Marie Selby Botanical Gardens Breaks Ground on $42.5 million Phase I of Three-Phase Master Plan with Community Leaders and Supporters

Marie Selby Botanical Gardens Welcome Center Rendering. Courtesy of Overland Partners Architects.

SARASOTA, Fla.June 8, 2021 /PRNewswire/ — Community leaders, supporters and staff of Marie Selby Botanical Gardens (Selby) gathered at the site of what will be the nation’s first Net Positive Botanical Garden Community as they broke ground on Phase I, Thursday, June 3, at the 15-acre Downtown Sarasota campus on Sarasota Bay.

Now in its 48th year of operation, the Downtown Sarasota campus is the only botanical garden in the world dedicated to the display and study of orchids, bromeliads, gesneriads and ferns, and other tropical plants.

Aerial Rendering of Marie Selby Botanical Gardens Phase 1 Master Plan at the Downtown Sarasota Campus. Courtesy of Overland Partners Architects

To expand its mission of botany, horticulture, education, historical preservation, and the environment, the Master Plan was developed by international landscape architecture studio OLIN, design architecture firm Overland Partners, civil engineer Kimley-Horn, engineering firm Arup, and  solar energy firm One80Solar, while Willis Smith Construction will oversee construction of the project.

Phase I of the of the three-phase Master Plan includes:

  • The Living Energy Access Facility (LEAF)—a new 27,700 sq. ft. building that will house parking, a gift shop and a garden-level restaurant featuring organic produce and herbs grown onsite– capped with a one-acre solar array that will provide more than 105% of the power needs of the new buildings, with the excess power feeding the existing historic structures on campus and reducing their carbon footprint.
  • The LEAF also includes a stormwater filtration system that will collect and cleanse stormwater onsite to help protect the Sarasota Bay ecosystem.
  • A new Plant Research Center will house an herbarium, laboratory, and spirits collection, as well as a research library that will preserve the collection of irreplaceable rare books and botanical illustrations, some dating from the 1700s.
  • It is the third Emerging Living Community to seek certification by the International Living Future Institute.

“We are taking an established civic and cultural asset and allowing room for our collections, research and educational programs to be protected and sustainable for generations to come,” said Jennifer Rominiecki, president & CEO of Selby Gardens.

“The first phase and entire master plan pays homage to the forward-thinking women who established the gardens, and who understood the importance of preserving and connecting with nature, protecting natural resources and sustaining the future,” said Rominiecki.

The entire complex will be located above the storm surge elevation to protect the priceless collections and new facilities from hurricanes and rising sea levels. In addition, all new construction will be built to the highest code standards to withstand extreme weather.

“Phase I and the entire Master Plan of Selby Botanical Gardens is innovating a greener future, one where architecture blends into the landscape, creates its own energy, and respects and is informed by its ecological context in order to inspire others and serve as a model of truly sustainable, resilient design,” said John Byrd, AIA, LEED AP, LFA, Overland’s Director of Design Performance.

About Marie Selby Botanical Gardens
Marie Selby Botanical Gardens provides 45 acres of bayfront sanctuaries connecting people with air plants of the world, native nature, and our regional history.  Selby Gardens is composed of the 15-acre Downtown Sarasota campus and the 30-acre Historic Spanish Point campus in the Osprey area of Sarasota County, Florida.  The Downtown Campus on Sarasota Bay is the only botanical garden in the world dedicated to the display and study of epiphytic orchids, bromeliads, gesneriads and ferns, and other tropical plants. The Historic Spanish Point (HSP) Campus is located less than 10 miles south along Little Sarasota Bay. The HSP Campus, one of the largest preserves showcasing native Florida plants that is interpreted for and open to the public, celebrates an archaeological record that encompasses approximately 5,000 years of Florida history. Marie Selby Botanical Gardens is a Smithsonian Affiliate and is also accredited by the American Alliance of Museums.  For more information visit

Overland Partners
Overland Partners Architects bring together diverse talents to deliver dynamic, comprehensive design services in architecture, master planning, and urban design throughout the world. With a notable spirit of collaboration, Overland thoughtfully integrates technology, art, and craft to create world-class, innovative, and sustainable solutions for highly complex projects. For more information, visit

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Central Texas Chapter of National Organization of Minority Architects Forms Amid Pandemic and Protest

As Agustina Rodriguez, Assoc. AIA, an architectural designer and public artist living in Austin, browsed her social media feed during the height of the Black Lives Matter protests last summer, she was struck by the lack of original commentary in her home city on the problems of minority representation within the architecture and design professions. “Everyone was just retweeting quotes from NOMA (National Organization of Minority Architects) National or NOMA Houston. There seemed like no leadership on the issues in Austin — we needed our own voice,” she said. Motivated to address a perceived vacuum, she reached out to the southwest region contact for NOMA about starting a chapter in Austin. Unbeknownst to her, efforts to do exactly that had already been brewing for a couple of years. Gregory Street, an architect at Overland Partners in San Antonio, was helming the effort, along with several others, including Donna Carter, FAIA, of Carter Design Associates and Ricardo de Jesús Maga Rojas, Assoc. AIA, a senior project coordinator at GFF, both in Austin.

The murder of George Floyd, along with the surge of activism and self-reckoning that followed, was the catalytic force that mobilized a loose association of like-minded minority architects in Austin and San Antonio into a formal steering committee, and then into a fully incorporated 501(c)3 organization early this year as NOMA of Central Texas. The mission of the chapter is to “sustain the legacy of NOMA’s founding members by deepening the visibility, support of, and solidarity of underrepresented people in the field of architecture and beyond.” At the time of publication, an inaugural donation drive was being launched to fund a series of activities in support of that mission.

NOMA Central Texas will be the third chapter in the state, alongside Houston NOMA, which was established in 2005, and DFW NOMA, whose 1989 charter was reinstated in 2014. The national organization was established decades earlier, in 1971, by twelve Black male architects. One of those was John S. Chase, FAIA, who, in 1954, became the first licensed African-American in Texas and who subsequently established an influential practice in Houston. Today, NOMA has a membership of over 2,000 across a nationwide network of 33 local chapters.

The initial meetings of the NOMA Central Texas steering committee in the summer of 2020 attracted well over 50 people. Though there were some established relationships between participants, many were connecting with each other for the first time. Sophia Razzaque, AIA, an architect at Lake|Flato, described the level of energy and shared purpose as “reminding me of the dynamic conversations in my early professional career in New York and London.” There was a collective feeling of a call to action and an urgency to effect change within respective professional settings.

Consensus was achieved by the steering committee on key aspects of the organizational framework. One was a recognition of the benefits of creating a regional Central Texas chapter, rather than distinct groups for Austin and San Antonio. This was driven by a pragmatic “strength in numbers” reasoning, as well as by the anticipated benefits of exchange between the cities. The other was the need to develop a unique value proposition for the chapter. Whereas NOMA chapters have traditionally focused on championing Black professionals, the agenda of this one would need to also reflect the strong representation of Latino and Hispanic members, particularly females.

Since the beginning of the year, the executive board has been filtering areas of focus for 2021 out of the broad conversations of previous years. Six specific initiatives have been articulated, some of which adopt nationwide efforts spearheaded by NOMA National, while others address issues of local concern.

