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WASHINGTON, DC-Trammell Crow Residential executive, J. Ronald Terwilliger has committed $5 million to the Urban Land Instiute, which will be used to create a center to promote greater development of workforce or affordable housing. He made the announcement on Thursday at DC’s Press Club with ULI Chairman Marilyn Jordan Taylor and President Richard Rosan. Terwilliger is a former chairman of ULI.

The ULI Terwilliger Center for Workforce Housing will also be emphasizing private sector participation, Terwilliger told the audience.

“What this center will do – and what I believe will make it different from nearly every other affordable housing initiative – is that it will focus specifically on private-sector development of housing affordable to moderate-income workers,” he said.

According to Taylor, Terwilliger’s donation is the largest ever made by an individual to the institute.

The ULI Terwilliger Center will be based in Washington, DC, and will coordinate its efforts with ULI district councils. ULI is currently searching for an executive with both private sector and affordable housing experience to lead the center. In the beginning, it will focus on Atlanta, Southeast Florida and Washington DC, with the goal of creating 3,500 units of new workforce housing over the next five years. Eventually, Western cities will be targeted as well, Rosan said.

Currently, ULI in the process of conducting a baseline study to figure out how much workforce housing is being built in order to measure its effectiveness.

The center will study the best models of mixed-income housing design, development and financing in these cities. The target constituency will be people making between 60% and 120% of the median income for a particular market. However, Terwilliger said, that those income boundaries will be flexible to make sure that service providers such as teachers, police officers, medical workers and fire fighters can also benefit.

The center also plans to push for greater use of inclusionary zoning. “Such zoning offers development incentives such as density bonuses in exchange for the provision of a certain percentage of below-market rate units,” Terwilliger said. His own experience has led him to believe that mandatory inclusionary zoning is one of the most effective tools for affordably housing.

Terwilliger is hopeful the center’s work will eventually result in the establishment of a revolving fund, which would lend below-market rate money to both profit and non-profit developers.

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