Ten outstanding developments from North America - including the Army's Residential Communities Initiative (RCI) -- have been selected as winners of the Urban Land Institute's Awards for Excellence: The Americas Competition is widely recognized as the land use industry's most prestigious recognition program.

"The U.S. Army is honored to receive this recognition which further demonstrates our commitment to making our Army installations safe, attractive, and modern for our Soldiers and their Families to live" Hon. Keith Eastin, Assistant Secretary of the Army, Installations & Environment said. "We are committed, on-track, and believe that the RCI processes are effective in attracting world-class development and management firms to help us reach our goals of eliminating deficits and inadequate Army Family Housing in the U.S."

Currently, the RCI program is comprised of 45 installations (combined into 35 projects); more than 89,000 homes - 98 percent of the Army's family housing inventory in the U.S. To date 71,000 family homes at 35 installations have been privatized, 10 more installations with 11,000 homes are in solicitation or under development.

The competition is part of the Institute's Awards for Excellence program, established in 1979, which is based on ULI's guiding principle that the achievement of excellence in land use practice should be recognized and rewarded. ULI's Awards for Excellence recognize the full development process of a project, not just its architecture or design. The criteria for the awards include leadership, contribution to the community, innovations, public/private partnership, environmental protection and enhancement, response to societal needs, and financial success.
The 2008 winners were selected from 81 entries, which were narrowed to 18 finalists. Projects were evaluated on the basis of financial viability, the resourceful use of land, design, relevance to contemporary issues, and sensitivity to the community and environment. Each contributes to a live-work-play environment and is designed to complement and enhance the greater community.

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To learn more about the U.S. Army's Residential Communities Initiative please visit http://www.rci.army.mil/. For additional information contact Dave Foster (703) 697-5344 or dave.foster@hqda.army.mil.

The 2008 Awards for Excellence winners (developers in parentheses) are:

Adidas Village, Portland, Oregon (adidas-Salomon North America; Winkler Development Corporation) Adidas's strategic decision to relocate from its suburban headquarters to a downtown campus, converging with Winkler Development's redevelopment of an 11-acre former hospital site, has brought 800 employees downtown; provided its new neighborhood with revitalization, playing fields, and other recreational amenities; and has established a new corporate image and branding.

Army Residential Communities Initiative, U.S.A.-wide (U.S. Department of the Army) Faced with a $7 billion funding deficit to upgrade substandard housing and to build new housing at military bases, the Army developed the Residential Communities Initiative in 1998 to privatize housing on it bases. Land is leased to LLCs and existing housing stock is conveyed to the LLC, which then becomes responsible for upgrading, new construction, and management, and which collects rent from the individual soldiers' housing allowances. In this fashion, the Army has privatized 71,000 units at 35 bases with a 12:1 private to public funding ratio, enhancing the quality of life for soldiers and their families.

Atelier/505, Boston, Massachusetts (The Druker Company, Ltd.) A partnership of a developer, the city, and two arts institutions has transformed a contaminated, irregular 1.16-acre lot in an underinvested neighborhood in Boston's South End to a mixed-use block that is returning life to surrounding streets. The for-profit, 103-unit condominium and street-level retail core paid for the shell construction of a 51,019-square-foot performing arts complex for the not-for-profit beneficiary organizations and for the public.

Canada's National Ballet School/Radio City, Toronto, Canada (Context Development, Inc.) In a creative partnership-among Canada's National Ballet School, the city, the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, and a local developer-multiple easements, transfers of development rights, and complex ownership structures have allowed the rehabilitation and re-use of heritage buildings; construction of new residential, academic, and performance facilities for one of the premier ballet schools in the world; public urban spaces; and 414 residential units in 18 townhouses and two residential towers of 25 and 30 stories.

Clipper Mill, Baltimore, Maryland (Struever Bros. Eccles & Rouse) A 17.5-acre mid-town site that once housed a major contributor to Baltimore's industrial economy has been transformed into a mixed-use complex of artisan space, offices, and residences. Next to a light-rail transit stop, and adjacent to an extensive hiking trail network that the developer enhanced along its adjoining portions, Clipper Mill restored the historical characteristics of the property and introduced present-day sustainability features.

Eleven 80, Newark, New Jersey (Cogswell Realty Group) The first addition to downtown Newark's housing stock in more than 40 years. Eleven 80 transforms a dilapidated-almost to the point of irreparability- 75-year-old 30-story office building to a 316-unit condo building with high-end amenities. Eleven 80, along with the developer's adjacent National Newark Building, fulfills a part of the developer's vision for the city's revitalization; evidence of which is Eleven 80's attraction of former Manhattan residents.

General Motors Renaissance Center, Detroit, Michigan (Hines) Automaker General Motors consolidated its seven suburban office locations and committed the giant corporation to downtown Detroit by repurposing the 1970s-era multi-story complex into its world headquarters, returning 10,000 employees to downtown, turning around a reminder of Detroit's declining years, reintegrating the complex to the city fabric, and inviting the public to the riverfront with green spaces and promenades.

Medinah Temple-Tree Studios, Chicago, Illinois (Friedman Properties, Ltd.) What could have become another block of non-descript high rises by right is now an oasis of immaculately restored landmark buildings around a central landscaped court yard. The historic Medinah Temple complex now houses a Bloomingdale's home furnishings store, and the former Tree Studios carry on as retail spaces and studios for artists and artisans.

Overture Center for the Arts, Madison, Wisconsin (Overture Development Corporation) The Overture Center brings to one location- an entire city block just a block away from the state capitol building-seven performing arts companies, four visual arts organizations, and a new museum. Their common operations and shared spaces create an economy of scale, saving the public from supporting far-flung organizations, and adds to the critical mass of downtown activity. Though it was underwritten primarily by one benefactor, the W. Jerome Frautschi family, Overture Center's planning, design, and operations is a replicable model for arts districts everywhere.

Solara, Poway, California (Community Housing Works) Solara is California's first affordable housing project designed to be fully independent of the power grid. In practice, its photovoltaic panels provide 90 percent of electrical needs to 56 units of rental multi-family apartments in two-story wood buildings and a small community center. Located on 2.5 ground-leased acres adjacent to a floodway that has a recreational relationship to the development, Solara overcame a myriad of entitlement, financing, technical, and community challenges to become a fully-leased community of households committed to a green program.

Page last updated Tue May 13th, 2008 at 15:29