Project Pipeline is one of NOMA National’s most well-established programs — a summer camp that introduces minority students to the field of architecture, with the goal of increasing the number of underrepresented licensed architects (for example, currently only 3 percent of licensed architects nationwide identify as Black and 0.3 percent as Black female). NOMA Central Texas aims to direct $10,000 of its 2021 fundraising efforts to implement this program in Austin and San Antonio. Likewise, the 50 x 50 Challenge is a NOMA National endeavor to ensure that there are 50 new licensed Black architects in 2021 as the organization celebrates its 50th year.

In terms of homegrown initiatives, the Empower Speaker Series will be a quarterly event focused on elevating the voices and showcasing the work of chapter members. The inaugural event was held in November 2020 and featured Donna Carter, Austin’s sole female Black firm owner, who established her eponymous practice in the city in the 1980s. Cited by many on the executive board as their “spiritual leader,” Carter laid much of the groundwork, as a practitioner and mentor, that brought the chapter to fruition. Also in the works are: a symposium focused on affordable housing that will bring architects in both cities together with policy makers and housing scholars; an architecture/construction industry resource directory where industry partners, potential clients, and employers can search for BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, People of Color) professionals; and an Advocacy Day, modeled on the AIA tradition, where NOMA Central Texas will educate elected officials on issues central to the organization’s mission.

Many of the inaugural executive board members are already active on committees within other professional organizations, including AIA, the ACE Mentor Program, and ULI. All of these groups have increased their own efforts over the last year to address racial inequality in the fields of architecture and construction. To that end, the Central Texas NOMA chapter aims to serve as a thought leader for these peer organizations, sharing knowledge, amplifying and expanding efforts, and identifying where the gaps are.

Most importantly, the chapter is a means to build camaraderie, common cause, and support networks. Many of those interviewed described a lack of professional mentors with relatable life stories in the early years of their career. As a result, all of these individuals are passionate about the chapter’s potential to provide a space of belonging for emerging minority professionals as they find and define their own voices.

Though the chapter is in its infancy, the executive committee is not lacking for bold visions of how the organization hopes to impact practice and the profession in the region over the long term in ways that include, but go beyond, increasing numbers of licensed architects from underrepresented groups.

Gregory Street, who is serving as president of the executive board, recalls his days as student president of the NOMAS (National Organization of Minority Architecture Students) chapter at UT Austin. “We were cobbled together and didn’t really know what we were doing, and part of that was due to a lack of professors in the department to mentor us or a local professional chapter to guide us.… Faculty would frequently tell me that they badly wanted to increase diversity in the department, but they just couldn’t find qualified candidates.” Street dreams of a program like Project Pipeline transforming academic environments for underrepresented students into ones that are rich in mentorship and diverse curricula. He sees a critical need for professionals of color who have the ability to bring lived experiences to the culturally specific circumstances of underrepresented communities, and to break from the “Eurocentric hegemony” that governs frameworks for design thinking.

On this theme, others imagined a NOMA-specific awards program that leads the way on critically expanding the criteria for what is considered award-worthy architecture. Ingrid Featherstone, AIA, vice president of the executive committee, aspires to build an increased awareness inside and outside the profession of the underlying policies that affect the built environment and how these can be influenced by community action. Sophia Razzaque, who is serving as the planning and activities committee director, referenced a panel at the 2020 TxA Conference in which a panelist asserted that diversity was overrated because everyone has access to equal opportunity. She said simply: “I hope that in 20 years’ time, someone could say that at a conference and it wouldn’t be controversial, because it would actually be true.”

Lucy Begg, AIA, is co-director of Thoughtbarn in Austin. 

Read the original article on Texas Architects.

Overland Partners Welcomes Five New Shareholders

Overland Partners, a San Antonio-based firm providing architecture, planning, and urban design services, is thrilled to announce Michael Rey, Adam Bush, James Lancaster, Michael Monceaux and Samantha Schwarze have become new shareholders. “The design-thinking, technical expertise, professionalism, character and servant leadership consistently demonstrated by each of the new shareholders is tremendously valuable to Overland,” said Founding Partner and CEO Rick Archer, FAIA. “We are fortunate to bring these talented individuals into our shareholder group as they continue to serve our clients throughout the world and lead our firm towards a bright future.”

Michael Rey, AIA, NCARB
Senior Principal & Vice President of Studio Operations

Leading the studio in his role as VP of Operations, Michael strategically aligns projects and people across five distinct areas of Overland’s operations. Michael is an expert in each phase of a project’s development and a champion for our comprehensive design process to elevate design performance and measurable human transformation through commitment to Overland’s design methodology, The Human Handprint™. Michael has taught in both the Architectural and Construction Science Management programs at The University of Texas at San Antonio. He can often be found sitting on a design review panel and currently leads the Architecture Advocacy and Advisory Council. He is passionate about educating our youth in the community and participates in multiple organizations all aimed at children’s advocacy and mentorship. Michael earned his Bachelor of Environmental Design from Texas A&M University and holds a Master of Architecture from Yale.

Associate Principal & Institutional Area Director

Adam Bush is an Associate Principal at Overland and Area Leader for the firm’s Institutional markets, bringing extensive experience and depth of knowledge with complex building typologies to projects across the country. He collaborates closely with clients, construction partners and consultant teams to deliver transformational projects that create positive impact, are inspiring, and optimize available resources through forward-thinking solutions. Adam has broad expertise with sustainable building systems and strategies and has overseen the LEED certification process on numerous projects. His notable work includes the University of Texas at Austin’s College of Liberal Arts Building, the Paul L. Foster Campus for Business and Innovation at Baylor University, renovation and modernization of Austin Community College’s historic Rio Grande Campus in downtown Austin and the new STEM building currently under construction at Northwest Vista College in San Antonio. Adam earned his Bachelor of Architecture from the University of Texas at Austin, is a LEED Accredited Professional, and holds a Living Future Accreditation with the International Living Future Institute.

James Lancaster, AIA, LFA, LEED BD+C
Associate Principal & Visitor Experience Area Director

James Lancaster is an Associate Principal with Overland and leads the firm’s Visitor Experience area, developing market strategies and serving as a subject matter expert in the areas of non-profit, civic and cultural work. James celebrates the quality of all life through design leadership. Motivated by the potential of creating regenerative places, James approaches projects through the lens of creating harmony between the environment and the well-being of individuals and communities. By fostering a fun and inclusive design atmosphere, his teams are empowered to create immersive environments that facilitate healing, invite inspiration, and allow visitors to experience contemplation and joy. His notable projects include the East Gateway Lodge and Visitor Center at Zion National Park, ChildSafe Harvey E. Najim Children & Family Center, Austin by Ellsworth Kelly, and The Color Inside – a James Turrell Skyspace at the University of Texas at Austin. James received his Bachelor of Environmental Design degree from Texas A&M University and received his Masters of Architecture from Virginia Tech University. He serves on the board of the San Antonio Chapter of the American Institute of Architects, is a LEED Accredited Professional, and holds a Living Future Accreditation with the International Living Future Institute.

