Fred Evins is a Texas Registered Architect and Project Manager with the Real Estate Services Office of the City of Austin, Texas. He is currently assisting the City in acquisition of a new office building for its planning and development services departments. Prior to that, he worked 11 years as a Redevelopment Project Manager in the City’s Economic Development Department (EDD), where he negotiated and administered public-private land development agreements used to further the City’s redevelopment and sustainable community initiatives.
Fred’s downtown Austin projects focused on the redevelopment of underutilized City property, leveraging the properties to achieve additional public benefits while expanding the tax base and adding to downtown vitality. Fred’s downtown projects include the 2nd Street District (which produced a new downtown shopping destination as well as new multifamily, office, civic, cultural, and hospitality product) and the Seaholm Redevelopment District (which includes dense mixed-use redevelopment of the former Seaholm Power Plant, Green Water Treatment Plant and Austin Energy Control Center properties). He also managed the City’s investments in private development projects such as the Triangle, Robertson Hill Apartment, and Domain I developments.
You co-chair the Housing Member Council, what are the priorities of the council and how has your involvement in the council helped you? Over the last year the HMC has been focused on issues surrounding household affordability, the supply of missing middle housing stock, and the City’s rewrite of the land development code (CodeNEXT). As many recognize, these issues are much intertwined. I have enjoyed learning more about these complex topics (and how each affects the other) from HMC members, guest speakers, and the broader ULI membership. ULI’s CodeNEXT initiative also provided a conduit for our collective feedback to the City’s CodeNEXT team. And, just as important, the HMC members are a fun group of professionals to exchange ideas, observations and insights with.
As a staff member of the City of Austin you had been involved with ULI Austin for several years, what recommendations do you have for other public sector employees to enhance their involvement with ULI and gain the most from their membership? I would tell public sector employees the same thing I’d tell someone in the private sector … if you’re involved in any aspect of the land development industry (policy, regulation, design, engineering, construction, finance, real estate, law, etc.) you’ll benefit from the opportunities ULI provides to learn about other industry segments, as well as emerging trends in your own. I recommend attending ULI events at the local, state and national level, as well as joining a local member council or committee that interests you. You will expand your network of contacts throughout the development industry and gain insight about locally relevant policy discussions. The Texas forums also provide opportunities to tour inspiring new projects from various product categories, and pick the brains of the people who delivered them.
CodeNext is an important effort for the City of Austin and the development community, how do you see ULI Austin playing a continued role in updating the code? One of the core tenets of ULI’s mission is to educate others about responsible land development practices. ULI members helped shape Austin’s comprehensive plan, Imagine Austin, which identified the need to update Austin’s land development code to support comp plan objectives. ULI should continue to review CodeNEXT as it’s developed, adopted and eventually updated, to help community leaders ensure the code is aligned with the comp plan and is informed by land development best practices, case studies, and locally relevant facts. ULI can and should be the voice of reason in what can be an emotionally-charged and uninformed community discourse.