industry leaders. You’ll be very glad you did.

Sincerely,

Reid C. Wilson
Managing Shareholder
Wilson, Cribbs & Goren
ULI Houston Governance Committee
Former Chair, ULI Houston
                                                                                                               

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With a sold out crowd of real estate professionals that have a commitment to our future leaders, ULI was able to provide $10,000 in scholarships for the 2nd year in a row to the University of Houston Graduate Real Estate Program. Please join us in congratulating our tournament winners.

Sporting Clays Team Tournament Winners:

  1. Wylie Consulting Engineers
  2. Old Republic Title
  3. Rogers Moore Engineering

Sporting Clays Team Flurry Winners:

  1. Balfour Beatty Construction
  2. Rogers Moore Engineering
  3. Wylie Consulting Engineers

Sporting Clays Top Gun Shooter:

  1. Troy Malish - Moody National Companies

Thank you again to our Presenting Sponsor:

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Shown here is Joel Ambre , LEED Green Associate, Director of Development, Skanska USA Commercial Development, speaking at the ULI Houston August luncheon.

Where's the low-hanging fruit? If you pay a premium for a more sustainable building design, technology or development approach, what's an acceptable pay-back period? Is there an energy-saving or more environmentally friendly technology you considered in the past, opted not to use it then, but are using it now, either because technology has improved, or more performance data has validated the decision?

Questions like these kept more than 230 attendees in their seats and listening to stories from those who have "Been there. Done that." with sustainable development:

Moderator: Kathleen English, AIA, LEED AP, Principal, English + Associates
Joel Ambre , LEED Green Associate, Director of Development, Skanska USA Commercial Development
David DeVos, AIA, LEED AP, Global Sustainability Officer, Prudential Real Estate Investors
Mike Talbott , Director, Harris County Flood Control District

Joel Ambre with Skanska said technology can do a lot, but capturing the biggest reductions in energy use still requires people to change behavior.

Turn off that computer in the evening. Consider whether the thermostat really needs to be set on "deep freeze" in mid-August, or whether merely icy cold will do.

PREI's David DeVos agreed. 'You can't just deliver a LEED-certified building and sit on your hands. That property has to be managed and operated properly, too."

Although the $56 million in value generated by Prudential Real Estate Investors' sustainable initiatives amounts to essentially a rounding error in its massive portfolio, DeVos said a modest 2% gain in value through strategies like renting out roof space on self-storage facilities and industrial buildings for solar installations, and retaining happy tenants who extend leases in more sustainable surroundings, "would add $1 billion a year to the bottom line."

Companies that require trust from communities, regulators and business partners in order to operate need to send "signals of responsibility" to gain and maintain trust. Operating in an environmentally sustainable way, in addition to excellent governance and a sterling social track record sends signals that heighten trust.

Mike Talbott said investments in greener storm water management can also create quality of life benefits. "We may only need an area to flood one or two days a year, and the rest of the year it can provide benefit to the community, health and wellness, by incorporating trails and parks."

Watch video of these presentations and Q&A with moderator Kathleen English and ULI members online now

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We are watching with interest to see what Midway makes of three big city blocks in downtown, which are now known as The Pavilions. Whatever changes Midway brings, we imagine the task at hand can't be as daunting as transforming a moribund traditional shopping mall into CITYCENTRE, one of the liveliest, most walkable activity magnets in Houston. Midway tackled that feat during the worst economic downturn in decades.

For  video of Development of Distinction Award-winning CITYCENTRE, click here

Riding a stronger economy, Midway now packs a track record of having created a hipster mecca that shifted the geographic center of sprawling Houston.  We wish them well with their new acquisition, because The Pavilions can play a key role in continuing downtown's evolution from a nine-to-five business center into a vibrant, livable beehive of 24/7 energy. And that could also bring a brighter smile to the face Houston shows the world--or at least that part of the world arriving on downtown's doorstep, whether they are coming to do business in an office tower, or before the bench in one of the court houses, as convention-goers at the George R. Brown, or just making day trip to enjoy the vibe at Discovery Green.

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Missed the luncheon? Click HERE to view Tony Salazar's presentation from the June Luncheon: Urban Innovation Toolkit - Houston's Historic Third Ward

Click HERE to watch the podcast.

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Ed Wulfe and Elise Weatherall, both founding members of Wulfe & Co., shared their philosophy with ULI Young Leaders on using a multi-phase approach for the completion of BLVD Place as well as provided an update on current and pipeline projects for the prestigious Galleria area development.  BLVD Place Phase I was completed in 2009 and will account for just one-tenth of the final proposed build-out of the 21-acre site.

To see more about BLVD Place click here

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Urban Land Institute’s Executive VP Maureen McAvey presented the newly released book “What’s Next? Real Estate in the New Economy” to a full crowd at Dynamo’s new BBVA Compass Stadium in downtown Houston.  Maureen highlighted the US outlook on the economy, categorizing it in six groups: Work, Live, Connect, Renew, Move and Invest.
A group of panelists moderated by Jonathan Brinsden, ULI Houston Chair discussed Houston’s present and future outlook. The panel included: Ed Wulfe, Wulfe & Co.; Tim Williamson, Cadence Bank; Reid Wilson, Wilson Cribbs & Goren PC; John Landrum, MHP Investors; Jim Noteware, Noteware Development.
Attendees walked away with a free copy of Ms. McAvey’s book and fresh perspective on where the economy is headed. 
To order a copy of the book, click here

To view the podcast and event photos, click here

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The 2012 ULI Spring Meeting, an exclusive member conference, brought members together, top decision-makers and industry experts from every sector of real estate. To connect to key presentations and details about this year’s conference in Charlotte, NC, click here.

