Boston, MA Marilyn Hett, CRE, manager, Hillsborough County Economic Development Department. Tampa, FL, is the 2017 recipient of the James Felt Creative Counseling Award from The Counselors of Real Estate (CRE) professional association. The award celebrates achievement and ingenuity in real estate counseling by a member of the CRE organization.
Hett advised and sometimes mentored more than 90 mostly non-profit organizations that applied for financial assistance to the Hillsborough County Historic Preservation Challenge Grant Program. She continued to counsel them about their construction or preservation plans for historic buildings, fundraising, and implementation process to ensure completion of projects. Since the program’s inception in 2012, over $6 million in funding has been awarded. Conceived as a two year commitment by the board of county commissioners of Hillsborough County, the program was extended because of continued success in attracting applicants and accomplishing preservation goals. The annual budget is now $1 million.
The program promotes the historic preservation of commercial and special use buildings, heritage tourism, landscapes, and related business and economic development within the county. Hett developed a complete administration program, and with her expertise in commercial, mixed-use, multifamily, hotel, governmental and historic real estate, and provided counseling resources to property owners who took part in the program.
Some of the properties that have benefitted from Ms. Hett’s counseling include:
• The Al Lopez Baseball Museum -restoration of the late Baseball Hall of Fame player/manager’s early-1900s-era casita (home) into an historic museum.
• Historic Federal Courthouse (contributing to restoration of the main atrium of the 1905 building, now a luxury hotel).
•The Tampa Theatre (renovations to the 1926 performance arts building).
• Fort Homer W. Hesterly Armory (a $30 million restoration, re-opened in December 2016 as a Tampa Jewish Community Center with art, health and social programs as well as a Florida-Israel Business Accelerator).
• The Lions Eye Institute for Transplants and Research (restoration of the 1908 Lozano Building, a former cigar factory, into a medical facility).
The Hillsborough County Historic Preservation Challenge Grant Program is one of the only program of its type in the state of Florida. Approved applicants receive grants only if they raise funds matching the amount of the grant and complete the project. Hett remains in consultation with each grantee throughout the project life.
Joe Douglas Prickett, CRE, investment strategy and research consultant, Houston, Texas, chaired the Felt Award committee—composed of CRE-credentialed members of The Counselors of Real Estate who work in a variety of property specialties and real estate sectors. He noted that Ms. Hett already had the responsibility for administering a $30 million tourism development program for the state of Florida when she was asked to oversee the Historic Preservation Challenge Grant Program.
“The Felt Award means a great deal to me because it increases visibility for historic preservation and adaptive reuse – and it is a peer-review selection process” Ms. Hett said. She and the challenge grant program also received the 2017 Outstanding Achievement Award from the Florida Trust for Historic Preservation.
The James Felt Award for Creative Counseling was established in 1992 in honor of the late CRE founding member James (“Jack”) Felt, a prominent real estate pioneer who was a former chairman of the New York City Planning Commission. Submissions to the committee are judged on scope of the assignment, the Counselor’s role, creativity and innovation applied in addressing the initiative, and the public or social benefits achieved.
The Counselors of Real Estate®, established in 1953, is an international group of high profile professionals including members of prominent real estate, financial, legal and accounting firms as well as leaders of government and academia who provide expert, objective advice on complex real property situations and land-related matters. Membership is selective, extended by invitation only. The organization’s CRE (Counselor of Real Estate) credential is granted to all members in recognition of superior problem solving ability in various areas of real estate counseling. Only 1,100 people in the world hold the CRE credential.