07/01/2014 | by Sarah Borchersen-Keto
Howard Hughes Corp. President Says Downtown Outlet Center on Strong Footing

Grant Herlitz, president of The Howard Hughes Corp. (NYSE: HHC), joined REIT.com for a video interview during REITWeek 2014: NAREIT’s Investor Forum, held in New York.

Howard Hughes Corp. owns, manages and develops commercial, residential and mixed-use real estate throughout the country.

Herlitz discussed the company’s Outlet Collection at Riverwalk property in New Orleans, which opened in May and is the nation’s first downtown outlet center. He explained that the idea for the project, which he called a “huge success,” came from a senior executive in the company’s leasing group.

“We encourage each of our employees to think big,” Herlitz said. “That takes courage and conviction.”

Herlitz was asked if he expects to see similar projects undertaken in other parts of the country.

“I think developers will definitely attempt it,” he replied. “I’d be selective, but it absolutely worked for us, and I’d encourage them to do it too.”

Herlitz also touched on the challenges that his company faces in building and launching larger mixed-use projects.

Herlitz used the company’s Ward Village property in Honolulu as an example. The Howard Hughes Corp. is creating a vertically integrated master-planned community with about 4,000 residential units. At the heart of the community, he added, is a three-acre park space that will be a “social gathering place for 21st century Honolulu.”

“Mixed-use is challenging. The different types of uses have to cohesively work together,  but I think it’s essential for a community,” Herlitz said.