Michael Monceaux, AIA
Associate Principal & Hospitality Area Director

Michael is an Associate Principal and serves in a dual capacity as Technical Director overseeing the Quality Assurance/Quality Control process for project reviews at Overland as well as leading Overland’s Hospitality area developing projects in places of cultural and natural significance throughout the country. A well-rounded and versatile architect, Michael’s passion to lead projects from inception to completion, paired with his knowledge of building science have distinguished him among his peers for solution-driven design thinking on complex projects. Michael’s collaborative spirit working with large teams and his commitment to design performance result in hospitality design uniquely tailored to the client’s vision. With projects currently underway in Texas, Utah and California, the Hospitality area at Overland is redefining authentic placemaking and curated hospitality experiences under Michael’s guidance. Born and raised in Louisiana, Michael graduated from Louisiana State University and has been part of multiple National AIA and local award-winning projects

Samantha Whitney Schwarze, AIA
Associate Principal & Urban Design Area Director

Samantha Whitney Schwarze leads Overland’s urban design practice. Drawing on her background as an architect and urban designer, Samantha works collaboratively with clients, city stakeholders, business leaders and community members to strike a balance between social, economic and ecologically-focused desired outcomes from the urban scale to the realm of human experience. Samantha’s projects have taken her around the globe from mixed-use and multifamily developments to social housing communities, district framework plans, urban revitalization strategies, regional master plans, streetscape design, and military base redevelopment. Her recent work includes urban design strategies for the University of Texas at San Antonio’s new School of Data Science; overseeing analysis and development of the I-35 Opportunities & Constraints Report; and collaborating with constituents on the City of Lubbock’s Master Plan Update. Samantha’s work has also been published in the University of Texas School of Architecture’s Platform magazine. She holds a post-professional Master of Architecture with a specialization in Urban Design from the University of Texas at Austin and a Bachelor of Architecture from Syracuse University.

South Austin Gets Its Own Skyline at the Reimagined Brodie Oaks Retail Center


The $1 billion plan to redevelop South Austin’s Brodie Oaks shopping center into a 36.7-acre mixed-use district with more than 1,600 residential units, 1.1 million square feet of office space, restaurants, retail, a hotel, and 13.7 acres of open space reclaimed from the aging 1981 retail center’s massive parking lots is one of the most popular projects of its scale in recent memory.

Since its announcement late last year by the center’s owners, real estate development firm Barshop & Oles, we’ve had a hard time finding any significant opposition to the concept so far — it would significantly reduce the site’s impervious cover compared to the massively paved auto-centric environment of the current center, which is great news for the environmental health of the adjacent Barton Creek Greenbelt, and the project also plans to improve access to the greenbelt with a new public trailhead, adding significant pedestrian and bicycle infrastructure to the area.

A street scene at the redevelopment concept for the Brodie Oaks shopping center, with an inset on the upper-left corner showing the same perspective today. Click for a larger view. Image: Barshop & Oles / Lionstone Investments / Lionheart / Overland Partners / Armbrust & Brown / DPZ CoDesign / Speck & Associates / LJA Engineering / Nelson Nygaard / BOE Consulting Services

Amusingly enough, its representatives are emphasizing straight out of the gate that this development intends to create a very different sort of urban environment than the Domain, which has found itself unflatteringly compared with other large planned developments announced here in the last few years — uh, sorry about that. However, one underrated element of the Domain is its generous height allowances, which max out at 360 feet in some spots, and have enabled recent projects pushing the limits of non-downtown density and development scale.

Looking north towards downtown Austin over the reimagined Brodie Oaks shopping center, with an inset on the upper-left corner showing the same perspective today. Click for a larger view. Image: Barshop & Oles / Lionstone Investments / Lionheart / Overland Partners / Armbrust & Brown / DPZ CoDesign / Speck & Associates / LJA Engineering / Nelson Nygaard / BOE Consulting Services

The proposed Planned Unit Development (PUD) agreement for the Brodie Oaks project, which will eventually seek city approval as part of the pre-development process, doesn’t quite reach Domain heights — but for South Austin it still represents a huge milestone for density. The maximum height the developers say they’ll seek in the plan is 275 feet, allowing something like 20 floors for an office building and even more for the lower ceiling heights of a residential structure.

To help you visualize the proposed 275-foot height limit at Brodie Oaks, just remember that the 23-floor Rainey Street apartment tower SkyHouse Austin — seen on the right side of this image — is 264 feet tall. Not bad, huh? Image: Simpson Property Group

But how’s that going to look? It’s kinda hard to fully visualize the height and density possible here from the early conceptual renderings seen above, released by the Brodie plan’s developers last year — so we’re happy to see an additional aerial rendering of the full Brodie Oaks concept from its developers, found in a recent briefing to the city’s Environmental Commission, that better shows off this project’s potential new additions to the South Austin “skyline:”

Looking south over the redevelopment concept for the Brodie Oaks center, with a current view of the site from the same perspective in the upper-left corner. Click for a larger view. Image: Barshop & Oles / Lionstone Investments / Lionheart / Overland Partners / Armbrust & Brown / DPZ CoDesign / Speck & Associates / LJA Engineering / Nelson Nygaard / BOE Consulting Services

Like the rest of the imagery provided for the project, cosmetically speaking this view is strictly conceptual, and will likely look different when it’s built — but what’s important are the heights, which appear to be fairly accurate to that upper limit of 275 feet. It’s helpful to see the scale of this site’s potential, and if anything we hope during the PUD negotiation process the city advocates for additional buildings maxing out that height limit to provide as much housing as possible at this location, preferably including a significant quantity of income-restricted units. We likely won’t see a full build-out of the site for more than a decade, and construction might not start until late 2022 or 2023 — plenty of time to figure this kind of thing out.

The restoration of over 25 percent of the site to open space adjacent to the Barton Creek Greenbelt is made possible through heights of up to 275’ along the Loop 360 and S. Lamar Boulevard frontage. Affordable housing set asides equal to 10 percent of the bonus height will be included and dispersed throughout the site. The project is meeting the Imagine Austin vision of an Activity Center for Redevelopment in Sensitive Environmental Areas. Finally, repositioning the retail environment from single-use, auto-oriented to mixed-use and walkable will align the physical environment with the social and environmental trends.

— Brodie Oaks Redevelopment Briefing, Barshop & Oles

That’s what building up, not out, can do for Austin. You love to see it.


Read the original article on Austin Towers here.

UTSA begins construction on $90M downtown data science school, cybersecurity center

The University of Texas at San Antonio officially broke ground Monday on the $90 million School of Data Science and National Security Collaboration Center, the soon-to-be anchor of a high-tech downtown hub, President Taylor Eighmy said.

The onset of construction of the 167,000-square foot, six-story building on Dolorosa Street marked the beginning of UTSA’s expansion of its downtown campus. The School of Data Science and National Security Collaboration Center (SDS/NSCC) is slated to open in fall 2022 along San Pedro Creek.

The SDS/NSCC will serve as a bridge between UTSA and San Antonio’s tech companies, creating a path to set the university and city apart in the fields of data science and cybersecurity. Eighmy said he believes the school will help attract more companies with data science needs to the area by creating a talented workforce pool.

