Wayne Ratkovich, ULI Life Trustee, Foundation Governor, and visionary developer whose firm The Ratkovich Company (TRC) restored and redeveloped numerous historic properties across the Los Angeles area, has passed away at the age of 82.
A ULI member for nearly half a century, Wayne formerly served as a member of the Global Board of Directors and as chair of the Los Angeles District Council, and he was named a Life Trustee in 2011. Emblematic of his lifelong drive to have an impact, Wayne also served as chair of nearly a dozen Advisory Services panels. In these roles, he shared his knowledge and expertise to help solve land use challenges nationwide, including at Chicago’s Navy Pier, Houston’s AstroDome, and Atlanta’s Olympic Park.
“I first got to know Wayne when we worked on the Southwest Waterfront Advisory Services panel together,” said Mary Beth Corrigan, ULI Co-Interim Managing Director. “His passion for the program and ULI have been inspirational to me for more than 25 years. I will miss his guidance, mentorship, and leadership.”
Wayne began his career in 1964 as a real estate broker, but soon transitioned to development, where he knew he could help shape the future of his city. In 1977, he founded The Ratkovich Company, a development firm specializing in urban infill and adaptive reuse projects. Pursuing the company’s mission – “To profitably produce developments that improve the quality of urban life” – Wayne and his team breathed new life into historic properties and created places where communities could thrive.
Among The Ratkovich Company’s groundbreaking achievements were the rehabilitation of such L.A. landmarks as the Oviatt Building, Fine Arts Building, Wiltern Theatre, Chapman Market, Hercules Campus comprising 11 historic buildings of the former Hughes Aircraft Company, The BLOC in downtown L.A., The Alhambra mixed-use development, and the 5900 Wilshire high-rise office tower in the city’s Miracle Mile District.
“Wayne Ratkovich was a true visionary in urban development, city building, and place making and exemplified everything that a real estate developer should be,” said Clare De Briere, ULI Americas Chair and member of the Global Board of Directors. “His focus on creating places for people – thoughtful, beautiful, wonderous, peaceful, playful places; made everyday life better for everyone who experienced them. He not only embodied the values of the Urban Land Institute but drove those values over his half century of membership and leadership in the organization. Wayne was truly dedicated to improving the built environment for the benefit of all and devoted his time to foster and mentor the next generation of leaders in real estate. I was a recipient of his mentorship and friendship for over thirty years. It was a joy to have had the privilege to spend so many years at Wayne’s side, learning how to build a better world. I am grateful to Wayne for my deep understanding of the responsibility that we as developers have to our communities. His passing is a deep loss to the development community worldwide, to the City of Los Angeles and to all of us who had the privilege to know him.”
“Wayne was an amazing soul who showed us all how to be thoughtful and compassionate,” said Tom Toomey, past ULI Global Chair and Chief Executive Officer, UDR, Inc. “He was one of the first people to reach out when I became Global Chair and offered to help. I will always treasure our time together, the thoughtful conversations, and his member-centric perspective.”
Alex Rose, Executive Vice President, Development, Continental Development Corporation, and past chair of ULI Los Angeles, summed it up: “As anyone who has known Wayne can attest, he and his development company not only embody land use leadership and best practices here in LA, but he exemplifies the very thing that makes ULI such a unique and powerful organization – sharing his experience, his expertise, his successes and rare missteps and most of all, his time to make all of us better leaders and individuals.”
Wayne was an innovative, forward-thinking industry leader for whom community engagement was an essential part of the development process. He was also passionate about sharing his wisdom with others, serving as a mentor to many in the industry throughout his career. He embodied ULI’s values and believed strongly in the power of philanthropy, giving generously of his time and resources to advance the Institute’s mission. In mourning Wayne’s passing, ULI remembers with appreciation his contributions to the Institute and the industry, and we honor his work to shape the future of cities for the good of the people who inhabit them.