ULI Washington News

A Year-end Note from the Chair

ULI Washington has had a terrific year and the level of engagement from the members is critical to the success of the district council.  As we are nearing the end of the fiscal year, we are pleased to announce that we are working our way through our primary strategic IMPACT goals under the themes of:  Housing Affordability, Economic Competitiveness and Disruptive Technologies. 

Housing Affordability
The ULI Washington Impact Task Force has contracted with two consultants to undertake a research study on the time, cost and effort of by-right vs. special density processes and their effect on the full range of housing supply, including affordable units. Part of this work will examine the community engagement process and how we can improve trust and identify common goals that will provide more housing for the population we need to fuel economic health and support thriving communities. We expect to have the study completed by the end of the year, with a roll-out of presentations and action items in 2019.

One component of this work is a survey of land use practitioners to gather input for case studies and roundtable discussions.  Not every member will receive the survey but if you do, please respond.  We need your input!

Millennials Inside the Beltway 2018
As a follow-up to our 2015 Millennials Inside the Beltway survey, we have collected the results for 2018 and are preparing the new data and report to be released in the fall. We were able to obtain over 1300 responses through our consultant and through partnerships with local real estate organizations, educational institutions, blogs, social media and many more. We thank all of you who participated and look forward to seeing what the respondents have to say! 

Economic Competitiveness
ULI Washington joined the MetroNow coalition to support efforts to secure consistent funding for Metro, improve operational efficiency and form a more effective governance structure. Stimulated by the promise of Amazon HQ2, we are pleased to see the region come together to fund our major transportation system and put ourselves in the best position to attract new businesses to the region and develop responsible land use policies for a growing population. 

Disruptive Technologies
ULI Washington presented three lively panel discussions at the 2018 Trends Conference: The Brave New World of Parking; Blockchain: Transforming Commercial Real Estate; and Emerging Technologies. We also hosted a panel discussion on The Future of Parking and the Impact of autonomous vehicles on development and our city streets. Another panel was held that discussed the Next Wave of Commercial Real Estate Technology.

On the organizational side, we have been working toward greater collaboration between the various Initiative Councils, interest groups and programs. The Regional, Sustainability, Housing, TOD and Place-making Initiative Councils conducted a joint session to identify common ground and develop ways to reinforce each other’s work. Just recently they conducted a joint tour of the NOMA/Union Market area. NEXT has also convened joint opportunities for members of the various flights to share their experiences and to expand their networks. Our vibrant YLG and WLI groups joined forces for an evening event at the Howard University Incubator to showcase new technology impacting commercial real estate. Different groups are seeking ways to call upon experts “across the divide” to fill their programs. We thank all of you for working toward a more connected ULI Washington. 

All of the above, along with your knowledge, energy and loyalty, is what drives member engagement at ULI Washington. It is our members who advance and sustain amazing programs and professional development opportunities like the Real Estate Trends Conference, Urban Plan, Case Studies, Executive Conversations, Technical Assistance Panels, the Leadership Institute, and the Peer Exchange Groups. The YLG Mentorship program that pairs seasoned professionals with those in their early careers had almost 300 participants this year.  In addition, the Lifetime Achievement Award Dinner honoring Ron Paul. convenes leaders in the industry and region to recognize an outstanding contribution by an individual.

Many of you are aware that ULI National has developed and approved a new Strategic Plan. As your representative, I attended the Strategic Planning Summit in February, the Spring Meeting in May, and the Summer Leadership Retreat at the end of June. While we support many of the new initiatives, we have concerns about others. ULI Washington, along with a majority of District Councils, submitted responses to the plan in time for the Spring Meeting. As a result of our feedback, a Working Group was formed with two Chairs of small, medium and large District Councils. While I am not on the Working Group, I have been in communication with our colleagues across the country and was an active voice at the Leadership Retreat. To emphasize our position, Bob Harris, Chair of the Advisory Board, penned a letter on behalf of our long-standing members and sponsors, which was sent to the Chairs of the Global and Americas Board Chairs, the Working Group Chair and the Chairs of the large District Councils. It is our goal to communicate the strength of ULI Washington and the District Council Network as the engine that drives the organization.

The camaraderie and sheer power of your expertise and participation is what makes ULI Washington a great organization. We believe that member engagement drives impact and impact strengthens member engagement. THANK YOU!

Yolanda Cole, FAIA, IIDA, LEED AP Sr. Principal

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