ULI Houston News

2012 Award Winners Released!

The Houston District Council of the Urban Land Institute (ULI) presented its 2012 Development of Distinction Awards at a sold-out awards event at the Rice Crystal Ballroom last night.


Winners, in the For-Profit Category:

CITYCENTRE, developed by Midway Companies

The award jury found it remarkable that this mixed use, town center-style development was delivered all in one piece. “The patient investment strategy allowed time to really have it all together before opening.”

“There was evident care given to the little details like street trees, signage and benches. Thoughtful streetscape design and public space make CityCentre feel like it has been here a long time. The architecture creates an understated canvas for the life and activity that goes on in the middle of it.”

Gulfgate Center, developed by Wulfe & Co.

In giving the award to Gulfgate Center, the jury praised the public and private partnership, saying, “It changed the neighborhood around it and that was its purpose. It takes tremendous courage for a developer to go outside the easy path. Taking a gamble on reversing a neighborhood in decline, this project helped bring an entire area back from the brink.”

Winner, in the Not-for-Profit Category:

Mandolin Gardens Park, developed by Harris County Municipal Utility District No. 230

Mandolin Gardens Park was commended by jurors as “a template for how to work with a Municipal Utility District.” The improvement over an unsightly drainage ditch and storm water retention pond, “gives an uplift in value to 18- to 20-year-old homes in a mature neighborhood. It shows a different way to see utilitarian drainage features as a whole new park system.”

Mandolin Gardens from Urban Land Institute on Vimeo.


A jury of independent experts toured each finalist and they alone selected the winners. This year’s jury: Mike Davis, Founder, CEO and Director of Design – The DAVIS Experience, Phoenix, Arizona; Alexander Garvin, President and CEO – AGA Public Realm Strategists, Inc., New York, Adjunct Professor of Urban Planning and Management – Yale University; and Anthony J. Trella, President – The Meranth Company, Deerfield Beach, Florida.

A prestigious nominations panel of real estate leaders was assembled by the 2012 ULI Houston Development of Distinction awards committee to select finalists. The nominations panel included:

Ric Guenther, Managing Director, Patrinely Group, LLC; Jeff Hollinden, Senior Managing Director – HFF; Joy Horak-Brown, Executive Director – New Hope Housing, Inc.; Les Newton, President – Planned Community Developers; James Noteware, former Director – City of Houston Housing and Community Development Department; Patricia Oliver, Dean of the Gerald D. Hines College of Architecture – University of Houston; and Cynthia Rogers, Executive Vice President of National Construction Means-Knauss Partners, LP.

2011 Houston ULI Award-winner Brays Crossing by New Hope Housing went on to win an ULI Americas Award for Excellence, earning it recognition as one of the best developments of its type in Canada, the US, and Latin America. Discovery Green and Brochstein Pavilion, both local ULI Award honorees, were also finalists for the national 2011 ULI Amanda Burden Open Space Award.

“The ULI Development of Distinction Award sets a high bar,” said Greg Erwin, firm-wide head of the Real Estate Development and Investments Practice Group for Winstead attorneys, and ULI Houston officer.  “It is not enough to be a great single project.  This award honors developments that make a positive impact on their surroundings and their larger communities.  Our aim is to encourage more developers to imitate these best practices.”

ULI Houston also honored 2012 finalists and honorable mention projects:

In the Not-for-Profit category: Market Square Park, developed by Houston Downtown Management District: and Tellepsen Family YMCA, developed by YMCA of Greater Houston.

In the Heritage category: Harris County 1910 Courthouse, owned by Harris County; and Wortham Theater Center, owned by City of Houston.

Honorable Mention: Lee & Joe Jamail Skatepark, developed by Houston Parks Board; and Houston Permitting Center, developed by City of Houston.

Market Square Park from Urban Land Institute on Vimeo.

YMCA from Urban Land Institute on Vimeo.

1910 Courthouse from Urban Land Institute on Vimeo.

Wortham Theater Center from Urban Land Institute on Vimeo.

About the Urban Land Institute

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

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