Bill Christopher, former member and Past President of the Los Angeles Board of Neighborhood Commissioners, is the founder and Principal of Urban Concepts. Through his past experience as a member of the Planning Commission and Chair of the Board of Zoning Appeals for the City of Los Angeles, along with his years of working with local jurisdictions and neighborhood associations, Bill Christopher is considered an expert in working with public agencies and private interests on planning and land use related matters. His 30 years of hands-on experience in the field of commercial architecture, combined with his broad knowledge of community issues, provides Mr. Christopher with a unique background in the regulation, design, construction and maintenance of the built environment.
Mr. Christopher is also a nationally recognized expert in the field of
Due Diligence with regard to real estate transactions. Pairing his
technical expertise in building construction with his knowledge of
land use regulation, he has been retained to investigate the sale of
such landmark structures as the Beverly Hills Hotel; the Fluor World
Headquarters in Irvine, CA; the Republic Plaza Complex in Denver, the
1625 I Street Building in Washington , D.C.; the Metrion development
in San Francisco; the Ritter Ranch in Palmdale, California; the
Marriot Windwatch Resort on Long Island; the Hotel Bel Age in West
Hollywood; and the El Conquistador Resort in Puerto Rico. In recent
years, Bill has been engaged to review the zoning entitlement status
of more than $10 billion in real estate portfolios in major markets
across the country including Seattle, Honolulu, Miami, Chicago, Dallas
and St. Louis.
Architecture and Planning
Mr. Christopher, Lead Principal for Urban Concepts, is experienced in the coordination and management of large-scale commercial development projects. His range of experience includes major planning, new construction and renovation undertakings. Prior to founding Urban Concepts, Mr. Christopher, practiced architecture and planning with AHT Architects in Santa Monica; John Carl Warnecke & Associates' Los Angeles office; and with the Los Angeles and Chicago offices of Skidmore, Owings & Merrill.
He has directed and participated in a number of recognized projects around the world. Among his efforts in Southern California are the new Nikko Hotel at Beverly Hills; Fluor Properties Masterplan and the subsequent Park Place Masterplan in Irvine; the proposed 32 story mixed-use Sunshine Pacific Centre for Little Tokyo; the Westwood Atrium in Westwood; the masterplan for the KCET television studios in Hollywood; the renovation of the Stallion Springs (Sky Mountain) resort in Tehachapi; the Empress Pavilion Restaurant in Chinatown; the Park Place Retail Center in Irvine; the renovation and expansion of the Harman International Business Campus in Northridge; the Neiman-Marcus store in San Diego and First Federal Square in Santa Monica.
In other areas of the world, Mr. Christopher has been heavily involved in the design and construction of the Thomas and Mack Special Events Pavilion at the University of Nevada Las Vegas; the Montgomery-Washington Tower in San Francisco; the Kun Lum Hotel in Bejing, China; a Specific Plan for the Expansion of Cal Expo in Sacramento; the Warner-Amex Dallas television studio facilities; the Hyatt Regency Jeddah, Saudia Arabia; a design for the Central Bank of Iran; the Banco Di Occidente in Guatemala City; a design for the headquarters of Grupo Industrial Alpha in Monterrey, Mexico; and the Hyatt Bumi in Surabaya, Indonesia.
Professional Service and Urban Design
Bill Christopher has served as a member of the Board of Directors of the Los Angeles Chapter of the American Institute of Architects. Through the Urban Design Committee of the Chapter and the Planning Commission,
he has been an integral part of the Los Angeles Design Action Planning Team studies of various locations around Los Angeles, including serving on the steering committee for the Beverly-Fairfax, Miracle Mile Urban Design Workshop. He has been recognized for his contributions to the community and to urban design on a number of occasions. He has received a resolution of the City Council, a resolution of the Planning Commission, Presidential citations from LA/AIA and he has been selected as the Miracle Mile Man of the Year in 1989. He has also served as Vice President of the Southern California Planning Congress and has been a contributing editor of the Planning Report and a contributor to Los Angeles Architect. He has also been a member of the Society of American Registered Architects as well as the Construction Specifications Institute. He is presently a member of Lambda Alpha International. Bill is also a contributor to CityWatch and he has been published in Op-Ed section of the Los Angeles Times.
Mr. Christopher recently completed a five year term as member and Past President of the seven member Board of Neighborhood Commissioners, charged with certifying local Neighborhood Councils throughout Los Angeles. In the past, he has served as a member of the City Planning Commission; Chair of the City's Board of Zoning Appeals; a member of the Citizen's Advisory Committee for the Study of the Center's Concept; and as Coordinator of the "No El on Wilshire" Coalition. He is a Past President of the Westside Civic Federation, Past President of the Wilshire Galleria Homeowners Association, and a past Vice President of the Miracle Mile Residential Association.
Recently, Mr. Christopher has focused on the issue of citizen participation in local government in Los Angeles. To foster greater participation in the discussion of future communities, Mr. Christopher recently helped to form and direct the Citywide Alliance of Neighborhood Councils (www.allncs.org), involving over 100 groups organizing local neighborhood councils across the city. Previously, he founded PLAN/LA, People for Livable and Active Neighborhoods in Los Angeles. Through PLAN/LA, Mr. Christopher has been instrumental in the adoption of a Comprehensive Housing Affordability Strategy (CHAS) for the City as well as Guiding Principals for Planning. Mr. Christopher also served on the Housing Task Force for the LA 2000 Partnership.
His legislative record includes significant responsibility for the Detroit Street Interim Control Ordinances, the Wilshire West
Interim Control Ordinances, the South of Mullholland Interim Control Ordinance, and the Hollywoodland Specific Plan. He has also been heavily involved in the creation of standard Design Review Procedures, and the development of the Central City West and Ventura Boulevard Specific Plans, as well as the Citywide Sewer Permit Allocation Ordinance. As a Planning Commissioner, his interest in Urban Form led to the publication of the first Citywide Planned Land Use Map in the City's history.
Born and raised in the Chicago area, Bill Christopher holds a Bachelor of Architecture degree from the Illinois Institute of Technology in Chicago. He has also participated in a number of political endeavors over the years. He was a volunteer for several state wide campaigns in Illinois and served on the senior staff of a national presidential campaign in 1980. He has also been involved in a number of local campaigns in Los Angeles, focusing on the City Council, the State legislature and several ballot initiatives involving land use issues.
Mr. Christopher is married and has one daughter. He resides presently in the Melrose Avenue area of Hollywood.