Bren is keynote speaker at ULI Live!, ULI’s Fall Meeting and Urban Land Expo in Los Angeles
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LOS ANGELES (October 27, 2011) – Internationally acclaimed master planner and master builder Donald Bren, chairman of the Irvine Company, is the recipient of the prestigious Vanguard Award from the Urban Land Institute, a research and education institute dedicated to responsible land use and building thriving communities around the globe. The award, which recognizes local leadership in community building, was presented to Bren today during ULI Live!, the institute’s 2011 Fall Meeting and Urban Land Expo at the Los Angeles Convention Center.
Bren is a keynote speaker at the fall meeting, which this year commemorates ULI’s 75th Anniversary. The largest of the institute’s events, the fall meeting has drawn more than 6,500 members and guests. The special programming to mark the landmark anniversary of ULI and the exceptional guest speakers, including Bren, is adding significance to an already highly popular meeting among both seasoned industry professionals and those starting their real estate careers.
“We are delighted to present Donald Bren with the ULI Vanguard Award,” said ULI Chief Executive Officer Patrick L. Phillips. “His commitment to excellence in community master planning and master building has left a lasting imprint on California. He is a visionary who has raised the bar for leadership in land use.”
Bren, whose real estate career spans more than 45 years, has been deeply involved in California real estate as a master planner, master builder and a long-term investor. An innovator within the real estate industry, he was one of the first to combine well-designed homes with such amenities as parks and substantial open space and parklands, excellent schools, employment centers and shopping centers to create balanced master-planned communities. Through his accomplishments, he has earned a national reputation as an expert in the interrelated fields of planning, design, architecture, construction, marketing and finance.
In describing his mission for the Irvine Company, he has said, “We are dedicated master planners and master builders; we are combining architectural and planning, with business and financial disciplines, to produce superbly balanced urban communities where people live, work and play.”
Bren’s vision and unique expertise are guiding the creation of one of the nation’s premier master-planned communities on the Irvine Ranch in central Orange County, 93,000 acres stretching 22 miles from the Pacific Ocean to the inland mountains of the Cleveland National Forest. In a Fortune magazine article, he said, “We want to produce a great urban culture that balances high-quality development and environmental sensitivity to yield a quality of life unmatched anywhere.”
Under Bren’s leadership, the Irvine Company has been evolving from an internationally recognized community developer to one of the nation’s premier real estate investment companies. Most of the Irvine Company’s land and real estate assets are in Orange County, but the company also owns high-quality investment properties in Los Angeles, San Diego and Silicon Valley. The company’s portfolio exceeds 96 million square feet and includes 480 office buildings, 41 retail centers, 125 apartment communities, three hotels, five marinas and three golf clubs.
Bren has long been at the forefront of efforts to preserve environmentally sensitive land in Southern California. The process began in 1983, when he initiated a comprehensive master planning effort to evaluate the role of significant amounts of open space on The Irvine Ranch. In 1988, the company signed a landmark Open Space Agreement with the City of Irvine, specifying where thousands of acres of permanent open space would be set aside for residents to enjoy in perpetuity.
In 2001, the donation of thousands of additional acres of environmentally diverse land brought the amount of permanently protected land on The Irvine Ranch to more than 50,000 acres, which is more than half of the entire 93,000-acre ranch. Bren created the Irvine Ranch Conservancy and committed funds for the long-term management, preservation and restoration of the land’s natural resources. These lands were formally recognized in 2006 with the designation of these protected parks and open spaces as a National Natural Landmark by the U.S. Secretary of the Interior and National Park Service. In 2008, the land was also designated as the first California Natural Landmark by the State of California.
About the Urban Land Institute
The Urban Land Institute (www.uli.org) 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 nearly 30,000 members representing all aspects of land use and development disciplines.
About the Irvine Company
Founded in 1864, the Irvine Company is an internationally renowned real estate development company known for its award-winning master-planned communities, its vast portfolio of high-quality investment properties, and its leadership in conservation and natural resource management. The growing real estate portfolio encompasses office, apartment, retail and resort holdings located throughout California’s premier markets, including assets in San Diego, Orange and Los Angeles Counties, and holdings in Northern California. As a steward of some of America’s most beautiful and scientifically important Open Space and parklands, the company has donated to Orange County more than half of the historic 93,000-acre Irvine Ranch in Orange County — 50,000 acres — to permanently preserve these lands. The U.S. Department of the Interior and the State of California have designated these parklands as “Natural Landmarks,” one of the most prestigious land preservation designations. The privately held diversified real estate company traces its roots to the 1860s with the formation of The Irvine Ranch® from Mexican and Spanish land grants.