“We are working very closely together as a community to attract companies from California to move here who are in the data science and cybersecurity space,” he said. “We’re trying to grow our data science ecosystem here, and we’re trying to, at the same time, grow our workforce to accommodate the growth in that ecosystem.”

Eighmy predicted the university’s enrollment would increase by more than 10,000 students by 2028, to 45,000 from the current 35,000.

Construction on the building is funded with $75 million from the university’s permanent fund and a $15 million gift from philanthropist Graham Weston, a San Antonio real estate developer, co-founder of tech company Rackspace Technology, and chairman of Community Labs.

A rendering of the UTSA School of Data Science and National Security Collaboration Center along San Pedro Creek in downtown San Antonio. Credit: Courtesy / Whiting-Turner | Jacobs | Overland

Weston said it was important for UTSA to expand its downtown campus because “almost every great major city” has a university downtown. With the expansion, students will be able to live downtown and experience a new and different culture than UTSA students residing on the Northside main campus.

The School of Data Science will include about 86,000 square feet of classroom, laboratory, and research space for the 6,500 data science students projected to enroll there by 2022. UTSA’s 70-plus faculty members in cybersecurity, cloud computing, data analytics, and artificial intelligence will be located in the school, facilitating more frequent collaborations with government, industry, and community partners. The university’s Computer Science, Computer Engineering, Statistics and Data Sciences, and Information Systems and Cyber Security departments will reside in the new building, as well as its Open Cloud Institute.

The NSCC will have more than 81,000-square feet for innovation, laboratories, and research located within the School of Data Science. Currently operating at the UTSA Main Campus, the center is a cybersecurity field hub for government, university, and industry partners, according to a press release.

To read the original article on the San Antonio Report, click here.

Stanly Ranch Named One of Veranda’s 2021 Most Anticipated Luxury Hotel Openings

After the year we’ve had, our editors can’t wait for the day where we can travel to our favorite destinations—be it domestic or international—with ease and excitement. While most of us have been pushing our travel plans aside for the last 10 months, luxury hospitality groups from across the globe have been hard at work, putting the finishing touches on their most anticipated new properties and making them feel safer than ever for wary jet-setters.

We’ve sorted through more than 100 exciting new openings to share our top picks of the most anticipated luxury hotel openings of 2021. Our selections cover 6 continents, 11 countries, and more than 20 alluring cities and towns to help you dream up the ultimate vacation in the new year. Our projected travel trends for 2021 and promising news of a vaccine help us feel confident that there’s hope for an exciting getaway on the horizon.

Auberge Stanly Ranch: Napa Valley, California

Just 10 minutes from downtown Napa and 45 minutes from San Fransisco, Auberge Stanly Ranch is expected to be the perfect weekend retreat for wine lovers and wellness enthusiasts alike. The property is centered around experiencing serenity and nature and connecting with family in friends in a way that’s steeped in Napa’s rich winery estate traditions. Cottages that offer the best of indoor-outdoor living, a working vineyard and ranch to explore your inner oenophile, and a central great lawn that acts as the meeting place for the hotel will make a fabulous environment to reconnect with loved ones in a safe way once you all feel safe to travel.

Auberge Stanly Ranch is expected to open in late 2021 with rates starting at $700 per night.

To view the rest of the list, please see the original article on Veranda here.

Rosewood Property Company Completes Phase One of the Tobin Estates in San Antonio

The 286-home community is designed with the site’s rich history and stunning landscape of Heritage Oak trees and estate grounds in mind

Rosewood Property Company has completed construction on the initial phase of The Tobin Estates Apartments, a 286-home community located on Oakwell Court in the Oakwell Farms area of north San Antonio. This is the first of three phases planned for The Tobin Estates.

“Getting to this moment has been a wonderful journey, and our goal was to pay homage to the vision and legacy of Robert L.B. Tobin and the imprint he left of on this site,” said Rick Perdue, president of Rosewood Property Company. “The private estate home of the Tobin Endowment was preserved as part of the development. Additionally, residents will truly enjoy the architectural features masterfully blended into the natural beauty of the property.”

The community features exquisite amenities expected in a community with such rich history. The clubhouse, rooftop lounge, pool and nearby pool house lounge are the focus of the property. Overland Partners, an award-winning architecture firm with a long and rich history in San Antonio, designed the clubhouse and pool areas, bringing the site’s natural stone and beautiful hardwoods to life. The clubhouse’s floor-to-ceiling windows offer panoramic views of the tree-covered property at every turn, while the rooftop lounge features a scenic view of the community’s abundant live oaks as well as the pool area. A pool house lounge area stands above the pool and includes seating, a TV and two large grilling stations.

The 286-home community, which includes private garages, is now leasing one-, two-, and three-bedroom apartments. The one-bedroom apartment homes range from 718 square feet to 825 square feet with rent starting at $1,300. The two-bedroom apartments begin at 1,093 square feet with rent starting at $1,650. The three-bedroom apartment homes are 1407 square feet with rent starting at $2,350. The units feature high-end amenities such as stainless-steel appliances, hard surface flooring, quartz countertops, walk-in closets and glass enclosed showers.

The original home at Tobin Estates was designed and built in 1959 by long-time San Antonio arts patron Robert L.B. Tobin. It has served as the office of The Tobin Endowment since his passing in 2000. For many years, the estate also served as a popular events center for civic and community activities which hosted dignitaries, business leaders, politicians and San Antonio patrons of the arts.

Rosewood Property Company purchased the remaining 44 acres of The Tobin Estate in 2016 and quickly began making plans to create a community that would bridge its history with modern living, while also capturing and incorporating Tobin’s vision for the land. The apartments were created to draw in both natural design and mid-century architectural elements.

Today, the original Tobin Estate residence still stands on the grounds. It serves as a reminder of Mr. Tobin’s vision to create a distinctive and elegant community where people can live, work and play.

Phase two of Tobin Estates will include another community and additional amenities for all property residents.

Rosewood Property Company has also developed other projects in South Central Texas including Ventura Ridge and Pecan Springs, two luxury multi-family developments near the intersection of I-10 and Loop 1604 in San Antonio, along with Aura Avery Ranch, a 339-unit multifamily community located in north Austin, Texas.

Read the original Press Release here.

ChildSafe’s new Eastside home focuses on ‘healing and restoring’

by Steve Bennett

Built on a solid foundation of massive sandstone blocks flashing earthy shades of copper, brown, and gray in the sunlight, the Eastside headquarters of ChildSafe nevertheless feels like something about to take flight. A hang glider maybe. Or a paper airplane.

Its dark metal roof is full of startling angles and seams in various pitches that culminate in soaring winglike structures, adding a sense of wonder, almost playfulness, to a facility that has the most serious of missions: the care of abused children.

“The roof evolved to be a symbol of the mission,” said Michael Rey, senior principal and vice president of operations at Overland Partners, the designer of ChildSafe’s Harvey E. Najim Children and Family Center and known for other care-related projects like Haven for Hope and the Children’s Hospital of San Antonio. “It’s sheltering like a mother bird in a nest. It has these childlike angel’s wings that were part of the inspiration. It’s about holding all these entities together.”

ChildSafe staff, Child Protective Services social workers, San Antonio Police Department and Bexar County Sheriff officers, and lawyers from the district attorney’s office are all housed on site in their own place in the 65,000-square-foot building.

