VOTE TODAY! 2023 Development of Distinction Awards - PEOPLE'S CHOICE
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Houston Farmers Market, John S. Dunn Behavioral Science Center, James Driver Inclusive Park, Montrose Collective, The Plant at Harrisburg earn top recognition by national jury. James Driver Park earns the People’s Choice Award
HOUSTON – February 7, 2023 – Houston’s most compelling and innovative real estate projects were recognized by the Houston District Council of the Urban Land Institute (ULI) at the 16th annual Development of Distinction Awards presented by Wilson, Cribbs + Goren.
Close to 300 guests gathered for ULI Houston’s centerpiece awards program at Armadillo Palace, which recognizes developments and public open spaces that exemplify best practices in design, construction, economic viability, healthy places, marketing, and management. The program is modeled after the national Urban Land Institute Global Awards for Excellence.
In the For-Profit Category (large*), the 2023 award went to Montrose Collective. Montrose Collective is a dynamic, mixed-use project spanning two new commercial buildings and two remodeled buildings on two city blocks in the Montrose area of Houston, Texas. Montrose Collective was created to engage the neighborhood with a porous, walkable project that elevates Houston’s office, retail and restaurant experience while authentically reflecting the vibrancy of the Montrose community. The project blurs the distinction between the public and the private realm with expansive sidewalks, activated restaurant patios, a new home for the Montrose public library, and a 1-acre public garden room.
In the For-Profit Category (small**), the 2023 award went to The Plant at Harrisburg. The Plant is a model for urban impact, community wealth and transit-oriented development. Approximately 84% of the businesses located at The Plant are run by minority, women-owned control partners, or entrepreneurs living within a quarter mile of the project. What was previously a 1940s-era warehouse and factory has been transformed into a neighborhood-centric mixed-use development that embraces all five modes of transportation to address the community’s most pressing needs via intentional and purposeful placemaking.
In the Not-for-Profit Category the 2023 award went to John S. Dunn Behavioral Science Center A statewide shortage of mental health professionals and patient beds can make it difficult for Texans with behavioral health disorders to get the support they need. The new UTHealth Behavioral Sciences Center aims to change that by bringing behavioral health care close to home, reducing the stigma of treatment, and empowering patients across a wide spectrum of mental health needs. Each space is designed to naturally aid appropriate and beneficial interactions between patients and staff. To that end, residential units are situated around a central living area, promoting engagement amongst residents. Additional amenities include a therapy mall, activity room, and a communal dining area with views onto an internal courtyard, and an external courtyard leading to a large, tree-filled area.
In the Open Space Category, the 2023 award went to James Driver Inclusive Park. James Driver Park, a 29-acre park located in northeast Houston along US Highway 59, is home to the newest premier greenspace in the region. Located in an underserved part of Harris County, the improvements added to James Driver Park should also help to revitalize the surrounding community and serve as a destination for visitors. James Driver Park was built to provide all people with a place to go regardless of their physical and mental condition and sense of belonging. It is a place that is truly made for the public, regardless of ability, age, or economic status. The laughter, joyful screams, and smiles that the park has produced since opening are the true measurement of the success of this park.
This year our judges selected one finalist to receive what they have named the Renewal Award. As ULI Houston does every year, judges were given leeway to award finalists as they deemed appropriate. The judges felt the Houston Farmers Market did a great job reinvigorating an institutional destination in Houston. Not only breathing new life into the project, but keeping the history and community within the project alive.
Houston Farmers Market is the oldest, largest, and only daily farmers market in Houston. Established in 1942, the market is iconic, positively impacting the community for more than 80 years. The 17.67-acre site was purchased in 2017 by MLB Capital Partners from the descendants of the original farmers who created the market. The development and construction team had a weighty goal — to revitalize the market while maintaining the culture synonymous with the original space. The result? An upgraded site with vendor, retail and restaurant space, improved walkability and expanded green space featuring an event lawn, dining courtyard and patio.
James Driver Park won the People’s Choice award, garnering the most votes on ULI’s online survey.
Finalists were selected by a nomination panel of Houston real estate leaders that included: Lawrence Dean, Senior Vice President – Homebuilder Lender – Veritex Community Bank; Rachel Koehring, Director of Marketing – Goree; Kristina Malek, Landscape Architect & Shareholder– Kimley-Horn and Associates, Inc.; Abbey Roberson, Vice President of Planning – Texas Medical Center and Jay Tatum, Regional Principal – HOK.
A jury of national real estate experts evaluated all finalists’ projects in November 2022, to select the 2023 Development of Distinction winners. Our jury this year was: Kim Abreu with US Bank in Miami, Suleman Gajere with WS Development in Boston, and David Haltom with Patrinely in Denver.
The following 2023 category finalists were also recognized during the awards:
Railway Heights Market – 8200 Washington Purchase and Company of Nomads
The Center for Pursuit Campus – The Center for Pursuit
Avenue Center– Avenue Community Development Corporation
East Aldine District Office & Town Center Park – East Aldine Management District
The Park at JP Morgan Chase – Hines
Woodchase Park – Westchase District
Since 2008, over 125 projects and public spaces have been recognized as Development of Distinction finalists and winners. See a full list of former honorees.