February 15, 2019 Comments Off on Q&A: Howard Hughes Corp.’s Paul Layne Discusses Houston’s Love for MXU Views: 1621 Houston-Galveston, Texas News

Q&A: Howard Hughes Corp.’s Paul Layne Discusses Houston’s Love for MXU

Don’t miss the first ever Connect Houston event scheduled for February 26, 2019 at The Houston Club. For more information — or to attend — click here.

As we wait eagerly for Connect Houston, Connect Media asked one of the event’s speakers, Paul Layne, president—Central Region for The Howard Hughes Corporation, to give us a preview of some of the topics he’s going to cover. Layne will be speaking on the panel titled In The Mix – Multifamily, Mixed-Use, and Megaprojects, which will discuss how mixed-use has become such a driving force in the Houston market.

Q: Houston is home to several successful mixed-use projects, both urban and suburban. Why do you think the Houston area is such a welcoming market for these types of projects?
A: Houston is forefront in the market for mixed-used projects within downtown Houston and the suburbs, offering a 24/7 atmosphere for residents including entertainment and dining, surrounded by office space. The Woodlands, for example, has created such mixed-use developments as Hughes Landing. Hughes Landing is a dynamic experience featuring Class-A office buildings, luxury, multifamily living with ground-level retail; Restaurant Row, additional retail anchored by Whole Foods Market, hospitality, entertainment, future early childhood center, recreation including a Boat House and art. Hughes Landing is also an attraction because it is all in a walkable setting, featuring panoramic views of Lake Woodlands. Along with these components, Houston has easy access to George Bush Intercontinental Airport and William P. Hobby Airport, creating a welcoming market with easy access to world-wide destinations.

Q: If you could name only one megaproject that is under development right now – a project that will transform the region in some way – which one would you pick and why? What makes it so special?
A: Our master-planned community in Cypress, TX comes to mind for this question. Only in its 12th year of development, Bridgeland is reshaping the Northwest Houston region in a very positive way. Focusing on conservation and connecting residents to nature in a meaningful way makes this community incredibly special.

The 11,400-acre community is currently home to more than 3,000 families. It is estimated that upon completion, Bridgeland will have approximately 20,000 homes and 65,000 residents, contributing to the growth and economic development of Cypress. The award-winning community boasts 3,000 acres of lakes, parks and trails, and is currently ranked as the 18th best-selling community in the nation (up 11 spots in one year, according to RCLCO), and is the second best-selling in all of Houston. Bridgeland’s sales success continues to increase, as we saw a record year in 2018 with 482 new homes sold, a 14% increase over the previous year.

Bridgeland’s plans for commercial offerings will also add value to the region. Bridgeland’s first of several village centers is now open, with three additional retail sites being planned for future development. Also, since Bridgeland is bisected by SH 99, Houston’s third loop around the city, residents of our community and neighboring subdivisions have convenient access to SH 99, providing greater mobility to the north and south, including the airport.

Another benefit to SH 99 as it relates to Bridgeland is the 900 acres the community has set aside for its future Town Center. This substantial piece of property that will surround SH 99 has the potential to become very similar to The Woodlands Town Center, and may offer future retail, dining, entertainment, and employment. Adjacent to the future Town Center is Bridgeland’s Class A multifamily site that is estimated to be complete by the end of this year. These luxury apartments were inspired by Creekside Park The Residences, and will be a great option for those looking for a lock-and-leave lifestyle. Additionally, Bridgeland is home to several churches as well as Cy-Fair Volunteer Fire Department Station 13, all incredible offerings for our residents.

Another important area of focus for Bridgeland is education. Current students of Bridgeland attend schools zoned by Cy-Fair Independent School District—Texas’ third largest district. In fact, both of Bridgeland’s onsite elementary school campuses are the top two ranking out of 55 elementary schools in the district. Bridgeland’s first private daycare and preschool is slated to open this spring, and will cater to the younger children in the community. Older students attend the district’s only four-story campus, Bridgeland High School, with a future middle school slated for construction in the next few years. As the community grows, additional campuses will be added.

Q: Residential, whether multifamily or single-family, usually plays a role in successful mixed-use projects. What changes have you witnessed regarding the integration of housing into these projects? What is driving the changes?
A: Trends are showing people prefer a live, work, play, and discover environment. Mixed-use developments offer the opportunity for residents to live near work, and enjoy retail and dining near their home as well as entertainment. Residents strive for the 24/7 atmosphere with all its conveniences, and in many instances, a lock and leave atmosphere which is what is offered in multifamily living. Multifamily living can offer all the technological advances in their dwelling, as well as healthy living options with gyms and fitness pools. The Woodlands has always envisioned one member of every household would work in the community, and that has come into fruition. The Woodlands is home to nearly 2,200 employers, with a workforce of nearly 68,000 people. Residents enjoy the short commute or even walking to work, having a business presentation in the day, and being able to be home in time for their child’s extracurricular activity. One job per every rooftop is also the vision for Bridgeland as commercial space expands. Future mixed-used development for Bridgeland will be successful with the convenient access of SH 99.

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