Previously located in two institutional buildings on U.S. Highway 90 and Loop 410 totaling 13,000 square feet, ChildSafe has a new home in a centrally located – on Interstate 10 at East Houston – center for therapy, investigation, and education.

Opened late last year, it’s meant to reduce the stress and trauma on children being shuffled around the county, having to retell their stories of abuse. Most of the children, ages 3 to 17, cared for at ChildSafe have been sexually assaulted.

One of the main design challenges was that while some areas needed to be strictly separated, others needed to be closely connected. Multiple entrances and walkways were crucial for preliminary meetings involving all the parties so that victims didn’t turn a corner and come face to face with their abusers. A basic U-shaped structured offered the best solution, given the parameters of the site.

“But everything had to be about healing and restoring,” Abernethy said.

ChildSafe CEO Kim Abernethy

ChildSafe CEO Kim Abernethy. Credit: Scott Ball / San Antonio Report

The process began five years ago after a 33-acre site along Salado Creek, adjacent to the Wheatley Heights Sports Complex, was identified. The design process was slow and thorough, as Overland’s architects and engineers gained input from the various entities involved as well as the surrounding community.

“We’re not a stylistic firm,” Rey said. “What you see here comes from a vision developed by those involved in the project. We believe that the physical environment can lead to human change.”

Overland Senior Principal and Operations Vice President Michael Rey.

Overland Partners Senior Principal and Operations Vice President Michael Rey. Credit: Scott Ball / San Antonio Report

That is one of the basic tenets of biophilic design, which has taken on much more gravity since its inception in the ’80s in the building of care facilities such as hospitals and treatment centers: connect building occupants more closely to nature through factors such as natural lighting and landscaping, even ventilation.

Sustainability is a key factor, so biophilic buildings like ChildSafe’s maximize energy and water savings through solar energy and creative uses of shade and rain runoff storage systems. Smart sensors regulate power supply to different sections of the campus. Even the air-conditioning condensation is recycled.

The 10-acre campus – about 20 acres of the original site was deeded to the city for green space – features large glass walls, terraces, and patios, which look out on roof gardens, a picnic area, a trail system, a healing pond, and an adventure therapy course.

The landscape at ChildSafe features a wide variety of trees, a stream, and walking paths.

The landscape at ChildSafe features a wide variety of trees, a stream, and walking paths.

The rope course at ChildSafe.

The rope course at ChildSafe.

ChildSafe is located on a 36-acre plot off Interstate 10 and East Houston Street just east of downtown.

ChildSafe is located on a 36-acre plot off Interstate 10 and East Houston Street just east of downtown.

Kim Abernethy, CEO of ChildSafe, looks out into the landscape behind the new building.

Kim Abernethy, CEO of ChildSafe, looks out into the landscape behind the new building.

A metal sculpture shaped like a gourd is permanently placed on the terrace at ChildSafe.

A metal sculpture shaped like a gourd is permanently placed on the terrace at ChildSafe.

According to the Journal of the American Institute of Architects, “in order to most effectively reach people with biophilic design, it’s best to aim for multi-sensory stimuli. While seeing nature is not without benefit, if people are also able to smell or hear it the positive implications are even greater.”

Research shows that biophilic design directly results in decreased stress, enhanced creativity, and accelerated recovery from illness. In the workplace, its benefits include the reduction of sick days.

Abernethy said that while children’s needs were foremost, planners also had to think about the people who work at ChildSafe – about 100 of them, from counselors to law enforcement, treating some 5,000 cases a year. So, there’s a large central kitchen area and meeting space banked by a wall of windows as well as amenities like a full gym for employees to blow off steam.

“They have an incredibly traumatic job, dealing with one of the most horrific aspects of our society,” said Abernethy.

From a physical standpoint, the architect’s challenge was to avoid making the project feel like an institutional building housing bureaucrats.

“A lot of facilities like this end up looking like a government building where you get a medical exam, and we didn’t want it to be like that,” Rey said. “At the same time, we didn’t want it to feel like the Hill Country, so we decided early not to use limestone. But we also didn’t want it to feel like a residence, which is where most abuse happens. We wanted to try and reflect Eastside culture in the design. And you’ll notice that there are no fences.”

The Valero Energy Foundation family waiting room at ChildSafe on Tuesday December 1, 2020.

The Valero Energy Foundation family waiting room at Childsafe. Credit: Scott Ball / San Antonio Report

Inside, a warm neutral palette throughout, from public spaces like the Kid Cave to family waiting rooms, is set off by pops of color in modular functional furniture and artworks borrowed from the University of Texas at San Antonio collection, including an untitled painting of grazing horses by Montana artist Ted Waddell in the foyer. Signage and graphics delineate various sections – therapy, law enforcement – through different colors and symbols, such as a stylized lotus plant, a boat, and a butterfly symbolizing metamorphosis.

“People need to know where they are in a building like this,” Rey said. “It seems irregular, but it’s actually organized very logically.”

ChildSafe’s cost, including land acquisition, design and construction, is $33 million, with a foundational lead gift of $5 million from San Antonio businessman and philanthropist Harvey E. Najim.

“He’s fabulous,” Abernethy said, “so thoughtful in his giving.”

Abernethy also employed some creative financing, including $24.5 million in investments through new market tax credits, a program that attracts private capital into low-income communities. About $15 million still needs to be raised, she said, making it clear that donations are still welcomed.

“People might ask, ‘Why do you have such a nice building?’ And my answer is, ‘Why wouldn’t we?’” she said.

Rey looks at the project “as an investment for the community and the mission of the organization.”

“Most of us don’t have to scratch the surface very far to find abuse in our lives or our histories,” he said. “It can get personal very quickly. As Kim likes to say, ‘The ultimate goal is to put ChildSafe out of business.’ Then this can become a community center, and that’s the way it was designed. We did our best to make it a place of reconciliation, restoration and hope.”


Read the original article on San Antonio Report here.

Catalyzing Transformation in Downtown Lubbock

Published in Platform: Urban Agencies—Projections for the Contemporary City, pg 50

Samantha Whitney Schwarze, M. Arch, Urban Design, 2013

Learning from Lubbock

Pivot Irrigation in Lubbock. Photo by Samantha Whitney Schwarze

As a graduate of the School of Architecture’s (UTSOA) Urban Design program and director of the urban design practice area at Overland Partners, I constantly strive to bridge what I have learned in school with what I continue to learn in my everyday work. For me, work is a fully immersive experience—a labor of love. It includes a heavy responsibility to research and engage with people to begin understanding the complex definitions of a place. While even then you cannot fully know the contours of a place and the many people who have shaped it, the process of pursuing that understanding builds trust and propels the work closer to identifying meaningful recommendations for how to move forward. Following this approach, each project yields a heightened awareness for the strategies and tools that work best in that context and teaches you something you did not know before.

Cities are like people: they have characteristics that are not easily summarized; they are alive; they are imperfect; they are constantly changing; they need our attention, our affection, and our care to grow, thrive, and become more equitable. While cities have unique narratives that make up their larger story, from their raison d’être to current challenges they face, they share common threads we can learn from and apply to other contexts as we continue to advance towards a more sustainable future.

