Bank of America Tower, Jones on Main, Main & Co, Midtown Park, New Hope Housing and Star of Hope’s Cornerstone Community®, earn top recognition by national jury Midtown Park earns the People’s Choice Award
HOUSTON – February 4, 2020 – 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 Wilson, Cribbs and Goren.
Close to 200 guests gathered for ULI’s centerpiece awards program at the Rice Crystal Ballroom, 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 Heritage Category, the 2020 award went to The Jones on Main, originally by Jesse H. Jones, and redeveloped by Lionstone Investments and Midway. At the beginning of the last century, the 700 block of Main Street was the most prestigious in downtown and The Gulf Oil building was its crowning jewel. The second act of the renovated 700 block of Main Street is in full swing and better than its first. With the addition of contemporary amenities, such as Finn Hall, historical features such as the great banking hall, and multi-modal access, the property has become one of the hippest places in downtown. Finn Hall, a food hall in the former Sakowitz department store space in 712 Main St., brought a vital component needed to continue downtown Houston’s evolution into a 24/7 “live + work + play” place, operating 7 days a week, early morning to late night, bringing life to the street.
In the For-Profit Category (large*), the 2020 award went to Bank of America Tower, by Skanska USA Commercial Development. Bank of America Tower, downtown Houston’s latest high-rise office building, and the first building in the US to receive a LEED Platinum v4 core and shell certification, features a wide variety of first-class amenities including a light-filled triple-height space with next generation retail and unique restaurant concepts. The development offers its tenants, as well as all of downtown Houston, a gathering space to meet, collaborate and work outside the office. The design element that has changed the fabric of downtown life is the Understory, the building’s 30,000 SF public space and culinary market, open seven days a week, day and night.
In the For-Profit Category (small**), the 2020 award went to Main and Co. by NewForm Real Estate and Zimmerman Interests. Located at the intersection of Main and Commerce Streets, The Main and Commerce Exchange originally housed some of Houston’s earliest commercial enterprises including cotton, shipping, and many others. Today, the buildings have been painstakingly restored allowing exposed original brick, beams, and a salvaged original wood floor. The project has brought activity morning, afternoon, and night to a once derelict block and has attracted two fast growing established tech companies with global presence.
In the Not-for-Profit Category the 2020 award went to New Hope Housing and Star of Hope’s Cornerstone Community®, by New Hope Housing and Star of Hope. Cornerstone Community® is a 48-acre cutting-edge, master-planned community. It includes Star of Hope’s Women & Family Development Center serving homeless single women and single-parent families with emergency care and long-term educational opportunities. Star of Hope provides 130 family units, 20 single women units and 60 residential dorm units. The campus also features New Hope Housing Reed, an affordable rental housing complex that offers 187 apartments for formerly homeless families. New Hope’s supportive housing community provides case management, educational and financial services, and life skills classes to help uplift families from generational poverty.
In the Open Space Category, the 2020 award went to Midtown Park. Midtown Park fulfills a vision established twenty years ago by the Midtown Redevelopment Authority to create a premier park destination in the Midtown District. Through a partnership with Camden Property Trust, this tract of land has been transformed into a vibrant, urban park and multi-family development, benefiting Midtown residents and business owners, but also the larger community. Midtown Park improves access to green space and amenities while creating a balance of programming, recreational opportunities and events. Midtown Park was developed to be a marker of sustainability while providing vital park space in one of the nation’s largest and most diverse cities.
Midtown Park also won the People’s Choice award, garnering the most votes on ULI’s online survey.
2020 Award finalists were selected by a nomination panel of Houston real estate leaders that included Marina Badoian-Kriticos, HARC; Hector Covo, Huitt-Zollars; Kristi Johnson, NorthMarq Capital; Blake Royal, BoyarMiller; and Steven Ward, Ward, Getz & Associates, LLP.
A jury of national real estate experts including Emma West, Partner at Bousfields Inc. in Toronto; Heidi Kimball, Senior Vice President at Sunbelt Holdings in Scottsdale; and Dan Govan, Associate at Allford Hall Monaghan Morris in Oklahoma City toured all finalists’ projects as part of the process of selecting winners.
The following 2020 category finalists were also recognized during the awards:
For Profit (large): Camden McGowen Station, by Camden; Kirby Grove Office, by Midway
Not-for-Profit: Avenue Place/Avenue Terrace, by Avenue; Houston ISD Milby High School, by Houston Independent School District
Open Space: Evelyn’s Park, by Evelyn’s Park Conservancy
Since 2008, nearly 90 projects and public spaces have been recognized as Development of Distinction finalists and winners. See a full list.
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 nearly 40,000 members representing all aspects of land use. The Houston District Council is ULI at the local level, facilitating the exchange of ideas and the transmission of ULI best practices. ULI Houston has 900 members, who come together at educational programs and other events to share experiences and learn from each other.