Paul Layne

Paul Layne


Paul Layne

CEO at Howard Hughes Corporation

Paul Layne
By July 27, 2020 9:00 AM

Paul Layne was appointed CEO of The Howard Hughes Corporation in the fall of this year, replacing David Weinreb, amid a broader restructuring of the company.

“We wanted to streamline the direction of the company,” said Layne, who has been with HHC since 2012. To accomplish that, the company embarked on a $2 billion sale of non-core assets and focused on their core business, master-planned suburban communities.

HHC got its start, and its name, from Summerlin, a 22,000-acre master-planned community in Las Vegas, on land assembled by the legendary magnate Howard Hughes. (Summerlin was Hughes’ grandmother’s maiden name.)

HHC is moving its headquarters from Dallas to The Woodlands, a 28,000-acre neighborhood in Houston, Tex., where it also completed its biggest purchase of the year: the $565 million acquisition of two office towers, spanning 1.4 million square feet, from Occidental.

One of the few exceptions to HHC’s streamlined portfolio is its prime asset in New York City, the South Street Seaport, where it has a long-term lease with the city on multiple properties, and has been slowly redeveloping for a decade. The firm developed Pier 17, a four-story office-and-entertainment complex; it’s rebuilding the historic Tin Building; released plans for a new building on the site of the Fulton Fish Market, and is seeking approval to build a residential tower on Water Street, at the edge of the low-rise district.

But Layne said it still fits with their view on real estate. “Yes, it is different from the master-planned communities. But it brings a sense of place,” he said. “It has the same understanding of, if you think about it, what it takes to be a community.”

HHC had planned to open two much-anticipated restaurants at Pier 17 this summer, including a chophouse by Andrew Carminelli, which was announced in 2018, but those plans are now on hold. “We were well on our way to filling the spaces, finishing the restaurant construction, when the pandemic hit,” Layne said.—C.G.

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