Bringing people together to create a community-centered vision was at the heart of a recent master plan our team undertook for the car-centric city of downtown Lubbock, Texas. The goal, in part, was to bring life back to the center of the city and transform downtown into a more vibrant, walkable place—not just during the day, but in evenings, on weekends, and throughout the year. Over the course of four intensive months, through engagement, research, and collaboration, we presented the Downtown Lubbock Master Plan Update to City Council in January 2020, which was unanimously adopted as policy this past June.

What began as a straightforward scope of work to formally coalesce prior plans into a single policy document with a motivated master developer, Downtown TIF Board, and a City Council ready for action, resulted in a transformational experience that has built consensus around the future of downtown Lubbock while also deeply impacting me as an urban designer. What can be learned from Lubbock are transferrable lessons that are relevant to other car-centric cities in Texas who are coming to realize that a vibrant urban core is essential to their long-term growth and success, and that this requires re-examining their plans and policies. Lubbock can serve as a strong case study for cities facing similar challenges and seeking a new path forward.


During my time at the UTSOA, I immersed myself in case-study research and analysis of the physical and cultural contexts of a place by layering aerial photography, historic maps, and regulatory frameworks on top of one another. This method allowed me to study at a fine-grain level of detail how urban connections can be repaired and how new programs can be introduced to benefit a community and strengthen existing urban patterns. I learned how designing for higher densities, connecting with transit and other modes of mobility, and accommodating high-performing buildings can conserve energy, minimize waste, and optimize the carbon footprint of architecture and urban development in cities.

Mapping of Original Grid of Downtown Lubbock. Source: Overland

In practicing urban design at Overland, I have been able to apply my training and technical skills and combine them with an awareness for articulating a project’s social needs and human-centric goals, for which Overland is known. One of the core values and a key element to how we approach design is through collaboration. We invite stakeholders into the process by actively engaging, listening closely, and building consensus with the broader community to understand a project’s aspirations and desired outcomes.

Merging these experiences was key to a fruitful process for the Downtown Lubbock Master Plan Update when Overland was selected in 2019. Led by an all-female, all-UTSOA urban design alumnae team—Sam Whitney Schwarze, AIA (M. Arch. ‘13), Noel Kuwabara, AIA (MSUD ‘18), and Aparajita Bhatt, LEED ND (MSUD ‘17)—we worked closely to address each scope area thoroughly while ensuring that we met with and included city leadership, staff, downtown business owners and arts non-profits, historical society representatives, developers, and members of the community in the conversation. Using a workshop format, we had fun tools on hand to navigate difficult conversations and encourage active participation. This created an enthusiasm for the work and reignited momentum for downtown.

“They have immersed themselves in our community, they have gotten to know our personality, they have fallen in love with us.”
-Brianna Gerardi, Business Development Director, City of Lubbock

Overland’s involvement in Lubbock began in 2004 when Rick Archer, FAIA (B.Arch. ’79) and Bob Shemwell, FAIA (M. Arch. ’87) led the master planning efforts for the fledgling Louise Hopkins Underwood Center for the Arts (LHUCA), which at the time was a small non-profit comprising individuals who had a vision for a vibrant arts community, most notably, Louise Hopkins Underwood. Underwood’s vision and tenacity unfolded into a four-block campus with 64,000 square feet of exhibit space that hosts thousands of people every first-Friday of the month, year-round, as part of its free, self-paced First Friday Art Trail, a major initiative to emerge from the LHUCA master plan. It has become an incubator for community building through arts and culture, drawing people from all walks of life to the most exciting and well-attended event in what is normally a dormant downtown.

Parking Inventory. Source: Overland

The Master Plan builds upon the energy of First Friday and existing cultural assets in the city including LHUCA, the Charles Adams Studio Project (CASP) gallery and artists-in-residence studios, the Buddy Holly Center (museum to the famed music icon/Lubbock native) and focuses attention and infill development around emerging catalysts such as the recently completed renovation of Citizen’s Tower to house the City of Lubbock offices and the soon-to-be-completed Buddy Holly Hall, a state-of-the-art performing arts venue.

Unsustainable Growth and the Future of Downtown

On my first trip to Lubbock last summer, I arrived by plane where I saw from above what looked like immeasurable expanses of agricultural lands where water-thirsty cotton, corn, and sorghum have been a mainstay for more than a century. The regularity of the gridded landscape was peppered with center-pivot irrigation patterns. On a subsequent road trip by car from San Antonio with colleagues Noel and Aparajita, I began to appreciate how flat Lubbock is.

Stakeholder Workshop. Photo by Samantha Whitney Scwarze.

Approaching the South Plains by ascending and then reaching the plateau of the Caprock was a strange sensation. The flatness of the landscape combined with the bigness of sky distorted my perceptions. I was no longer aware of the speed at which we were driving and the distance we were covering. The view was punctuated by the sinuous lines of wind turbines following prevailing wind patterns as far as we could see. I began to wonder if we would ever reach Lubbock. How could there be a city in the center of this infinite horizon?

There is, in fact, a city in the middle of that vast landscape, one that continues to grow its low-density suburban limits boundlessly like the surrounding agricultural fields. The agrarian land structure, organized on a one-mile by one-mile grid, determined the original development patterns in the older areas of Lubbock. The bustling downtown, Texas Tech University, and surrounding residential neighborhoods such as North Overton, South Overton, Tech Terrace, and Rush were all organized, subdivided, and interconnected within this regular grid.

During the twentieth century, the city limits continued to grow one square mile at a time with the pace of growth accelerating in recent decades as new subdivisions have cropped up to the south and west. This growth continues to put financial strain on a city that has subsidized the infrastructure to support it. It also adds stress to the already-strained Ogallala Aquifer, which has sustained cotton and other non-native crops through droughts and other climate change effects in the region. A second highway loop is planned to connect the outer suburban developments, which could continue to spur corridor-type retail and low density and eventually blur the distinction between where the Lubbock ends and the neighboring towns of Wolfforth and Shallowater begin. This trajectory of growth is unsustainable, and the city knows it. The extraterritorial jurisdiction (ETJ) has now reached a land area of over 364 square miles for a population of just over 250,000. Lubbock’s recent comprehensive plan addresses the need for diversifying land use within the ETJ and encouraging infill development in key places across the city, especially downtown. The City has also committed to updating its unified development code (UDC) and will incorporate form-based codes into its regulatory frameworks, specifically in the downtown area.

Downtown Lubbock and the Master Plan focus

While the lion’s share of the City’s attention and investment has occurred primarily at the city’s periphery, downtown has experienced years of deferred maintenance and has only recently begun being taken seriously as a viable market for development. This development delay has left a mark on downtown in the form of a high degree of building vacancies, a lack of basic services and programs such as housing and local retail, and the value of real estate is exceptionally low.

The scale of downtown is also very large, disproportionately so for its population. Less than one percent of Lubbock’s residents live downtown while the central business district (CBD) is roughly comparable in land area to the CBDs of Austin, Houston, and Dallas, but with a fraction of the building mass, height, and density, and real estate valuation of those cities. Measuring roughly 300×300 feet, its block scale is similar to downtown Austin, but with even wider streets. The major street rights-of-way measure one-hundred feet, which is twenty feet wider than the Great Streets of Austin!

