ULI to Advise City of Bellevue on Transforming Wilburton Commercial Area into Catalyst for Economic Development


WASHINGTON – May 13, 2016 – (RealEstateRama) — Next week, a panel of nationally renowned land use, real estate development, design and urban planning experts convened by the Urban Land Institute (ULI) will visit Bellevue’s Wilburton Commercial Area to evaluate how to transform the neighborhood into a catalyst for economic development that benefits the city and the Puget Sound region. ULI is a multi-disciplinary research and education institute dedicated to responsible land use and the creation of thriving communities worldwide.


The panel, assembled through ULI’s advisory services program, will be visiting Bellevue May 15-20 to provide recommendations on the role that a revitalized Wilburton commercial area could serve in connecting the rapidly growing and urbanizing Downtown and BelRed neighborhoods. Given its proximity to multi-modal transportation enhancements, its promising location between already thriving neighborhoods, and the transformative opportunity of the Grand Connection, the panel will be evaluating its potential as a unique destination that complements and adds to the city’s appeal.

The panel, which includes experts representing all aspects of land use, urban design and urban development, is being sponsored by the City of Bellevue. During the visit, panelists will tour the Wilburton area and meet with stakeholders and members of the local community. After carefully analyzing the area and completing the interviews, the panel will then spend two days framing their recommendations and drafting a report that will be presented to the public.

The advisory panel is being chaired by ULI leader Andrew Irvine, principal at RNL Design in Denver. “We’re excited to bring ULI’s expertise to Bellevue,” Irvine said. “We are aiming to demonstrate how the revitalization of Wilburton’s commercial area can contribute to the metropolitan area’s overall economic prosperity, livability, investment appeal, and competitiveness.”

Irvine will be joined by panelists Dan Conway, president and director of marketing and economics, THK Associates, Inc., Aurora, Colorado; Allen K. Folks, director of design and planning, Ascent, Sacramento, California; April Anderson Lamoureux, president, Anderson Strategic Advisors, LLC, Milton, Massachusetts; Zane Segal, managing partner, NorthGulf ZSP, Houston; Jamie Simchik, principal planner, Fort Hill Places, Boston; and Melani V. Smith, urban planner, Los Angeles.

Now in its 69th year, the ULI advisory services program 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. Panels have developed more than 600 studies for a broad range of land uses, ranging from waterfront properties to inner-city retail.

According to Thomas Eitler, senior vice president of ULI’s advisory services program, the strength of the program lies in ULI’s unique ability to draw on the substantial knowledge of its 38,000-plus members, including land developers, engineers, public officials, academics, lenders, architects, planners and urban designers. “The independent views of the panelists bring a fresh perspective to the land use challenge,” Eitler said. “The advisory services program is about offering creative, innovative approaches to community building.”

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.

NOTE TO REPORTERS AND EDITORS: The ULI panel’s recommendations will be presented at 8:30 a.m. on Friday, May 20, in the City Council Chambers of Bellevue City Hall at 450 110th Avenue Northeast in Bellevue. The event is open to the public.

About the Urban Land Institute
The Urban Land Institute is a nonprofit education and research institute supported by its members. Its mission is to provide leadership in the responsible use of land and in creating and sustaining thriving communities worldwide. Established in 1936, the institute has more than 38,000 members worldwide representing all aspects of land use and development disciplines. For more information, please visit uli.org  or follow us on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, and Instagram.

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