A growing interest and awareness in fresh, local food is spurring innovation when it comes to development projects.
From rooftop gardens supplying food to adjacent restaurants, to edible landscaping, to industrial places that are hosting food markets and pop-up restaurants, to food-based entertainment destinations and master planned communities built around farms—how are new and creative approaches to food driving healthier, more sustainable, and more equitable outcomes in cities and communities?
What do savvy real estate leaders need to know about trends in food and development?
To answer these questions, the ULI Building Healthy Places Initiative and the ULI Center for Sustainability convened developers, property owners, investors, restaurateurs, policy-makers, and others in the culinary destinations of New Orleans, Louisiana, and Tarrytown, New York. During these small, invitation-only, discussion-based gatherings, these experts came together to learn, share, and eat good food. At the Forums, attendees met with like-minded people and potential partners, and enjoyed a unique culinary and professional experience.
About the New Orleans Forum
At our Food and Real Estate Forum in New Orleans, we explored the role that food can play in placemaking, revitalization efforts, and economic development. We toured food destinations in the city, enjoyed an intimate dinner catered by Chef John Besh, and explored food trends and issues in the region and beyond.
ULI is grateful to the Colorado Health Foundation and the Leichtag Foundation for their support of this project and the Building Healthy Places Initiative. ULI is also grateful to the Shaw Family for its support of the ULI New Orleans Food Forum and to the Shops at Canal Place and O’Connor Capital Partners for their sponsorship of that forum.
Chief Executive Officer
Chair, New Orleans Forum
Jodie W. McLean is Chief Executive Officer of EDENS, one of the nation’s leading private owners, operators and developers of retail real estate. For more than 20 years, she has been a key player in the company’s growth and expansion to its current marketplace leadership, capitalized by blue chip investors and assets valued at $6 billion.
McLean has been responsible for EDENS’ strategy to move the portfolio to major urban centers and create a portfolio of assets that are the center of community life. She was named Chief Investment Officer in 1997, President in 2002 and CEO in 2015. Overall, she has been responsible for the development, redevelopment, acquisition and disposition of more than $10 billion in retail assets.
McLean passionately believes that retail should evolve beyond a shopping experience, and she advocates connectivity to the communities surrounding the company’s retail centers. To ensure this, each EDENS development is created as an authentic gathering place for a local community, including a unique merchandising mix and welcoming design elements, helping to foster a sense of engagement with its neighbors.
A native of Chicago, IL, McLean holds a B.S. in Finance and Management from the Moore School of Business, University of South Carolina and a degree from South Carolina Honors College. She serves on the George Washington University School of Business – Center for Real Estate and Urban Analysis Board of Advisors, the South Carolina Honors College Partnership board, as well as boards of several other institutions and charities. McLean is a member of the Liberty Fellowship (Aspen Institute) Class of 2009. In 2007 she received the South Carolina Honors College Distinguished Alumna award.
Director, Real Estate Development, Design
Mr. Barnes is Director, Real Estate Development, Design, for WestRock Land and Development. In this role, Mr. Barnes is primarily responsible for the design and sustainability of WestRock’s real estate and community development initiatives within the South Carolina region.
Mr. Barnes has more than 20 years of experience in real estate and community development. Prior to joining WestRock, Mr. Barnes was the Director of Design and Architecture for Celebration Associates, a nationally recognized developer and operator of award-winning, master-planned, mixed-use communities and villages in the southeastern United States.
Mr. Barnes has worked on numerous projects including three critically acclaimed community development projects — Celebration, Florida, a 5,000-acre new town building developed by The Celebration Company, a subsidiary of The Walt Disney Company; I’On, a 243-acre mixed-use village in Mount Pleasant, South Carolina; and East Beach, a 100-acre mixed-use redevelopment project situated along the Chesapeake Bay in Norfolk, Virginia.
John Besh is a chef and a native son dedicated to the culinary riches of southern Louisiana. In his restaurants, entrepreneurial pursuits and public activities, he preserves and promotes ingredients, techniques, and heritage one mouth-watering dish at a time. His twelve acclaimed restaurants (August, Besh Steak, Lüke, Lüke San Antonio, La Provence, Domenica, Pizza Domenica, Borgne, Johnny Sánchez New Orleans, Johnny Sánchez Baltimore, Shaya and Willa Jean) celebrate the bounty and traditions of the region. In 2014, the James Beard Foundation inducted him into “Who’s Who in Food & Beverage.” Food & Wine named him one of the “Top 10 Best New Chefs in America,” and he won the coveted James Beard Award for Best Chef of the Southeast in 2006. In 2009, he was awarded Food Arts’ Silver Spoon Award for revitalizing the culinary legacy of New Orleans. His flagship restaurant, August, is a Gayot Top 40 Restaurant and a Wine Enthusiast Top 100 Restaurant, in addition to being a 2012 and 2013 James Beard Nominee for Outstanding National Restaurant (eligible only to restaurants open for ten years or more). Besh’s non-profit organization, The John Besh Foundation, works to protect and preserve the culinary heritage and foodways of both New Orleans and the Gulf Coast region, through culinary scholarships and microloans. To date, ten scholarships have been awarded. The Foundation also provides microloans to financially assist and advise farmers and artisanal producers within a 200-mile radius of New Orleans.
Specialized Real Estate Group
Jeremy Hudson is CEO of Specialized Real Estate Group in Fayetteville, Arkansas, a company focused on developing and managing walkable, healthy, and sustainable multifamily communities. He has developed over 1.3 million SF of apartment buildings that are registered for LEED certification, including the award-winning Eco Modern Flats. In October of 2014, Jeremy was named to the Urban Land Institute’s first-ever 40 Under 40 class, which recognizes the best and brightest young land use professionals from around the globe.