Broadway Spine. Source: Overland

The predominant land use is surface parking with little to no open space or parks. Over 145 acres are dedicated to the storage of cars with the perennial opinion that there is no place to park downtown. With few exceptions, downtown consists of buildings in dire need of renovation, some of which, in their current states, are not particularly valuable, while other buildings may contribute in mid-century modern historic value, but will need care to improve their status.

The vision is to reposition downtown as the urban center of Lubbock, with Broadway reawakened as a dynamic spine that connects Texas Tech University to the Canyon Lakes. Given the challenges of the large-scale land area, low real estate valuation, high degree of building vacancy, low absorption rate for new housing, retail, and other uses, the Master Plan targets specific areas of downtown in order to create a cohesive framework for open space and infill development that revitalizes the city.

Master Plan Vision. Source: Overland

The Framework is structured around the key zones of Broadway, Arts, and the Depot districts. Reinforcing these districts and their connections to Broadway will stimulate growth outward across the city over time. With a focus on preparing the city for prioritized improvements to the public realm through immediate, implementable change, the master plan addresses much-needed upgrades to parks, open space, and utilities infrastructure, repurposes existing historic building stock, and improves streetscapes to create a more walkable urban environment. Supported by a holistic approach to parking management, strategies for investment are intended to achieve the highest degree of impact with the least amount of capital investment.

A central component to the framework is a new civic park on Broadway to bring more people to downtown, creating a gathering space in the heart of the city. The park concept is intended to be incrementally implemented with pop-up activations to test ideas with key stakeholders, business owners, and the public. This cost-effective strategy will allow the city to quickly gain insight into what programs and activities will succeed over time as the space matures into a fully built-out civic park.

A new civic park on Broadway. Source: Overland

Key Takeaways

The intent in updating the Master Plan was to equip the City with tools to implement immediate change, including pilot programs in public art, placemaking, and updating zoning ordinances to elevate the standard of care for existing buildings, encourage a mix of uses, and relax parking requirements to encourage shared parking and walkability. Most importantly, the intent is to change the paradigm of downtown and ignite positive change in the mindset of the people that downtown is important to the vitality Lubbock and is home to an authentic experience not found elsewhere in the city.

The Master Plan includes an implementation matrix calibrated to the existing governance structure of the City with a roadmap forward for establishing a non-profit advocacy group with a broader group of stakeholders who are focused on the health and vitality of downtown Lubbock. As the shepherd of the Master Plan, I interviewed and convened the disparate groups who were not included or aligned before. Having a shared vision for the revitalization of downtown, and equipped with action items categorized in immediate, mid-term, and long-term timelines, this group will lead the implementation of the Master Plan.

Beginning with policy change for parking and vacant buildings, in addition to launching pop-up activations and public art installations, these first steps will send the message that downtown is coming back to life. Following, the design of the Civic Plaza, the development of a parking master plan, and the pursuit of an historic district will transform downtown immediately and over the coming years. Together, the elements of the master plan will shape memorable experiences that engage citizens, students, and visitors in personal and meaningful ways.

“Sometimes you hire consultants, and they swoop in, do whatever, and fly out. You guys have done a great job. You’ve built relationships in our community, you’ve taken it very seriously, and that’s something that’s not lost on us, we’re very thankful for that.”
-Dan Pope, Mayor, City of Lubbock

Project Team

Overland: Urban design/Master Plan lead
TBG: Landscape, parks, and open space
Seventh Generation Design: Historic preservation analysis
Landwise: Land use market analysis
Gabriel’s Horn Town Builders: Regulatory framework gap analysis
WGI: Civil, traffic, parking, utilities infrastructure
Hugo Reed: Utilities infrastructure

2020 Texan by Nature 20 Texas Monthly Feature

Original article published on November 19, 2020 in Texas Monthly
Click here to read the original article.

2020. It really is its own sentence. In 2020, we’ve become more aware of and grateful for nature’s role in our mental and physical health. In 2020, conservation science has moved forward. Nature cleans our air and water, provides food, offers cost effective solutions, powers our activities, and serves as a recreational outlet. Now, more than ever, conservation is critical, and Texas is poised to lead the world in conservation innovation.

With 168 million acres of land paired with leadership in multiple sectors, Texas is fortunate to have industry leaders who see the value in partnering with conservation initiatives and developing innovative, sustainable methods and processes within their business. Texan by Nature (TxN), a conservation nonprofit founded by former First Lady Laura Bush, is dedicated to uniting conservation and business leaders in these efforts. In a time of uncertainty, we’re excited to celebrate something that is certain – the incredible work industry leaders are doing in conservation.

While no industry or business is perfect, there are leaders producing real results. The Texan by Nature 20 (TxN 20) showcases innovation, commitment, and best practices in conservation from 12 industries. Independent research aggregated public data yielding an initial list of 2,000+ companies. A 17-point scoring matrix evaluated criteria such as use of green energy, spend on conservation, and operational innovation. A cross industry selection committee ranked 60 finalists to determine the final honorees.

This year, The TxN 20 is brought to you in partnership with Marathon Petroleum Corporation (MPC). After the selection committee finalized the 2020 honorees, MPC stepped forward to help TxN realize the vision of broadly sharing the best practices and innovation demonstrated by the TxN 20.

MPC’s support of the TxN 20 was a natural fit, aligning with the company’s commitment to taking actions that create shared value: empowering people to achieve more, contributing to progress in its communities, and conserving resources in its operations. With $18.7 million in community investment, 55,000 volunteer hours, 39,000 tonnes of waste diverted from landfills, and hundreds of millions of gallons in freshwater saved in 2019, MPC stands out as a conservation steward not only for Texas, but for the world.

The 2020 TxN 20 highlights similar industry leaders representing large companies and small across sectors as diverse as the Lone Star state itself. All of them believe our long-term prosperity and health is dependent upon the conservation of our natural resources, and that private industry has an opportunity to demonstrate a new, collaborative model of conservation for the world.



In Texas, we have the opportunity to live well thanks to four industries providing jobs and impacting our homes, workplaces, work product, roadways, and connection to one another. The Architecture, Design & Development, Construction & Manufacturing, Energy, and Technology industries play a major role in living well. The infrastructure, tools, and products these industries provide come together to power not only Texas, but the world. This is exemplified by Texas’ number one position in energy production, #2 position in technology jobs, unique architecture offerings, and rapidly growing population. As populations in the Lone Star State continue to grow, innovative principles and technologies will help meet our state’s infrastructure, living, and working needs while ensuring community health, economic prosperity, and conservation of natural resources.

American Campus Communities 

American Campus Communities (ACC), is the nation’s largest developer, owner, and manager of high-quality student housing communities, having served 200,000+ Texas college students. In every design, ACC prioritizes sustainability and believes focusing on materials and specifications improves student health and reduces operational costs, such as $4.25M saved with lighting updates.


CEMEX, is one of the largest global building materials companies in the world, providing products and services in 50+ countries. Their leadership goes beyond building materials with an operational focus on sustainability. For every acre of land under operations, CEMEX has 20.8 acres of land in conservation at its El Carmen Nature Reserve.

