MLPD students' analysis informs downtown Houston revitalization

The underutilized southeastern area of downtown Houston could see its property values rise with the addition of green space and a signature landmark, concluded Texas A&M Master of Land and Property Development students in an analysis published last spring by the Urban Land Institute’s Houston Council.

Katherine Flansburg and Yi Xue, MLPD students, and Jason Wilcox, a Master of Real Estate student, prepared the analysis as part of the report issued by ULI-Houston, a national organization advocating land development that creates sustainable, thriving communities.

The analysis was referenced by ULI panel of industry experts that met last March to discuss redevelopment of the area of southeastern downtown located south of the Toyota Center and Clay Street, north of Interstate 45 (the Pierce Elevated), east of Milam Street and west of U.S. highway 59.

The students applied the Quadruple Net Value Analysis method, developed by Dennis Jerke ’78, an adjunct professor in the MLPD degree program and an outstanding alumnus of Texas A&M’s College of Architecture, in his 2009 book “Urban Design and the Bottom Line.”

The students found that the area’s projected residential growth and a healthy outlook for downtown office occupancy were good signs for the areas’ social/cultural and economic values, two elements of the quadruple analysis.

They also found that the area’s environmental value and sensory value, the two other elements of quadruple analysis, could be significantly raised by adding green space and storm water management, reducing transportation-based noise emissions, and by building a dominant landmark or incorporating a distinguishing design theme.

Students performed the analysis as inaugural ULI research fellows in a pilot program, funded by ULI, as a model for outreach to real estate schools and student mentoring and support.

posted October 8, 2013