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Howard Hughes Corporation: A Real-Life Version of SimCity

Howard Hughes Corporation (NYSE: HHC) isn't your typical commercial real estate developer. The company controls massive amounts of land and uses it to create demand for commercial assets in ways other developers cannot. In this Fool Live video clip, recorded on Oct. 1, Fool.com contributor Matt Frankel sits down with Howard Hughes' CEO, David O'Reilly, to learn about some of the master-planned communities in the company's portfolio.

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Matt Frankel: I want to ask this next question a little bit differently than I had planned. You mentioned all your master-planned communities. I was going to ask which has the most value creation potential, but that's a strange way to ask it. The way I would like to say, could you give us an overview of how mature each community is relatively? Which ones you are most built out? Which ones do you still have the most vacant land and things like that?

David O'Reilly: Absolutely. Again, I'm glad you asked it that way because I hate to choose between my children. That's like saying which of your kids do you like best? They all have incredible opportunity, but all the different points of the master-planned community cycle.

Our youngest community of the Woodland Hills in Bridgeland in Houston are rapidly selling homes. We have record home sales over the past two years in those communities. But that is in the generating of residents, and at 11 years old, Bridgeland is at that tipping point of just starting commercial development. We have our first two multifamily buildings there, and we're just starting the beginning stages of our town center. That live, work, play, mixed-use environment where we'll have offices, shopping, a new grocery-anchored shopping center that are all in the pre-development phases right now. Slightly older and slightly in terms of a master-planned community is 20 years.

Summerlin has been around for 30 years selling land since the early '90s, and it still has about 3,000 acres of residential land to go, but endless opportunities for commercial. That city center has really come alive with a million square foot outdoor dining and shopping experiential center, two Class A office buildings, two Class A multifamily buildings. The Las Vegas ballpark, which is home to the Oakland A's AAA team, the Las Vegas Aviators, that has really started to shift from just residential to a great mix between residential and commercial.

In the Woodlands, we have very few residential acres left, that's 700 commercial acres with endless opportunities for more commercial development to meet the demands of the growing businesses and the growing retail companies that want to be in the Woodlands to take advantage of our incredible demographics.

Then the oldest community was founded by Jim Rouse, he is the father of master-planned communities, developing the first. What he likes to call garden for people to grow in Columbia, Maryland. There we don't have any residential land left, it's completely sold out, has been for many years, but we have the opportunity to complete Jim Rouse's original vision by developing Downtown Colombia around the Merriweather Post Pavilion, and the Columbia Mall, on Lake Kittamaqundi bringing in more multifamily, medical office, meeting the demands of those consumers that want to be there.

Matthew Frankel, CFP owns shares of The Howard Hughes Corporation. The Motley Fool owns shares of and recommends The Howard Hughes Corporation. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.


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