LOS ANGELES--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Martha Welborne, who has spearheaded some of Los Angeles’ most innovative transportation and revitalization projects in the past two decades, has joined HR&A Advisors, a leading national real estate and economic development consulting firm providing project leadership and implementation services to public, private and non-profit entities around the globe. Welborne will be based in the Los Angeles office.
From 2010 to 2016, Welborne was Chief Planning Officer of the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority (Metro) and directed countywide planning for the agency that included 12 new rail corridors approved by voters in 2008. This built on her earlier transit leadership when she developed the first rapid bus concept which operates today as the Metro Rapid system.
For the decade prior to Metro, Welborne was Managing Director of the Grand Avenue Committee, a public/private partnership focused on revitalizing the civic and cultural district along downtown’s Grand Avenue corridor. She steered the creation of two of downtown’s most popular destinations—Grand Park and The Broad—from concept to completion. The centerpiece of the Grand Avenue plan is a $1 billion mixed use development across from The Walt Disney Concert Hall that is slated to start construction this fall.
“Martha’s exceptional career as a civic change-maker and her wide range of interdisciplinary skills are unique and perfectly complement our work to bring large, complex transformative projects to life. HR&A gives her an international platform to continue to shape the character of urban life in Los Angeles and beyond,” said John Alschuler, HR&A Chairman.
“HR&A is an amazing firm that takes on the most complicated, seemingly impossible, urban problems and always finds winning solutions,” said Welborne. As an example, she points to the internationally renowned High Line in Manhattan where HR&A provided the economic rationale, zoning plan, operating model and management principles to transform the site into a vibrant public park, which today is one of New York City’s top tourist attractions.
“I am delighted to take on the role of Senior Advisor with this incredible team as our goals are perfectly aligned,” Welborne adds.
In addition to her role with HR&A, Welborne continues to serve as Project Director of the LA Aerial Rapid Transit Technologies, LLC, a company planning the first permanent public transit link to Dodger Stadium—a gondola from Union Station to Elysian Park. HR&A is a member of the team working on this effort.
Most recently Welborne was Senior Vice President, Corporate Real Estate, for The Walt Disney Company overseeing 19 million square feet of non-theme park corporate space across 47 countries.
Welborne began her career as an architect and planner at Skidmore, Owings & Merrill LLP and Sasaki Associates, Inc. where her work ranged from individual building design to large-scale master plans of universities, downtowns and transit corridors. She graduated from the University of Notre Dame with a Bachelor of Architecture and earned a Master of Architecture and a Master in City Planning from Massachusetts Institute of Technology. In the early 90s, she was awarded a Loeb Fellowship at Harvard University’s Graduate School of Design. Last year, she was awarded an Honorary Doctor of Fine Arts by Notre Dame.
Welborne is a member of the College of Fellows of the American Institute of Architects and served as president of the AIA Los Angeles chapter. She served as a member of the Board of Councilors of the University of Southern California School of Architecture and currently serves on the Board of Councilors of KUSC, Southern California’s premier classical radio station.
HR&A is an industry-leading economic development, real estate advisory and public policy consulting firm with offices in New York, Los Angeles, Washington DC, Dallas and Raleigh. Founded in Los Angeles in 1976, the firm has over 40 years of experience providing strategic advisory services for both the public and private sectors as they plan for and implement complex urban development and transportation projects.
HR&A’s public sector work in Los Angeles and Southern California spans many decades and practice areas. Recent projects include governance, implementation, and funding strategies for the Los Angeles River, Pershing Square, and the Long Beach Civic Center’s new park and open spaces. The firm also served as lead economic and development advisor to LA Metro’s transit-oriented community programs along the Crenshaw Line and West Santa Ana Branch.
The firm’s regional private sector experience is equally extensive including real estate analysis for all of Westfield’s major shopping center revitalization and new construction projects in LA County, as well as economic and fiscal impact assessments for the just-completed Wilshire Grand, LA’s tallest skyscraper, NBC Universal’s entertainment and studio complex expansion plan, the Paramount Pictures Master Plan and the USC Development Plan.