New ULI/LA Chair Brings Renewed Focus on Housing

Charmaine AthertonULI Los Angeles, a District Council of the Urban Land Institute (ULI), has named community development banker Charmaine Atherton its new Chair. The Senior Vice President of Bank of America Merrill Lynch will lead the land-use organization for a two-year period, succeeding David P. Waite, a partner with the law firm Cox, Castle & Nicholson LLP.

Atherton said she plans a renewed focus on Southern California’s housing affordability crisis, along with ULI’s goals of improving the region’s urban fabric. Atherton has 34 years of experience in lending and investing in low- and moderate-income communities to increase the supply of affordable housing for renters and homeowners, support small businesses, and promote economic development in distressed and underserved communities.

“ULI Los Angeles will continue its focus on reviving the Los Angeles River, working with the City of L.A. on the Great Streets initiatives, uplifting underserved communities and many other essential issues related to building healthy neighborhoods,” says Atherton. “Today, there is no more important issue than the housing crisis.”

At Bank of America Merrill Lynch, she assisted in financing affordable housing and other economic improvement for projects such as the YWCA Job Corps Urban Campus, the Chinatown Metro Senior Lofts, the MacArthur Park Family Apartments, and the Downtown Women’s Center.

“Charmaine’s dedication in these areas is a perfect fit for our mission of creating and sustaining thriving communities,” says ULI Los Angeles Executive Director Gail Goldberg. “She has long worked to increase the supply of affordable housing for renters and homeowners. And these roles align with her many previous ULI contributions, for example serving for two years as the Chair of the Inner City Committee and ULI’s signature program, Urban Marketplace.”

Atherton is the first woman Chair of ULI Los Angeles, and for the last several years has chaired the District Council’s Women’s Leadership Initiative. She has also served on ULI’s National Steering Committee for the Initiative.

In pursuing these goals, Atherton hopes to improve the understanding of how to increase the supply of housing in the region.

Charmaine is the Past President of the Board of the Los Angeles Conservancy. She currently serves on the Board of EngAGE (formerly More Than Shelter for Seniors).      —Jack Skelley

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