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Twenty-five Young Leader Group members received the VIP treatment as they enjoyed a hard hat behind-the-scenes tour of Ashton Rice Village. The Hanover Company hosted tour and discussed the latest happenings at this exciting 379-unit, multi-family development in the heart of Rice Village.
To learn more about the Young Leaders Group, click here

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WASHINGTON— A joint team of students representing the University of Colorado and Harvard University has won the $50,000 top prize in the 2012 Urban Land Institute (ULI)/Gerald D. Hines Student Urban Design Competition with a long-term redevelopment plan for a new downtown Houston district that includes public open space, integrates into the existing fabric of the surrounding neighborhoods, and brings residential units into the city’s core.
The joint team edged out teams from University of California-Berkeley, Columbia University, and the University of Michigan in the final round of the competition, held April 6 in Houston. The three finalist teams split $30,000 in prize funds. The competition was created in 2003 to encourage cooperation and teamwork–necessary talents in the planning, design and development of sustainable communities–among future land use professionals and allied professions, such as architecture, landscape architecture, urban planning, historic preservation, engineering, real estate development, finance, psychology and law. World-renowned real estate developer Gerald D. Hines, chairman and owner of the Hines real estate organization, established the competition and has funded it in perpetuity with a $3 million endowment. He attended the final round and the announcement of the winner.
Read more here

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Looking at our weekly activity report from Facebook, I see the number of "friends of fans" is 67,799.

That means if we connected with all the friends of people who have "liked" our ULI Houston Facebook page, we would have reached 67,799 PEOPLE. That's pretty astounding when you realize ULI Houston has about 140 Facebook friends--and we appreciate and cherish each and every one. 

You 140 friends of ULI have incredible potential impact.

In fact, that exceeds the approximately 50,000 people who attended ULI District Council programs in the 51 District Councils across the US, Canada and Mexico since July 1. Which is an impressive reach for ULI District Councils (without counting people who attend the big Fall and Spring national ULI meetings).

Small wonder then, when social networks get exercised about some issue, whether it is child soldiers victimized by African civil war, or companies advertising on Rush Limbaugh's radio program, they spark immediate action. 

Two years ago, we saw this locally. News of a potential real estate project leaked over a hot, sleepy July 4th weekend. Before Tuesday morning, a Facebook group opposing the project had formed and had over 2,000 "Friends."

Likewise, when someone really, REALLY likes something, it spreads like wildfire. I certainly had no idea what a slow loris was until my daughter mentioned it--yes, on my Facebook page. And when I (of course) Googled it, I went to a You Tube video that had been viewed 4,317,749 times.

They used to say when you lived in a small town, everybody knows your business. Social media can quickly turn the whole world into a small town.

So, all of you Fans of ULI Houston, we'd love to meet more of our neighbors in this small town. Please help us meet more friends of friends. And follow us, if you haven't already. We'd love for you to invite them to join the conversation, although we probably couldn't handle all 67,799 of you at once.

http://www.facebook.com/ULIHouston

www.twitter.com/ULIHouston

Ann Taylor, ULI Houston Executive Director

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Held on April 4th at the Sugar Land Marriott Town Square, “Fast Forward: Developing Dynamic Communities” was well attended by top Houston area real estate executives.  Panel speakers covered topics ranging from Houston population growth, water supply, top communities in the area and the state of the economy. 

Check out the podcast, photos and presentation here.

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Evolving Uptown - This luncheon focused on the Uptown area and how it has kept up its vibrant and lively feel, followed by a panel discussion on exciting new projects ahead.
Featured speakers included: Kevin Batchelor, Hines; Patty Bender, Weingarten Realty Investors; John Breeding, Uptown Houston District; Steven Lerner, The Redstone Companies; Adil Noorani, Hines.

To view the podcast, click here

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WASHINGTON– Graduate-level student teams representing the University of California-Berkeley, Columbia University, the University of Michigan, a joint team from the University of Colorado and Harvard University have been selected as finalists for the tenth annual Urban Land Institute (ULI) Gerald D. Hines Student Urban Design Competition. This year’s finalists were charged with proposing a long-term vision for creating a distinct identity for Houston’s old US Post Office site near downtown.

A grand prize of $50,000 will be awarded to the winning team; and each of the remaining three finalist teams will receive $10,000. This year, applications were submitted from 139 teams representing 64 universities in the United States and Canada, with 695 students participating in total.
Click here to see the full ULI press release, Culture Map article, and KUHF radio story.

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Urban Land Institute’s Houston District Council hosted its annual Development of Distinction Awards at the Rice Crystal Ballroom. Winners named during the sold-out event were CITYCENTRE, Gulfgate Center and Mandolin Gardens Park.

To view press coverage and more about the event, click here.

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ULI exists for you, our members, and the larger community we serve. This is your web site, and we encourage you to make it your own.

Use the “Ask Anything” box any time you are seeking information or want to make a suggestion.

Contribute your opinion pieces or educational articles to this blog—we would be delighted to publish work by our members that will inform our wider community about issues of concern. We are especially interested in material that invites further investigation, creates opportunities to collaborate, challenges conventional wisdom, or invites us to see a familiar landscape with new eyes.

The shared wisdom and experience of you, our members, is what makes ULI unique. Will engaging in ULI as an active member give you connections and tools to be more successful, to make bigger and better deals? Yes. But in addition, being a ULI member brings the responsibility of leadership. Are you up for the challenge of being a leader? Are you ready to be a person of influence, or to maximize your influence by joining with others who share your interest?

Then ULI is right for you.

We’re looking forward to what’s next.

 

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