By Neha Garg
Bill Witte, a resident of Laguna Beach, is President and CEO of Related California. Courtesy of Related California
The Lusk Center for Real Estate at the University of Southern California, a nationally recognized real estate research center, appointed Bill Witte of Laguna Beach as chair of the board on Thursday.
Also CEO and chairman of Related California real estate developer, Witte becomes chairman of the board after serving as vice chairman for three years. He replaces Emile Haddad, CEO of FivePoint Holdings.
“Drawing on the solid history, research and resources of the university, my mission is to lead the Lusk Center and help address the unique and difficult environment in which the sector finds itself today. real estate in the face of the COVID pandemic and an unprecedented homelessness crisis and the need for affordable and bridging housing, ”Witte said in a prepared statement.
Since the founding of Related California in 1989, Witte has overseen both the affordable and market divisions. Today, the company is one of the largest developers of urban and multi-family housing in California. The related California portfolio includes tens of thousands of affordable and mixed-income housing, including the 27-unit Alice Court low-income seniors complex at 450 Glenneyre St.
Witte is a former Deputy Mayor for Housing and Neighborhoods under San Francisco Mayor Art Agnos and Director of Housing and Economic Development under then-Mayor Dianne Feinstein.
In 2016, the Witte team launched a proposal to develop a 25-story, 100-unit condominium tower known as the Museum House in Newport Beach. The controversial project of Related California Urban Housing, LLC, was to replace the one-story OC Museum of Art located at San Clemente Drive.
A successful Line in the Sand PAC petition sparked a referendum that would have allowed Newport Beach voters to block the project. In February 2017, Newport Beach City Council voted 5 to 2 to cancel its prior approval from Museum House.
Nadine Watt, CEO of Watt Companies, is the new vice president of the Lusk Center. She and Witte will continue “a tradition of strong leadership” within the organization, said Richard Green, director of the Lusk Center.
“Just as I was lucky to be able to count on Stan [Ross] and Emile’s advice over the past few years, I am now fortunate to be able to count on the wisdom and expertise of Bill and Nadine for years to come, ”said Green.
Sarah Hall contributed reporting for this story.
The original article can be found here.