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The History of Howard Hughes: Our Founders

February 28, 2024

Howard Hughes was founded in 2010, but our history dates back much further. Our real beginnings are built on the legacies of four great American pioneer placemakers. Our company has maintained an unwavering commitment to our founding principles of stewardship: respect for nature, inclusivity and innovation. Our portfolio of master planned communities—including Summerlin, Nevada; Downtown Columbia, Maryland; and The Woodlands, Texas—are consistently ranked among the best American places to live, work, play and discover. We carry our founders’ vision of better living through design in every project, believing that people are indeed shaped by their environment and uplifted by good design. 

Our latest series, The History of Howard Hughes, will spotlight the pivotal moments that helped define the type of business we are today. It all starts with the creativity exhibited by the many visionaries that inspired us to design world-class master planned communities, like the upcoming Teravalis.   

Howard Hughes

Howard Hughes has become a pivotal figure in American history and a household name throughout the world. He is remembered as a man committed to innovation, creativity, and devotion to his work. Throughout his life, he became a leader in several industries, most notably as an aerospace engineer, but also a successful business leader, film producer, and philanthropist.  

Despite all his success throughout his life, he still managed to make time for one other passion real estate. Hughes acquired several plots of land throughout his life, but most notably, one of his largest acquisitions was a 25,000-acre parcel along the western edge of the Las Vegas Valley, making him the area’s largest landowner. This land would eventually become the award-winning master planned community Summerlin, named after Hughes’ grandmother, Jean Amelia Summerlin.  

Summerlin has grown exponentially since its inception. As of 2023, over 120,000 residents call Summerlin their home, with over 54,000 homes. The community also includes over 230 parks and two dozen schools, among countless hotels, retailers, and medical centers. 


Victoria Ward

Victoria Ward is a name well-known throughout Hawai’i. She was the daughter of James and Kaikilani Robinson and grew up proficient in both English and Hawaiian. She eventually married successful businessman CP Ward, and the two of them went on to purchase 100 acres of property between the ocean and Thomas Square in Honolulu. 

Victoria would become a staunch supporter of Hawaii’s culture and natural beauty. The land she and CP purchased would go on to become Ward Village, a community committed to honoring the history of the area and preserving the sanctity of the land’s natural resources through innovative sustainability measures.  

James Rouse

James Rouse is known as the grandfather of master planned communities. His efforts and contributions have led to the building of some of the most influential communities in the United States.  

His company, the James W. Rouse Company, was responsible for building some of the very first shopping malls and the first successful food court. Over the company’s lifespan, the Rouse Company helped develop over 35 massively successful shopping centers and master planned communities between 1953 and 1997.  In 1995, Rouse was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom for his “uplifting work in American cities.” 

Rouse’s legacy and influence on the American landscape continues to this day through the work of Howard Hughes. His vision to reimagine how people live, work, and play is encapsulated within every community we build, including our upcoming community of Teravalis 

As Teravalis emerges, we look to our founders’ guiding principles and vision to create a truly unique master planned community. James Rouse famously believed that communities should be “a garden for growing people.” We aim to take this idea one step further. With innovative sustainability initiatives and multigenerational housing, we want Teravalis to be a place where entire generations can grow for decades to come. 

George Mitchell

George Mitchell was a successful businessman and land developer whose contributions helped pave the way for new types of sustainable development, including clean energy, water, and natural gas. 

After attending a symposium hosted by the Rouse Company, Mitchell was inspired by the concept of building truly sustainable townships. This would lead him to acquire over 28,000 acres of land in Piney Woods, an area in Southeast Texas. Over the years, this land became The Woodlands, one of the most celebrated master planned communities in the nation, winning several awards and becoming a shining example of sustainable town development.   

About Teravalis™

Teravalis is primed to be a 37,000-acre premier master planned community located in the West Valley of the Phoenix metropolitan area, in Buckeye, Arizona. Translating to “land of the valley,” Teravalis is positioned between the White Tank and Belmont Mountain ranges and is committed to embracing the natural High Sonoran Desert beauty. Utilizing innovative technology and sustainable planning, the community will feature unparalleled amenities and wide-open spaces to explore and discover. Teravalis is a community of Howard Hughes, known for its mission to curate vibrant communities that elevate the everyday, creating meaningful moments in great places where people can live their best lives – and thrive for generations to come.