ULI Houston News

2016 DoD Awards

Announcing Our 2016 Development of Distinction Award Finalists

The ULI Houston Development of Distinction Awards define the standard for excellence in the practice of real estate development in the Houston region. The Award recognizes developments and public open spaces that exemplify best practices in design, construction, economic viability, healthy places, marketing and management.



Cross Creek Ranch

Cross Creek Ranch creates an enduring community by prioritizing core values
associated with a sustainable environment, engaged people, vibrant culture,
endless learning and interconnectedness. Together, the result is a distinct
development that has experienced sustained and recognizable economic, social,
and environmental success within the Houston region and beyond.

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Heights Clock Tower  WINNER

Set in a century old industrial building, the Heights Clock Tower project transforms 23,000 square feet of previously neglected and unusable warehouse space into nine loft offices and one apartment. This newest project (completed in 2015) is
the latest of four phases of redevelopment which began in 2003, turning the complex as a whole into a lively mix of uses.

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JW Marriott Downtown 

The JW Marriott Houston Downtown is the JW Marriott brand’s first adaptive
reuse project in Texas and the second property in Houston. Housed in the
historic landmark Samuel F. Carter building, the hotel reflects Houston’s
vibrant arts community and its colorful culinary scene.


South-Heights Mixed-Use Development

A group of Houston Heights buildings on 2.2 acres in rapid decline have been reimagined into a pedestrian-friendly mixed-use district that capitalizes on the surrounding walk-able neighborhood, has thoughtful design, and brings together local restaurants and retail uses that complement the area.



G.T. Mickey Leland Federal Building

The decision to renovate rather than rebuild was based on General Services Administration’s commitment to sustainability as well as the desire to incur as little disruption as possible to existing tenants and the general public who utilize services in the building. The result is a modern, energy efficient building that maintained an 80% occupied condition during the entire construction period.



The KIPP CONNECT Houston project involves the adaptive reuse of an existing
hospital into a Pre-K3 through 12th Grade flagship campus. KIPP CONNECT Houston
has transformed a former eyesore into a flagship campus and become the catalyst for additional community improvement. The community now views the newest KIPP
school as a safe educational environment.

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TMCx is a space for brilliant minds to gather and innovate game-changing ideas and technological advances. A business accelerator, TMCx is located in the former Nabisco Cookie Factory in the Texas Medical Center, and provides 30,000 SF of space designed to catapult the development of early-stage companies.

Urban Open Space

The awards panel strongly felt that Open Space projects should be judged separately from traditional built structures. Our nominated projects included what is now our inaugural Urban Open Space nominee. Next year, it will be a permanent category for nominees.


Navigation Esplanade WINNER

The Navigation Esplanade is a three block long gathering and market place which is 44 feet wide located in the center of Navigation Boulevard. Inspired by Santana Row in San Jose California and La Rambla in Barcelona, Spain, the Esplanade is set up for two street cafés, seven kiosk retail outlets, forty vendor spaces for pop up tents and up to six food trucks. The Esplanade is also an ideal festival space for both large gatherings and smaller neighborhood gatherings.

Thank you to our Nominations Panel for their time and diligence in choosing our 2016 Development of Distinction Finalists.

  • Alan Arnold, Investment Director, Real Estate, Rice Management Company
  • Laurie Baker, Senior Vice President, Fund and Asset Management, Camden
  • Chip Clarke, President, Americas, Transwestern
  • Sheila Condon, President, Clark Condon Associates
  • Harry Masterson, Principal, Cernus Development and Chairman, Scenic Houston
  • Cassie Stinson, Shareholder, Business Group, BoyarMiller
  • Larry Whaley, President, Cardno Haynes Whaley and Board Vice President, Preservation Houston

Thank you to our international jury for their time, insight and thoughtful review of our finalists.


