The Howard Hughes Corporation (HHC) has never been a company to do things on the small scale. In fact, “massive” and “ambitious” appear in the first sentence of its “About Us” section on its website. HHC’s desire to not just compete but drive the changing landscape of builds in the US is well established, and its current announcement is very much in line with its goal.
In July 2022, the company announced that two of its master-planned communities in the Greater Houston area earned LEED precertification by the US Green Building Council. These two communities are the first master-planned communities (MPCs) to achieve the distinction in the state of Texas. One of those MPCs, the Woodlands, has become the largest master-planned community in the world to earn LEED precertification at 44.5 square miles (28,500 acres).
“Our work to achieve LEED precertification of the Woodlands—a large-scale, award-winning community that opened in 1974 and is today home to over 120,000 residents—exemplifies the Howard Hughes Corporation’s commitment to the long-term vision of founder George Mitchell for creating a self-sustaining ecosystem,” said CEO David R. O’Reilly in the announcement, “one that anticipated to a remarkable degree almost fifty years ago the principles of ESG [environmental, social, and governance] that today guide development across our national portfolio.”
The Woodlands was named the “#1 Best Community to Live in America” by Nichein both 2021 and 2022. It also has earned additional awards, including “Master Planned Community of the Year” by the Greater Houston Builders Association.
Smaller only in its comparison to its sister build, Bridgeland’s 11,500-acre spread has dedicated 28 percent of its entirety to open green space, lakes, trails, parks, and other outdoor amenities. Bridgeland is currently the best-selling MPC in the Greater Houston area and will eventually be home to sixty-five thousand residents.
LEED certification for projects of this size won’t just create more homes. Its sustainable approach will mean a far less intrusive environmental impact on their surroundings and a better quality of life for its inhabitants.
“A sustainable community strives to offer its residents a higher living standard,” US Green Building Council Interim CEO Peter Templeton said in a statement. “A LEED community takes action and delivers measurable outcomes that improve overall quality of life for residents. Given the extraordinary importance of climate protection, building more resilient communities is crucial and the Woodlands and Bridgeland LEED precertification is a symbol of their leadership.”
Projects like Woodlands and Bridgeland have been aided by creative and innovative finance teams at Howard Hughes, including Vice President of Treasury and Finance Operations Christopher Stang. The nearly twelve-year veteran of HHC has been with the company since 2011 and has risen through five promotions to his current role.
Strang gained early experience at Oppenheimer & Co., but the finance pro has blossomed at HHC, where he’s taken on increasing responsibility all the way up the corporate ladder to the executive level. The VP landed his current role in January 2020.
Strang has also promoted his company’s commitment to the communities in which they reside. The HHCares program supports over 180 local causes in the Houston region. The HHC Community Scholarship is awarded to three students annually and is renewable for $5,000 for up to three years for those pursuing full-time undergraduate study in an eligible major.
The wide array of philanthropic activities compliments the company’s mission to change the nation’s landscape, both literal and otherwise. With projects ranging from New York City to Honolulu, HHC remains on the front lines of massive builds all over the US, employing only the bravest and boldest whose desires aren’t just to build something but also build the very best. By keeping prioritizing the environment, HHC will encourage the competition