Technical Assistance Panels in Activity Centers

Technical Assistance Panels (TAPs) are one of ULI Washington’s signature programs, where a panel of 10-12 senior-level experts work over a concentrated timeline to evaluate and provide market-based feedback on a local development or land use challenge. Panelists are selected from the over 2,000 ULI members in the Washington District Council based on the specific nature of each assignment. Panel members are drawn from a variety of expertise areas including developers, property owners/managers, investors, designers, planners, engineers, market and financial analysts, as well as members of the public sector.

Technical Assistance Panels in Activity Centers

Through a strategic partnership, ULI Washington and the Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments (COG) will deliver three TAPs between 2017-2018 focused on identifying priority, catalytic strategies to maximize the impacts of investments in COG-designated Activity Centers. The panel takes place over 1.5 days, with a report of recommendations completed thereafter.

Application Process

         Applications for the 2017 cycle have closed. Stay tuned for future opportunities!

Cost of the TAP

A typical TAP costs $20,000; TAPs selected through this partnership are reduced by 50%. The cost to the city/county sponsor for this program is $10,000. For those sponsors who are selected, ULI Washington will offer a one-year complimentary Public Agency Membership Package to ULI. Of note, this membership package includes:

  • One full membership and two associate memberships;
  • Allows memberships to be transferred to other employees within the Public Agency;
  • Should you wish to add additional individuals as members, ULI can offer a reduced rate of $100 under this membership package.

Find out more about the specifics of what this package offers visit

Frequently Asked Questions

1) What is the benefit of holding a TAP?

Think of a TAP as a fast-paced brainstorming session with a group of outside experts who will use their extensive professional experience to respond to a set of specific questions posed by a local government sponsor. The panel of professionals who come together to serve on a TAP are leading experts in the real estate, land use, planning and community development fields, and are hand-selected for each TAP based on the specific local challenge and on the skill sets needed to address this challenge. The multi-disciplinary nature of the panel and the quick-response nature of the TAP process often allow for new, creative ideas to be explored and vetted with a group of experts who bring “fresh eyes” to the issue. To review past TAPs conducted by ULI Washington in the Metropolitan Washington Area, visit

2) What is the application process and how many ULI-COG TAPs are awarded?

The application period is open from Feburary 1, 2017 – April 3, 2017.  All applications must be submitted by 4pm on April 3, 2017 to Lamont Cobb at COG, and Deborah Bilek at ULI Washington,  The application includes information about expected deliverables; panelists; partner responsibilities between ULI Washington, COG, and the applicant; timeline; and cost. There will be three ULI-COG TAPs awarded.

3) What is the typical agenda for a TAP?

The TAP takes place over 1.5 days. On Day One, the panel listens and learns. They will tour the study area, hear a presentation from the city or county sponsor, and meet with key local stakeholders. On Day Two, the panel deliberates, collaborates, and develops recommendations, all of which culminate in a presentation that evening. A final written report is also developed and delivered approximately 12 weeks after the end of the TAP

4) What kind of stakeholder/public involvement is involved in a TAP?

Stakeholder involvement is a key part of the TAP process. Due to the short term (1.5 days total) timeline of a TAP, ULI Washington works with the TAP sponsor (usually a city or county) to identify a group of key stakeholders whose input will be essential to the panel in addressing the local challenge. During the first day of the panel exercise, the ULI experts meet with these stakeholders and listen to their views. The broader public is usually invited to hear the panel’s presentation on Day 2, and is encouraged to share feedback at that time. It is important to note that a TAP is a very short-term, exploratory exercise that usually serves as one step in a broader public planning process, which would involve more extensive public outreach.

5) What are the roles and responsibility of the sponsor?

The city/county sponsor will be responsible for developing a briefing book which provides the essential background information needed for the panel to tackle the assignment. In addition to staff time required to prepare the briefing book, additional time commitment is required on the part of local staff. While ULI Washington will take the lead on coordinating logistics for the 1.5 day TAP, the sponsor is responsible for providing the meeting rooms on-site, arranging to feed the Panel throughout the program, preparing an overview presentation, leading a site visit of the project area, and inviting local stakeholders to participate.

6) What is the cost of the TAP?

The cost to the city/county sponsor for this program is $10,000. ULI Washington and COG will each contribute $5,000 to cover the remainder of the TAP fee which totals $20,000.

About COG

The Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments (COG) is an independent, nonprofit association that brings area leaders together to address major regional issues in the District of Columbia, suburban Maryland and Northern Virginia. COG’s membership is comprised of 300 elected officials from 22 local governments, the Maryland and Virginia state legislatures, and U.S. Congress. Policies are set through the COG Board of Directors, the National Capital Region Transportation Planning Board, and the Metropolitan Washington Air Quality Committee. These three boards are responsible for a broad range of issues under the COG umbrella, including but not limited to transportation, land-use, public health and safety, education, the environment and more. To learn more about COG, visit

Questions may be directed to Deborah Kerson Bilek at ULI Washington,