IMG_7287Anthony Abbate, AIA, NCARB
Associate Provost and Professor, School of Architecture, Florida Atlantic University
Boca Raton, Florida

Anthony Abbate, AIA, NCARB, joined the faculty in 1996. He is Professor at the School of Architecture and Associate Provost for the Broward Campuses of FAU. He served as director of the Broward Community Design Collaborative from 2006 to 2011 and was the US Chair of the 3rd International Subtropical Cities Conference. He teaches Materials and Methods of Construction, Architectural Design, Subtropical Architecture, and Architectural Detail Generation. A native of Fort Lauderdale, Florida, he received a Master of Architecture from Washington University in St. Louis and a Bachelor of Science degree in Architecture from The Catholic University of America.

His research examines historical and contemporary sustainable design and construction practices in the hot-humid climate zones of the tropics and subtropics at two scales: the macro/urban and the micro/detail. In connection with this line of inquiry, and in the context of the built environment of the contemporary city, the deeper unresolved tensions between globalization and regionalism are explored as they relate to local sense of place and regional sustainability.

He has traveled extensively, participating at conferences and lecturing at universities in Australia, Mexico, and Colombia. He has contributed to various proceedings of the Centre for Subtropical Design, the International Network for Tropical Architecture, and Association of Collegiate Schools of Architecture. He was featured in Smart City with Carol Coletta on National Public Radio and on Australia Talks Back with Paul Barclay on the Australian Broadcasting Corporation’s Radio National, and is on the editorial board of the Instituto de Arquitectura Tropical in San Jose, Costa Rica.

A registered architect and practicing professional in Florida and New York, he is certified by the National Council of Architectural Registration Boards (NCARB), accredited by the US Green Building Council in Leadership In Energy and Environmental Design, and has received over 20 awards for design excellence from the American Institute of Architects for architectural and urban design. He has consulted on projects in Florida, New York, the Caribbean and Colombia. He has published Subtropical Sustainable, a monograph of the architectural and urban design work of graduate level students; and the Broward County County-wide Community Design Guidebook.

He is serving an appointment to the City of Fort Lauderdale Beach Redevelopment Advisory Board. He served on the city’s first Sustainability Advisory Board, and chaired the city’s first Sustainability/Green Committee. He also currently serves on the Board of Directors of the Greater Fort Lauderdale Chamber of Commerce, and the Greater Fort Lauderdale Alliance. He is on the steering committee of Six Pillars Broward and co-chair of the Talent Supply and Education task force. He is a member of the Downtown Council and past chair of the Broward Cultural Council, the area’s central coordinating agency for the arts. Abbate served as Vice-Chair for State of Florida Department of Education Building Construction Advisory Committee, and past-president of the Fort Lauderdale Chapter of the American Institute of Architects. He has also served on the Board of Adjustment for the City of Fort Lauderdale and is on the board of directors of the Rotary Club of Fort Lauderdale.


Paul Bedford
Former Chief City Planner
Toronto, Canada

Paul Bedford is a Member and Fellow of the Canadian Institute of Planners with 45 years of experience in urban planning. As Toronto’s Chief City Planner for eight years, he championed numerous innovative planning strategies with Jane Jacobs for the King-Spadina and King-Parliament districts, a new City wide Official Plan and a principles plan for the Central Waterfront called “Making Waves” that was the basis for the creation of Waterfront Toronto.  He served eight Mayors over his 31 year career at the City of Toronto.

Since his retirement he was appointed Adjunct Professor of Urban and Regional Planning at the University of Toronto and Ryerson University. He serves on the National Capital Commission’s Advisory Committee on Planning, Design and Realty, the Waterfront Toronto Design Review Panel, the University of Toronto Design Review Panel, and is a Senior Associate of the Canadian Urban Institute. He is also a member of the Advisory Board of 8-80 Cities and the Ryerson City Building Institute.

He served two terms on the Metrolinx Board of Directors and was appointed as Vice Chair of the Ontario Transit Investment Strategy Advisory Panel. He is a passionate about Toronto and is actively involved in the life of the city.