Cirrus Logic

Cirrus Logic is an American fabless semiconductor supplier that specializes in low-power, mixed-signal integrated circuits. They showcase a commitment to environmental responsibility through programs such as employee transportation solutions that reduce carbon emissions and volunteerism that keeps local green spaces clean.

Dell Technologies

Dell is one of the largest technology companies in the world, with 165,000+ team members across 180 countries serving 16M people. Dell makes an impact through collaborative partnerships that help reduce e-waste, encourage recycling, repurpose electronic parts, and restore habitat. Since 2015, Dell has used more than 35M pounds of closed-loop plastics.

Marathon Petroleum Corporation (MPC)

With 3,700 employees in Texas and 60,000 employees company wide, MPC is the largest independent petroleum refining, marketing, retail, and midstream business in the U.S. In 2019, MPC invested $18.7M into the communities where they operate, accelerating economic growth, environmental preservation, and resource conservation.

Overland Partners Architects + Urban Design

Overland provides comprehensive services in architectural design, urban design, and master planning throughout the world – designing well known places like the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center. Already achieving milestones in CO2 reduction, water reuse, and waste diversion, Overland is committed to transitioning to Net Zero Carbon on all projects by 2030.


With over 500 employees in Texas, Stantec provides professional consulting services internationally in planning, engineering, architecture, interior design, landscape architecture, surveying, environmental sciences, and more. Stantec annually invests ~$3M to develop innovative technologies and approaches to encourage the development and diffusion of environmentally friendly technologies.


Vistra is the largest competitive residential electricity provider in the country and serves nearly 5M residential, commercial, and industrial retail customers with electricity and natural gas. In addition to $700M invested in renewables, Vistra donated $3.5M+ to programs across 11 states in 2019 and has reclaimed 85,000+ acres of land.



With a population of 28.9 million expected to double by 2050, Texas both produces and consumes at Texas-sized levels. Four industries are at the forefront: Agriculture, Retail, Hospitality & Entertainment, and Food, Beverage, & Grocery. Home to America’s favorite grocery, Texas produces a variety of products which are featured on shelves across the nation. With 141 million acres of private working lands, Texas provides food and fiber for the world, while also providing critical wildlife habitat and ecosystem services. Beyond food and materials, Texas is the second largest hospitality employer in the U.S. and adds $400B to GDP through retail. From reducing emissions and investing in renewable energy to conserving water and reducing waste through circular recycling initiatives, industry leaders in these categories are using innovative approaches to deliver products and services to customers, while caring for the planet.

Farmer Brothers

Farmer Brothers is an American coffee roaster, wholesaler, and distributor of coffee, tea, and culinary products to the foodservice industry, serving 60,000+ establishments. While serving the finest products available, Farmer Brothers commits to sustainable cultivation, manufacturing, and distribution – diverting 527K lbs of waste in 2018 and 114 tonnes of CO2 in 2019.

Harvest Seasonal Kitchen

Harvest Seasonal Kitchen is a community-to-table restaurant that connects North Texas communities to great food while supporting local farmers, ranchers, and artisans. In 2019 alone, Harvest welcomed 75,000 guests, providing education about local growers, sustainability, and conservation – all while diverting waste and saving energy.


America’s favorite grocery store, H-E-B, provides fresh food and quality products, employing 120,000+ partners in 300+ communities. H-E-B illustrates innovative sustainability throughout their operations, from state-of-the-art, environmentally-friendly refrigeration and solar panel systems to turning used tires into rubber mulch, and more. H-E-B recycling efforts have saved the equivalent of 9M trees.

Plateau Land & Wildlife Management and Braun & Gresham, PLLC

Plateau and Braun & Gresham have been proudly serving landowners in Texas for 20+ years. To date, Plateau has worked with 4,304 landowners across 138 counties to increase land value by conserving, restoring and/or improving native wildlife and habitats through science-based solutions across 1,081,880 acres.

Sanderson Farms, Inc.

Employing 6,500+ people in Texas, with 18,000 employees spanning five states, Sanderson Farms is the third-largest poultry producer in the U.S. Committed to sustainable operations, Sanderson Farms saved over 620M gallons of water in 2019 through utilizing reuse water.


With 57,000 associates, Sysco operates 326 distribution facilities worldwide, serving more than 625,000 locations providing food products to customers who prepare meals away from home. Building on 4M gallons of water saved, Sysco pledges to divert 90% of waste from landfills, source 20% of electricity from renewables, and more by 2025.


With 151 Texas locations, Target’s 350,000+ team members serve guests at 1,900 stores globally. In 2019, Target reused ~151M hangers through its circular recycling program. From water conservation to renewable energy, Target is focused on better products, services, and experiences for their guests and for the planet.



If Texas were an independent nation, it would have the 10th largest GDP on earth. There are four industries providing services that help Texas maintain its economic advantage. Financial, municipal, transportation, and healthcare services allow Texans to enjoy jobs and access to some of the best and most innovative services in the world. Pairing the largest share of roadway and rail in the U.S. with 400 airports and healthcare focused on healthy communities through sustainability and green space, Texas is able to provide healthy living and travel. Even better, leadership in the financial sector provides the capital for continued focus on conservation and innovation. Leaders in these industries are spearheading research, shaping policy, reducing emissions, becoming carbon-neutral, using wetlands to filter water for reuse, and recycling tens of thousands of tons annually.


Citi, a leading global bank with ~10,000 colleagues in Texas, has approximately 200M customer accounts and does business in 160+ countries/jurisdictions. From financing $164B in environmental activities from 2014 to 2019 to their focus on sustainable forestry standards, Citi is committed to driving positive social and environmental impact.

City of San Antonio Office of Sustainability

San Antonio’s Office of Sustainability makes San Antonio a great place to live, work, and play by enhancing the environment, quality-of-life, and economic vitality of the city through sustainability programs. From 2011 through 2019 the city completed 414 energy efficiency projects, resulting in $1.6M in cost savings annually.

Dallas Area Rapid Transit (DART)

DART provides public transit services to move people around North Texas, serving 70M+ people annually. Public transportation is eco-friendly by nature and commuters pocket more than $4,000 per year riding DART. DART is also committed to sustainable operations with emphasis on renewable energy, recycling, and community gardens.

Dallas Fort Worth International Airport

DFW Airport, the second-largest U.S. airport by land area, spanning 17,2017 acres, exemplifies sustainability through land stewardship, waste diversion, energy use reduction, water reclamation, environmental education, and more. DFW Airport is also the first airport in North America and largest in the world to achieve carbon-neutral accreditation.

North Texas Municipal Water District (NTMWD)

NTMWD is a regional wholesale provider of water, wastewater, and solid waste disposal services for ~1.8 M North Texans. Serving a population expected to double by 2050, NTMWD focuses on natural solutions such as wetlands which treated  5B+ gallons of water for reuse and provided 1,800+ acres of habitat in 2019.

Texas Health Resources

Texas Health has a team of 24,000+ employees across 28 facilities. Texas Health strives to improve the health of people they serve and aims to operate sustainably through operational effectiveness, innovative care, and a high-performing culture. Evidence of their commitment includes over 21M gallons of water saved annually.