District Planner and Builder Allen Lew Dies

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Allen Lew. Courtesy City University of New York.

Former D.C. City Administrator Allen Lew, 69, for decades the District’s get-it-done manager of major construction projects, died on June 23 due to COVID-19 complications.

A native New Yorker with architecture degrees from the City College of New York and Columbia University, Lew got his start in Westchester County, then was tapped to help bring New York’s I. M. Pei-designed Jacob K. Javits Convention Center into being.

Lew came to D.C. in 1996 to oversee the creation of the Walter E. Washington Convention Center. Later, he took charge of the conversion of RFK Stadium into a temporary home for the Washington Nationals and the construction of 41,000-seat Nationals Park, the first LEED-certified major sports stadium in the U.S., which opened in 2008. Most recently, as city administrator from 2011 to 2015 under Mayor Vincent Gray, he was part of the planning for Audi Field.

In addition, called upon by Gray’s predecessor Adrian Fenty, he oversaw the spending of some $3.5 billion on renovations to D.C. school buildings and sports facilities.

Mayor Muriel Bowser said in a statement: “So much of what we enjoy in our city today is the result of Allen’s ability to bring people together and get the work done.”

Survived by his wife, sister, son and grandson, Lew died in Queens. After leaving D.C. government, he served as president of the Washington Architectural Foundation. Last December, he had returned to New York to become senior vice chancellor for facilities and planning for the City University of New York.

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