C.Milestone.p.b&wCassie Wright
Project Manager
Urban Ventures, LLC
Denver, Colorado

Cassie Wright is the Project Manager for Urban Ventures, LLC, a real estate company that is dedicated to creating healthy, sustainable communities. In her position, Cassie works on all aspects of real estate development: from land acquisition to project construction.  She tests the financial feasibility of projects, actively participates in the site planning and design processes, develops marketing and sales related materials and closely interacts with project partners.

Additionally, Ms. Wright consults on real estate projects that focus on the relationship between the built environment and healthy living.  In this role, she researches and implements best practices and health-based programming to foster community development that promotes social cohesion and positive well-being.

Cassie holds a Master of City Planning degree from the University of Pennsylvania and a B.A. in Sociology/Anthropology from St. Olaf College.  She is a LEED Green Associate with ten years’ experience in urban planning, real estate development and environmental sustainability.  Ms. Wright thrives in collaborative environments that encourage individual creativity and team-inspired innovation.


Thank you to our sponsors for their support.

Presenting Sponsor:


Platinum Sponsor:

Gold Sponsor:


Additional Sponsors: 

Cardno Haynes Whaley
Henderson Rogers
Greater East End
Jones | Carter
New Hope Housing
RE:VIVE Development
Walter P Moore
Wells Fargo

Sponsorships are still available, please contact us or submit a Sponsorship Form


Past Award Honorees

Pennzoil Place, Finalist
Lee Davis Library, Winner
Braeburn Village, Winner
Hanover Rice Village, Finalist
Towne Lake Master Plan, Finalist
Bethel Church Park, Winner
New Hope Housing at Rittenhouse, Winner
Bagby Street Reconstruction, Finalist
Monarch Institute, Finalist

The Woodlands Master Plan, Vision Award for
Exemplary Leadership
BBVA Compass Stadium, Finalist
BG Group Place, Winner
Historic Fire Station 6, Winner
James Berry Elementary School, Winner
Don Sanders Adoption Center, Friends for Life,
(Finalist & People’s Choice)

Fulton Gardens, Finalist
H-E-B Montrose Market, Winner (Jury & People’s Choice)
Houston Food Bank, Winner
Julia Ideson Building, Winner
Kirby Drive Streetscape, Finalist
Parks Department Headquarters, Winner
Sugar Land Town Square, Finalist
Villa del Prado, Finalist

Gulfgate Center, Winner
Mandolin Gardens Park, Winner
Market Square Park, Finalist
Tellepsen Family YMCA, Finalist
Harris County 1910 Courthouse, Finalist
Wortham Theater Center, Finalist

BP Helios Plaza, Finalist
Capitol Oaks, Winner
Children’s Museum of Houston Expansion, Winner
Greenway Plaza, Winner
Houston Museum of Natural Science at Sugar Land, Finalist
Monarch School’s Chrysalis Building, Finalist
New Hope Housing at Brays Crossing, Winner**

Clayton Library for Genealogical Research, Finalist
High Fashion Home—3100 Travis, Finalist
Hermann Park Lake Plaza, Winner
New Living Green Building + Home Store, Finalist
One Park Place, Winner
SYSCO Corporate Headquarters, Finalist
Williams Tower, Winner

13 Celsius / 3000 Caroline, Honorable Mention (Jury Award)
Canal Street Apartments / New Hope Housing, Winner*
Discovery Green, Winner*
Raymond and Susan Brochstein Pavilion at Rice University, Finalist*
School of Nursing and Community Center,
UT Health Science Center at Houston, Finalist
Westway Park, Finalist

Christ Church Cathedral Mixed-Use Project, Winner
Market Street The Woodlands, Finalist
Minute Maid Park, Finalist
Sabine Promenade, Winner*

*ULI Global Awards for Excellence Award Finalist
**ULI Global Awards for Excellence Award Winner


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