Jennifer Maguire Isham
Director of Strategy-Union Market
Jennifer Maguire Isham is EDENS’ director of strategy for Union Market, a 45-acre district that is emerging as one of Washington, D.C.’s most vibrant, diverse and thriving neighborhoods.
Prior to joining EDENS in 2014, Jennifer was one of the founding organizers and served as president of the Tribeca Film Festival from 2003-2008. In 2006, Isham was a recipient of the Stars and Steps award presented by the Mayor of Rome for the leading role the Tribeca Film Festival played in fostering economic development through culture. Prior to that, Isham was a senior vice president of programming and talent development for CNN/US, served as a member of the Turner Executive Board, and currently serves on the board of the Tribeca Film Institute. She also worked as a producer for the Lincoln Memorial Concert for the 2009 Obama Inauguration.
Isham worked as an award-winning journalist at ABC News for over 10 years and remains an active member of New York Women in Film and Television. Isham is a graduate of Brown University.
President & Chief Executive Officer
Mr. Johnson-Piett is responsible for the overall management of operations and strategic vision for Urbane Development, a community development venture based in New York City. His work focuses on strengthening small businesses operating in underserved communities through market intelligence, technical assistance, and access to capital. Under his leadership, Urbane has worked with over 1,000 small businesses, attracted or retained over 1.1M SF of commercial/community facility space including 400,000 SF of national retail, and helped raise over $50M in capital in 20+ communities throughout North America. Urbane also acts as a co-developer of commercial and mixed-use real estate in underserved markets in New York and Detroit. Mr. Johnson-Piett is an alumnus of Swarthmore College (BA, Political Science and Environmental Studies, 2003). He also attended the MIT Center for Real Estate Professional Development Institute in 2007.
Donna Leuchten Nuccio
Director of Healthy Food Access
Donna Leuchten Nuccio is the Director of Healthy Food Access at The Reinvestment Fund, a national leader in rebuilding America’s distressed towns and cities through the innovative use of capital and information. At The Reinvestment Fund, her role includes managing a national network of 19 Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFIs) active in healthy food financing as well as business development and loan originations for TRF’s food portfolio. TRF has invested in over 150 food businesses, including food retail and distribution. Prior to joining The Reinvestment Fund, Mrs. Leuchten Nuccio was the Director of Sustainable Food Systems for UpLift Solutions, a national, nonprofit consulting organization supporting grocery entrepreneurs entering underserved and low income communities. Ms. Leuchten Nuccio has also served as a Bill Emerson National Hunger Fellow through the DC-based Congressional Hunger Center.
Eric is a food and social justice fanatic. His drive to build a better kind of business began while working on an all women owned co-op in Costa Rica and writing his thesis on Fair Trade in Nicaragua. After graduating from the University of Denver with a degree in Economics, Eric pursued his passion of building resilient communities back in his Colorado home by founding Re:Vision. His contributions to Denver’s local food movement has landed him an appointment by former Denver Mayor John Hickenlooper to the Denver Sustainable Food Policy Council; he was selected as a Rocky Mountain Farmers Union Fellow; and after graduating from the National Farmers Union Beginning Farmer Institute, he now serves as the President of the Denver/Jefferson chapter of the Rocky Mountain Farmers Union. When Eric is not tirelessly tackling oppressive and unfair social and infrastructure systems, or planning Re:Vision’s future expansion, Eric brews beer with his brother, and is slowly remodeling a 100-year-old house with his fiancé.
Sandra Kulli is a collector of creative, high-integrity, and ground-breaking people and stories from all over the map. She brings this collection of resources to her work, and her bent is always experiences that reveal a beautiful humanity — an expressed mission, truth or human insight that celebrates the things that connect us. Things like food, beauty and ideas for your business. Ideas that promote best practices in connecting with your customer. And Sandra leads by example — always leaving a trail of ideas behind — lemons and rosemary from her garden and story books that keep the conversation going. And the result is most always an inspired next step. An energized team pulling for the brand.
Michael Phillips is the President of Jamestown. He joined the company after spending 20 years as a successful national and international real estate entrepreneur and developer and is recognized for his ability to create sophisticated mixed-use districts. Mr. Phillips is the creative leader behind the renowned Chelsea Market in New York City and is responsible for establishing the vision and execution strategy for Jamestown’s real estate projects. He attended the American University in London. Board affiliations: the Board of Governors for the Urban Land Institute, Vice-Chairman for the James Beard Foundation, Friends of the High Line and the Real Estate Board of New York.
Throughout the past decade in the South Florida market, Laura Tauber has developed, owned and operated shopping centers, single tenant retail, and multi-family projects, approaching one million square feet. She began her career in finance and real estate at GMAC Mortgage as a Loan Analyst underwriting commercial properties. Soon thereafter she joined VIKOR, a boutique finance and venture capital firm, where a Partner she structured more than $1 billion dollars in debt and equity financing from Miami to New York City.
In 1998 she co-founded Taubco, a real estate development company, and began purchasing parcels of land for development in densely populated in-fill locations. She continued to grow the company by assembling and coordinating a staff that formed a vertically integrated real estate development and management company. She is well known for the high quality of her projects, prominent locations, her strong relationships with banks, pension funds, REITs, national and local tenants and the meticulous management and maintenance of all the properties.
Although her main focus is the underwriting, acquisition and financial structuring of each transaction, she is also responsible for the strategic design and tenant mix of all the Taubco properties. One signature feature of her properties is the inclusion of generous common area spaces as an amenity surrounding restaurants which enhances the customer’s experience.
Laura Tauber has a Master’s in Business and Finance from the University of Miami.
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To learn more about the Food and Real Estate Forum in New York, please visit uli.org/newyorkfood.
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