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Retail and mixed-use development play directly to our core strength: a highly collaborative process.

“Creating great ‘people places’ is a signature of our work in commercial design; it is the next-level thinking sparked by seamless collaboration among our specialist teams.” Billy Lawrence, AIA

Modern retail environments should be a unique reflection of place, where culture, climate, geography, and neighborhood context shape the character of buildings and public spaces. Our commercial portfolio reveals this kind of uniqueness of place, over a wide range of both shopping centers and mixed-use developments with retail, restaurant, office, and residential components. “Our design process, especially in large-scale retail projects, involves careful collaboration with the client’s leasing, marketing and branding teams, giving clients the advantage of strong ‘placebranding,’’ notes founding principal Billy Lawrence.

Mixed Use Development “Mixed-use development often has a residential centerpiece, an area where we are in our element,” explains senior partner Jim Bailey, whose work with multifamily housing and planning spans more than two decades. “Our multifamily team has overseen construction of thousands of individual living units in dozens of communities.” In several projects, the team has been called upon to sensitively integrate new construction into a legacy neighborhood context. An expanding portfolio of mixed-use projects demonstrates our ability to “see all sides” of a project, from site planning to architectural design and construction management, and showcases our context-sensitive design aesthetic. “Our depth of local experience in developing housing, both in new construction and in historically significant retrofits has made us a top-of-mind choice in housing development in Texas,” adds senior principal Jim Bailey.

Retail Retrofit
The idea of a “third place,” a social realm outside home and work is especially relevant now, a post-pandemic shift in public preference. “People want to be outside now. We not only crave connection with people more than ever, but we really want to meet up outdoors to walk dogs or grab a coffee,” explains senior partner Billy Lawrence. “In a recent retail retrofit project at The Rim Commons in San Antonio, we helped the owners reclaim valuable public park space from car circulation, creating the center’s vibrant new restaurant and entertainment hub. We are able to visualize overlooked opportunities, and help owners to capitalize on them.”

When The Shops at La Cantera was awarded the ICSC Global Development Award, it was a bit like winning the Academy Award for Best Picture. It also validated the strength of the design and development team’s close partnership, as the metrics for the award are for both good design and financial performance."

Commercial Interior Design Team Leaders: Victor Castillo, Keith Watson, Nidia Settembre

Senior Principals Irby Hightower and Billy Lawrence lead design for retail, multifamily, and mixed use development, bringing disciplines of design architecture, planning, and placemaking to commercial projects.