LOCAL Houston | The City Guide October 2016 - Page 41

Photography by Slyworks Photography FOOD | ARTS | COMMUNITY | STYLE+LEISURE In the real estate business you try to envision what might be in the next five, 10, 15 years, but it’s absolutely essential to anticipate where you are going and how you are going to get there. We learned that an undertaking of this magnitude is a long-term process and it’s ongoing. We had several bumps in the road economy-wise – in 2008–2010, and obviously recently as we emerge from the 2014–15 energy challenges. Development requires patience and a long-term view and there are always adjustments that must be made, but you must continue with your plans as there will always be disappointments and necessary changes. The ultimate and essential qualities needed are persistence and resiliency. You have to constantly adapt, revise and find ways to implement your objectives to capture the opportunities the market generates or demands. Where do you find inspiration for these innovative, and oftentimes, first of their kind multi-use projects? After we had assembled our 21 acres, I called up Stephen Fox, who is the Architectural Historian at Rice University, and I drove him to look at the property. I asked, “Stephen, what do you think this ought to be?” And he said, “Easy, it needs to be Rockefeller Center.” I said, “Thanks a lot.” Now, did we build Rockefeller Center? No, but we are working toward its basic mixed-use urban concept. And the things that have and are continuing to happen all around us are helping build a densified multi-faceted community that will become a place to really live, work, play and enjoy. We did travel all over the country looking at mixed-use projects trying to find a combination where you could develop a supermarket and related retail businesses in conjunction with office and residential space, and that’s what we did. Besides its successful retail concepts, BLVD Place has been at the forefront in creating a restaurant mecca with multiple restaurants of various types that energize the project and the market. Can you share anything else that’s yet to be completed? There are several more things to take place. We still have the third phase of our retail/office concept to develop within BLVD Place and the vacant property next to the Hanover’s high-rise will be another Hanover residential high-rise development with offices. But without question, the most transformative and exciting activity happening that I have been very involved with is the Uptown District’s redevelopment of Post Oak Boulevard into a grand boulevard with dedicated, managed bus rapid transit lanes and an extensively landscaped streetscape featuring wide, pedestrian-friendly tree-lined sidewalks. Our original concept for BLVD Place was to create an environment that was neighborhood and pedestrian-friendly, with wide sidewalks and landscaping – we’ve seen that happen as we’ve added the restaurants. People are walking to Whole Foods and BLVD Place from the office buildings during lunch or after work for a draft beer. It’s going to be ratcheted up further with the completion of BLVD Place and the many new additional developments planned in the immediate area. From a retail point of view, the Uptown/Galleria/Post Oak area will become an even more upscale urban retail focal point and major force to serve the entire greater Houston region as well as Latin America. What is it about this generation of community-driven octogenarians who continue to look ahead? We love and are passionate about what we do. We love the creative and inventive aspects ingrained in our business. We are constantly thinking and trying to envision what might be and how we might help make things happen. We are energized and inspired to lead and we cherish bold, creative and innovative activities. But, most importantly, it’s fun for us. october 16 | L O C A L 41