ULI Advisory Services Panel to Explore Options for Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Library

Recommendations to be made November 18 in Public Meeting at Library

For more information, contact Trisha Riggs 202/624-7086, email: priggs@uli.org

WASHINGTON (November 10, 2011) – An all-volunteer advisory services panel from the Urban Land Institute (ULI) will be examining the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Library in downtown Washington next week to provide recommendations and alternatives for the rehabilitation and redevelopment of the facility, which serves as the city’s central library. The District of Columbia’s Library System is sponsoring the panel.

Through its highly acclaimed advisory services program, ULI assembles experts in the fields of real estate and land use planning to participate on panels worldwide, offering recommendations for complex planning and development projects, programs and policies. The strength of the program, created in 1947, lies in ULI’s unique ability to draw on the expertise of its nearly 30,000 members, including many of the world’s most knowledgeable and experienced land developers, public officials, lenders, architects, land use planners and urban designers.

The eight-member panel convening for the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Library assignment will spend four days meeting with numerous stakeholders regarding future use of the facility, and extensively examining the 440,000-square-foot historic building, designed in 1968 by renowned architect Mies van der Rohe and completed in 1972. The panel will focus on the disposition of the library, the potential for additional floors and whether the library function should stay in the building or move to a new downtown location. The panel’s recommendations will be presented in a public meeting at the library at 9 a.m. on Friday, November 18th.

The chairman of the panel is ULI Life Trustee Wayne Ratkovich, president and chief executive officer of The Ratkovich Company, a Los Angeles development firm lauded for its success in producing developments that improve the quality of urban life. “The advisory services panel program enables ULI to advance its mission of providing ‘responsible leadership in the use of land’ while at the same time enabling cities and property owners to gain meaningful and effective direction as they deal with land use challenges,” said Ratkovich, who has chaired numerous panels over the years. “Panel members are selected for each panel based upon the skills they bring to the assignment. The Martin Luther King Jr. Library panel will be a challenging assignment in one of the most dynamic and visible locations in Washington. I look forward to the week ahead.”

The unbiased analysis from a wide variety of land use experts, coupled with substantial input from representatives of the communities, “helps build consensus to support an effort that benefits the entire community,” said Thomas Eitler, vice president of ULI’s advisory services panel program. “The fresh, outside view provided by the panel is the key to achieving productive results. We seek possibilities and opportunities that might have been overlooked. The advisory services panel program is all about seeing things a different way. Our goal is to provide practical, feasible solutions to enhance the economic and social fabric of a community.”

ULI advisory panels approach each assignment from all perspectives, including market potential, land use and design, financing and development strategies, and organizing for implementation. Each panel proposes practical solutions that serve as a blueprint to move the development forward. Panelists have developed strategies for a broad range of land uses, including downtown revitalization; retail/entertainment development, inner-city neighborhood revival, affordable housing, brownfields development, public facility sites such as stadiums, arenas and convention centers, transit-oriented development, resort and master-planned communities, and military base reuse.

Past sponsors of ULI advisory services panels include: federal, state and local government agencies; regional councils of government; chambers of commerce; redevelopment authorities; private developers and property owners; community development corporations; lenders; historic preservation groups; non-profit community groups; environmental organizations; and economic development agencies.

About the Urban Land Institute
The Urban Land Institute (uli.org) is a global nonprofit education and research institute supported by its members. Its mission is to provide leadership in the responsible use of land and in sustaining and creating thriving communities worldwide. Established in 1936, the Institute has nearly 30,000 members representing all aspects of land use and development disciplines.