November 1, 2016
The Howard Hughes Corp. has been the brains behind a variety of mixed-use properties throughout Dallas-Fort Worth, Houston, and the United States. With a little more than 48 hours to go until Connect Houston, Amy Wolff Sorter caught up with Paul Layne, Howard Hughes’ executive vice president, master planned communities, to talk about the mixed-use format, and where it’s headed.
Q. What, exactly, is a mixed-use development, and how does it differ from single property developments?
A. A mixed-use development is defined by the Urban Land Institute as integrating three or more revenue- producing uses. This is difficult to accomplish in most cases; there must be a market-driven requirement for all uses to successfully complete a mixed-use product. Many times, a mixed-use development is forced on a site that can’t support one or more of the uses delivered, which ultimately diminishes the overall impact it has on the community. Multi-use or adjacent mixed uses are more common, and are easier to phase in, as the market demands. There are often challenges with mixed-use in meeting the service and operational demands of different product types, and mixed-use developments must always be mindful to balance the environment of the development while being respectful of the residents living in the area.
Q. How has the mixed-use format changed in the past 10-20 years? Have they become larger?
A. Rising land costs, urbanization of our traditional suburban areas, and the desire of the community for a live, work, and play environment has led to an increase in mixed-use projects. It’s not that mixed-use projects are necessarily larger, but there has been a larger emphasis on maximizing the opportunity that sites provide for multiple uses and creating convenience for the end users. Hughes Landing in The Woodlands is a great example of the mixed-use Lifestyle Center, and is becoming a destination both for families living in the area and for visitors, both of whom are looking for an experience and convenience. The diverse offerings within the center make it possible for nearby residents and visitors to grab a bite to eat at one of over eight different restaurants, spend time shopping in our many different storefronts, and finish the evening taking in the atmosphere and enjoying the views of Lake Woodlands.
Q. Will more mixed-use projects break ground in 2017?
A. We expect that most developers will start site planning with mixed-use in mind. However, if the site dynamics or market conditions do not allow for the successful application of a mixed-use development, a single-use product may be the highest and best use. Given the current market conditions, it is likely that there will not be an abundance of mixed-use projects breaking ground in 2017. Thankfully, The Howard Hughes Corporation is in a position that if the highest and best use of a site we currently own is mixed-use, we can be patient and allow for the market to dictate when that project can proceed.
Join Paul Layne and other experts at the upcoming Connect Houston, taking place this Thursday, Nov. 3, at the Hotel Derek. Click here for more information.
For comments, questions or concerns, please contact Amy Sorter