2018 Development of Distinction Awards – Press Release

2018 Development of Distinction Awards – Press Release

Sawyer Yards, The Headquarters, Avenida Houston, SEARCH/House of Tiny Treasures, and Levy Park earn top recognition by national jury


HOUSTON – January 30, 2018 – Houston’s most compelling and innovative real estate projects were recognized by the Houston District Council of the Urban Land Institute (ULI) at the annual Development of Distinction Awards presented by Winstead. Close to 300 guests gathered for the cocktail event at The Astorian which was emceed by KPRC Channel 2’s Khambrel Marshall.

The awards program is the centerpiece of ULI’s efforts to recognize developments and public open spaces that exemplify best practices in design, construction, economic viability, healthy places, marketing and management and is modeled after the national Urban Land Institute Global Awards for Excellence and Urban Open Space Awards.

In the For-Profit Category (large), the 2018 award went to Sawyer Yards, by The Deal Company, Western General, Lovett Commercial, and j5 Equities. Sawyer Yards is a creative campus spanning 40 plus acres of industrial wareh ouses near downtown, in Houston’s Historic First Ward neighborhood. Densely occupied by art studios, galleries, restaurants, unique fitness concepts, breweries and a public art plaza, this area has become an important local arts and entertainment destination. According to the national jury, the “artistic village is an interesting concept” with a culture that “rubbed off on the developers.” Furthermore, the layout that “unfolds as you go” was appealing and high marks were given for the emphasis on “taking care of an underserved community.”

In the For-Profit Category (small), the 2018 award went to Headquarters by Work by Headquarters, LLC. The Headquarters is a creative office development located in the East End and was designed to cater to the needs of small to medium-sized businesses looking for a dynamic and functional work environment with the perks of a corporate campus including on-site food and beverage, reception services and shared amenities like a community kitchen, lounges, conference rooms, and a courtyard. Per the national jury panel, there are “a lot of things happening here” with marked differences from other popular co-working space with outstanding “successful programming and design.”

Two projects were recognized In the Not-for-Profit category, including Avenida Houston by Houston First. The $175 million renovation of the George R. Brown Convention Center included the new Partnership Tower office building, a new 1,820-space garage, and a 97,000-square-foot pedestrian plaza in front of the convention center helping to transform Downtown Houston from a day-time only business center into a functioning urban hub, where cultural, sports and recreational venues contribute to a livable downtown and a notable national destination. According to the national jury, Avenida was “transformative with an “exclamation point”, emphasizing its “three-dimensional” capacity which is “full-time – day and night.”

The second award winner in the Not-for-Profit category was SEARCH Foshee Family House of Tiny Treasures by SEARCH Employment Services & Care Hub. The House of Tiny Treasures campus in the Third Ward provides developmentally focused child-care for pre-school age children while their parents, most of whom reside in shelters or other housing programs, attend classes and enter the workforce. The jury panel was inspired by the multi-dimension and “passion” of Tiny Treasures and further commented on the “welcoming,” “inspiring” spaces within the development.

In the Urban Open Space category, the 2018 award went to Levy Park by Upper Kirby Redevelopment Authority. Located in the Upper Kirby District, the six-acre Levy Park was transformed from a poorly maintained and underutilized park into a world-class, community-focused, mixed-use environment. The park features native landscaping and botanical experiences, one of a kind children’s play environment, a performance pavilion and event lawn, small/large dog parks, free Wi-Fi, and free year-round curated programming. According to the jury panel, Levy Park exhibits a “sense of community” with its “design rooms” within the park and diverse daytime programming.

In live event voting, the winner in the People’s Choice category went to Levy Park.

The 2018 Development of Distinction finalists were selected by a nomination panel of Houston real estate leaders that included Dan Gilbane, Gilbane Building Company; Drew Mengwasser, TBG Partners; Lisa Nickel, Genesis Collaborative; Greg Patch, LJA Engineers; Julie Peak, FirstSouthwest; and Jennifer Raymond, JPR Commercial Real Estate.

A jury of national real estate experts including Pamela Kraft, head of property, planning and development/engineering, construction and expansion for the Toronto Transit Commission in Ontario, Canada; Debra Stark, councilwoman at the City of Phoenix Council District 3 in Arizona; and Greg West, chief development officer for ZOM Living in Florida toured all finalists’ projects and selected the winners.

The following 2018 category finalists and honorable mentions were also recognized during the awards:

For-Profit (small): Dillon Kyle Architects’ Office, by Dillon Kyle Architects (finalist)
For Profit (large): River Oaks District, by JPMorgan Chase, OliverMcMillan (finalist)
Not-for-Profit: Carnegie Vanguard High School, by Houston Independent School District (finalist)
Houston Police Officer Memorial Guard Post and Visitor’s Entrance, by the City of Houston (honorable mention)
Urban Open Space: Broadway Corridor Redevelopment, by Scenic Houston and Hobby Area Management District (honorable mention)
Since 2008, nearly 70 projects and public spaces have been recognized as Development of Distinction finalists and winners.

Since 2008, nearly 70 projects and public spaces have been recognized as Development of Distinction finalists and winners.