ULI News

Urban Land Institute Honors Signature Real Estate Developments with its
2013 Development of Distinction Awards

H-E-B, Houston Food Bank, and City of Houston Projects Receive Top Honors

HOUSTON – January 30, 2013 – The Houston District Council of the Urban Land Institute (ULI) presented its 2013 Development of Distinction Awards at the Rice Crystal Ballroom on January 29, 2013.

The Development of Distinction awards program is the centerpiece of ULI’s efforts to identify and promote best practices in all types of real estate development. The Houston award is modeled on the ULI Awards for Excellence global competition, which has been recognizing best practices in real estate development for more than 30 years.

The winner in the For-Profit Category was H-E-B Montrose Market, by H-E-B Grocery Company. H-E-B was also selected “People’s Choice” in a vote by ULI members and supporters, the first time a popular vote has been tabulated in the six years of the awards. H-E-B Montrose Market located at 1701 W. Alabama is the first LEED certified H-E-B. It is also the first of the chain’s stores to include an outside patio with seating for 160 and a stage for movies and live music. Another unique feature of this H-E-B location is the use of natural light to illuminate the store. In fact, no artificial light is used during daylight hours. H-E-B engaged the neighborhood for input on architecture, landscaping, noise, traffic flow and lighting, allowed the public to choose between three proposed designs, and saved a number of large oaks on site. The design team included Lake Flato Architects and Selser Schaefer Architects (architects), Bury+Partners (civil engineers), SCA Consulting Engineers (structural engineers), and McDugald Steele Landscape Architects (landscape architects). See H-E-B from Urban Land Institute on vimeo.


The winner in the Non-Profit Category was Houston Food Bank, by Houston Food Bank. To meet the growing issue of hunger and expand its distribution capacity over three-fold, the Houston Food Bank (HFB) renovated a neglected, thirty year old, “tilt-up” warehouse. The renovation was completed in October 2011. The 308,000 square-foot facility located at 535 Portwall Street is the nation’s largest capacity Feeding America food bank and source of food for hunger relief charities in 18 Southeast Texas counties. The design team included RdlR Architects (architects), Tellepsen Builders (general contractors), Landtech Consultants, Inc. (civil engineers), Ingenium, Inc. (structural engineers), and Asakura Robinson Company LLC (landscape architects). See Houston Food Bank from Urban Land Institute on vimeo.

The honors in the Heritage Category went to both the Julia Ideson Building, by City of Houston – Houston Public Library, and the Parks Department Headquarters, by City of Houston Parks Department. The Julia Ideson Building located at 500 McKinney is a recorded Texas Historical Landmark, a City of Houston Protected Landmark, a Texas State Archaeological Landmark and a landmark listed in the National Register of Historic Places. The building re-opened to the public on December 5, 2011 and since that time, it has received an outpouring of public acclaim and has been the site of numerous public and private events. Once again, it fulfills its role as a grand public building devoted to the community-at-large. The design team included Gensler (architects), Spaw Maxwell/Balfour Beatty Construction (general contractors), Ward, Getz & Associates, LLP (civil engineers), Haynes Whaley Associates, Inc. (structural engineers), and TBG Partners (landscape architects). See Julia Ideson Building from Urban Land Institute on vimeo.

The Parks Department Headquarters Building, or Gragg building at 2999 Wayside, served as the first National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) headquarters in Houston from 1962-1964, has achieved a LEED gold certification and is also listed on local, state and national historic registries. The renovation of this significant landmark and its continuing use as a highly functional office environment landed this building in several publications including Texas Architect, National Recreation and Parks Association Magazine, Cite Magazine, and Yellow Magazine. It has also won several awards including GHP Good Brick Awards, Houston MOD Awards, and Texas Construction Magazine Award of Excellence. The design team included HarrisonKornberg (architects), Infrastructure Associates (civil engineers), Concept Engineers (structural engineers), and Asakura Robinson Company (landscape architects), and Gilbane (general contractor). See Parks Department Headquarters Building from Urban Land Institute on vimeo.

“The ULI Development of Distinction Award is unique because it recognizes the complete real estate project, from design to management to market success,” said Greg Erwin, firm-wide head of the Real Estate Development and Investments Practice Group for Winstead attorneys, and ULI Houston chair. “As an award-winner, these developments make a positive impact on their surroundings, the larger community, and serve as premier examples of projects utilizing best practices.”

A jury of independent experts toured each finalist and they alone selected the winners. This year’s jury: Mr.  Ronald A. Altoon, FAIA, Founding Design Partner, Altoon Partners, a 27-year old global practice, with offices in Los Angeles, Amsterdam, and Shanghai; Ms. Catherine Sloss Jones, president and CEO of Sloss Real Estate, a multi-disciplined commercial real estate firm in Birmingham, Alabama; and Ms. Jess Zimbabwe, Executive Director of the Urban Land Institute’s Daniel Rose Center for Public Leadership, in Washington, DC. See interviews with the judges on vimeo.

A prestigious nominations panel of real estate leaders was assembled by the 2013 ULI Houston Development of Distinction awards committee to select finalists. The nominations panel included: Ric Campo, CEO and Chairman, Camden; Sheila Condon, Partner, Clark Condon Associates; Robert M. Eury, President, Central Houston, Inc.; Lance Gilliam, Managing Partner, UCR moodyrambin PAGE; W. Douglas Goff, COO, The Johnson Development Corp.; Doyle A. Graham, Jr., President and CEO, Valencia Group; Jeff Ross, President and CEO, Houston Botanic Garden.

ULI also honored these 2013 finalists and honorable mentions:

In the For-Profit category – Sugar Land Town Square, Planned Community Developers Ltd.; Villa Del Prado, Midway.

In the Non-Profit category – Fulton Gardens, Avenue CDC; Kirby Streetscape Improvement Project, Upper Kirby District

Honorable mention – 1011 McGowen-Mongoose versus Cobra, by INFILL Planning & Development;
Jane Cizik Garden Place, by The Women’s Home


About the Urban Land Institute

The Urban Land Institute (www.uli.org) is a global nonprofit education and research institute supported by its members. Its mission is to provide leadership in the responsible use of land and in creating and sustaining thriving communities worldwide. Established in 1936, the Institute has about 30,000 members representing the entire spectrum of real estate development and land use discipline. For more information about ULI Houston, visit ww.houston.uli.org.