The Houston chapter of the Urban Land Institute (ULI) has released the finalists its sixth-annual Development of Distinction Awards . . . and for the first time, the organization wants the public's help.
ULI announced a total of eight projects in three award categories: for-profit, not-for-profit and heritage. While a panel of jurors will chose a winner in each category, the new People's Choice Award will be given to one of the eight finalists regardless of type.
Scroll through to see this year's batch of nominees and cast your People's Choice vote online until Jan. 21.
Awards will be announced at a special ceremony at the Rice Crystal Ballroom on Jan. 29.
TO THE RIGHT: Houston Food Bank, nonprofit
To expand its distribution capacity, the Houston Food Bank renovated a 30-year-old warehouse in late 2011. The 308,000 square-foot facility is one of the nation’s largest food banks, supplying charities in 18 Texas counties.
Julia Ideson Library, heritage
A landmark listed in the National Register of Historic Places, the Julia Ideson Building re-opened in December 2011 to fanfare from library patrons and architectural preservationists alike. The historic Spanish Revival building was restored with painstaking attention to the original 1920s design plans.
H-E-B Montrose Market, for-profit
The first LEED-certified building in the grocery store chain, the Montrose H-E-B was designed to engage its surroundings with a low impact on the environment. Public input was sought as the company prepared its designs, leaving Montrose with an eco-friendly building with abundant natural lighting and a parking lot full of old neighborhood oak trees.
Villa del Prado Apartments, for-profit
An affordable multi-family redevelopment project in southeast Houston, Villa del Prado was achieved with a unique public-private partnership that renovated a four-acre site for a reasonable $14 million.
Kirby Drive Streetscape Improvement Project, not-for-profit
The Kirby Drive Streetscape Improvement Project Between Westheimer and 59, Kirby Drive has received a long-overdue makeover, taming a heavily-trafficked corridor into an urban center prepared for for further smart growth.
Sugar Land Town Square, for-profit
A drab 32-acre field at at Highway 6 and US 59 has been re-envisioned as a Sugar Land Town Square — a pedestrian-friendly, mixed-use development that features a 300-room Marriott Hotel and Conference Center, the Sugar Land City Hall, mid-rise condos, restaurants, retail and one of Houston's largest ballrooms.
Fulton Gardens, not-for-profit
Located on the forthcoming northern light rail line, Fulton Gardens provides 48 one-bedroom units for seniors 62 years of age and older. Building residents are guaranteed to not pay more than 30 percent of their income toward utilities and rent.
City of Houston Parks Department Headquarters, heritage
Known as the first NASA headquarters in Houston, the Gragg building was revamped by the City of Houston to be the new main offices for the Parks Department. Thanks to careful renovation work, the Gragg enjoys not only LEED Gold certification, but national recognition as a historic landmark as well.