The North Texas District Council of the Urban Land Institute honored retail legend Herb Weitzman with its prestigious Vision Award on Oct. 3. A sold-out crowd of 500 of the region's real estate leaders packed Union Station in Dallas to salute Herb Weitzman's career and his contributions to vibrant retail developments.
Herb Weitzman is executive chairman of Weitzman, a Texas-based commercial real estate firm he founded in 1989, and has been at the forefront of retail development.
Following the presentation of the Vision Award, Weitzman and his long-time friend, developer Craig Hall, held a "fireside chat" on stage. Their wide-ranging conversation included Herb Weitzman's history of giving back to the community, one of the key criteria for the Vision Award. Weitzman emphasized his enjoyment in contributing to everything from the arts to shared housing, as well as working to help disadvantaged students pursue their educations.
Impact Awards recognize impactful developments
The evening continued with ULI's Impact Award presentations, featuring many of DFW's high-profile new developments. The finalists and winners of these awards were selected by a five-person jury comprised of experienced ULI members from around the country.
In the Public Places category, jury selected the Eagle Family Plaza at the Dallas Museum of Art as the winning entry.
Lionel Morrison of Morrison Dilworth and Walls said, "We are delighted with the win for both the Dallas Museum of Art and especially the benefactors of this project, Jennifer and John Eagle. The design team was fabulous to work with and we just happy that we were able to contribute in our small way."
Other Public Places finalists were Shake Shack at the Crescent, designed by The Beck Group and the renovation of the historic Rose Garden at the Fort Worth Botanic Garden, submitted by Bennet Benner Partners.
The evening's next award, for Innovation, went to Crescent's McKinney & Olive building, a sweeping glass structure designed by Pelli Clark Pelli.
Other finalists were the Toyota North America Headquarters in Plano, submitted by KDC, and the Walsh development in Fort Worth, submitted by Republic Property Group.
"Crescent's development and design team, led by architect Pelli Clarke Pelli, started McKinney and Olive with a goal of setting a new standard for workplace design in Texas. Every major decision was measured against that goal," said Joseph Pitchford, Managing Director of Crescent Real Estate Equities, LLC.
He went on to note that "The fact that ULI recognized both the building's outstanding design and its strong market acceptance with the 2017 Innovation Award confirms that our efforts were successful. We are honored by this award."
In determining the winning entry for the Influence Award, the ULI jury sought developments that would have a positive impact beyond their own borders. Finalists in the Influence category included The Statler, submitted by Centurion American Asset Management Company, and The Canals at Grand Park in Frisco, submitted by TBG Partners. The winner of the Influence Award was the Village of Rowlett, submitted jointly by the City of Rowlett and CATALYST Urban Development.
Paris Rutherford, Principal of CATALYST, said, "We were excited when our development was selected as a finalist, and were extremely honored when it was given the award itself. This is a testament to the hard work the full team undertook to create a uniquely appealing destination that expands downtown Rowlett into a regional destination for the community."
City Manager Brian Funderburk and Mayor Tammy Dana-Bashain both praised the development's influence on their city.
"The Village of Rowlett development capitalizes on our authentic downtown core along the historic Bankhead Highway. It offers a transit-oriented, pedestrian-friendly Main Street with transportation options of DART and PGBT nearby. We are excited that ULI has recognized this project with its Influence Award."
Audience vote chooses Statler corridor as "The Next Big Idea"
The popular finale for this annual ULI Awards Event was the live competition for "The Next Big Idea." The applicants in this category presented their concepts on-stage, with the audience then voting for the winner via cell phone texts. The competition was close, with the Opal J Smith North Texas Food Bank, presented by HKS, Gensler's design for the Klyde Warren Park Promenade, and The Statler Corridor concept, presented by Merriam Anderson Architects, all receiving significant support.
The Statler Corridor emerged as the winning Next Big Idea, loudly cheered by its enthusiastic team.
"Our entire firm is excited to receive this award from ULI," said Jerry Merriman. "The Statler Corridor and the entire Commerce Street redevelopment effort is a passion of maa's, as is the redevelopment of Downtown Dallas and of our city centers nationally. To be recognized for this passion is a true honor."
Proceeds to Aid in Post-Hurricane Planning
Proceeds of the ULI Impact Awards Event are used to help fund the educational and volunteer programs of ULI North Texas, including its UrbanPlan curriculum for area high schools and universities and its career education and mentoring program with the Boys and Girls Clubs, "Building Industry Leaders."
This year, the North Texas group also pledged $10,000 to the ULI Foundation, headquartered in Washington, DC. The Foundation will use these funds for advisory panels in which ULI members volunteer their time to engage in planning efforts for rebuilding the Texas coast cities ravaged by Hurricane Harvey.
About the Urban Land Institute
The Urban Land Institute is a non-profit, 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 roughly 40,000 members worldwide and over 1300 members in North Texas, representing all aspects of land use and development disciplines.