The DNC is coming to Philadelphia, and our city is ready for the attention

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Sorry to beat the proverbial “DNC dead horse” again, but what can I say, it’s big news for Philadelphia!

There have been countless articles, blog posts, and tweets about the Democratic National Convention choosing Philadelphia as its host city in 2016 (Sorry, Brooklyn, NY + Columbus, OH).

But rather than make this the same-old, same-old post about how awesome the exposure will be for our great city, I’d rather focus on what it means for locals: 1) Growing skyline, 2) Transportation improvements, and 3) Social scene. Just by having the DNC come to town means that shovel ready projects, as well as those already in progress, will get higher priority than they did before the announcement was made.

Might I also add that all 3 of those previously mentioned elements are important/related to real estate, which makes this particular post even more appropriate.

See … part of the reason the Dems picked Philadelphia (aside from us being the city that gave birth to liberty and freedom … oh, and the fact that our city is awesome), is that they saw what we all currently see: opportunity.

That’s the American dream, right? D*mn straight it is.

Okay, let’s get started.

In typical fashion, I’m going to break down my favorite points from this Philadelphia Magazine article (you can find more great articles on Twitter, @phillymag):

– The Changing Skyline: Of course, this one is the easiest one for me to talk about seeing that real estate is my profession. Plus, I just enjoy talking about new development in Philly. Projects like the FMC Tower and the new Mormon Temple should both be completed by the time the DNC rolls into the city, but unfortunately, the Comcast Center for Innovation + Technology will not be up yet; bummer. For the FMC Tower especially, it will definitely represent itself well as the largest Philadelphia skyscraper west of the Schuylkill River.

– How the Dems will get around: This one specifically addresses the strides Philadelphia is making not only toward its public transportation infrastructure, but also toward its bicycling culture (which we are tops in regularly). For SEPTA, the long-awaited SEPTA Key program should be fully operational on all Philadelphia buses, subways, and trolleys; but most likely, not on trains come DNC time. Also, Philadelphia’s bike share system (now being referred to as Indego) will be in full rent-a-bike mode for the DNC. Lastly, Uber will most likely be the taxi of choice. I mean seriously, it’s just too easy, for both tourists and locals alike.

– Hillary at The Gallery?: I used to visit The Gallery as a kid; it was the “city mall” to us suburban folk. As the 90s and 00s passed, the mall became less cool and more unappealing; but its new image is already starting to change. With all of the recent press The Gallery has received, I can almost guarantee that visitors will want to do some “I’m on vacation” shopping at Philadelphia’s version of Century 21 (which just recently took up about 100K sq ft of space at The Gallery). Lots of positive changes are coming to one of the largest urban malls in the US, and the investors/city are just getting started on its transformation.

So as you can see, I really believe that Philadelphia will shine brightly on the DNC’s international stage come July 2016.

From one local to other locals, our city deserves it.

The New York Times listed “52 Places to Go in 2015.” Philadelphia was their #3 spot.

Spruce Street Harbor Park
Spruce Street Harbor Park | Philadelphia

Wow … #3 … yo!

I think a lot of Philadelphians were taken aback recently by the high-praise we received from The New York Times (of all media companies, and of all places) which named our great city the third city you have to see in 2015 … oh and I forgot to mention, in the entire world (just behind Milan and Cuba).

That’s one h*ll of a list to land on, and even more so when you’re at the top of the pack. Way to go, Philly!

The title given to Philadelphia’s spot was “The making of an outdoor oasis.” I believe once most people read that part, they saw why we were listed so high (or why we were even listed at all). Don’t get me wrong, I absolutely love this town; and I think it has unbelievable assets, aside from our green space esteem.

But the focus of NYT choosing us was that they looked specifically at our recent outdoor projects and showed tourists why they need to come and see our beautiful city today.

Now, Philadelphia does have some other large assets that most big cities would kill for: Compact design, great public transportation, and lots of urban green space. Put all 3 of those things together, and it encourages both locals and tourists alike to traverse Philadelphia outside (and on foot). The winters can be tough, but spring, summer, and fall make up for the few cold months we have learned to live with.

Need a reminder about how large and expansive our urban green space actually is (and I’m not just talking about Fairmount Park)? Check out these locally filmed drone videos for a better look: Philadelphia 1 (with natural sounds), Philadelphia 2 (with some other local shots of New York), and Philadelphia 3 (all different shots of the city).

So as you can see from these well done videos, Philadelphia has great green space. Not only that, but its tied directly in with its local neighborhoods (e.g. Wissahickon Valley, Pennypack Park, etc), as well as with Center City (East Fairmount Park), University City (West Fairmount Park), and the Navy Yard (FDR Park).

The article also goes on to compliment Philadelphia on some of its new and ongoing projects: Dilworth Park, Spruce Street Harbor Park, Race Street Pier, and the Schuylkill Banks Boardwalk. All four projects started out as grand ideas to connect the city with more green space, and today they are all big success stories!

Thanks for the kudos, NYT.

Philadelphia as a “supercharged” start-up hub

Philly Startup Leaders
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I found this article interesting because it not only talks about Philadelphia’s history as a start-up city, but also how Philadelphia is doing in the busy entrepreneurial world of today.

As stated, “Philadelphia’s start-up scene today is scrappy, vibrant, and inclusive.” All good adjectives, and all very reminiscent of a city like Philadelphia.

Classic companies such as Comcast, Urban Outfitters, QVC, and Vanguard, as well as Philadelphia newcomers Monetate, Revzilla, and NextDocs, are all big reasons why entrepreneurs have chosen (or are choosing) Philadelphia as a home base for their company.

As I have mentioned on numerous occasions, Philadelphia has one of the most convenient geographical locations in the country (located in the NE US, right between NYC & DC). The Northeastern US is lauded as the nation’s most economically developed, densely populated, and culturally diverse area of the country. Not only does Philadelphia have a prime location, but we also have access to one of the world’s best talent pools; graduating from one of our many academic institutions (e.g. UPenn, Drexel, Temple, etc).

So why am I even blogging about start-ups? This has never been a tech-centric blog, but I try to relate everything I read to the local real estate market.

In today’s global environment, a robust start-up economy is a sign of strong growth. Where there are thinkers/doers, there are opportunities for jobs. Where there are opportunities for jobs, local residents spend their hard-earned money. When local residents spend their hard-earned money, real estate performs well.

Since buying is cheaper than renting today (in all of the 100 largest US metro areas), a healthy job market will increase the buying and selling of Philadelphia real estate. This then leads to even more jobs in other complementary industries (e.g. construction, home improvement stores, retail, etc).

There are 5 areas, as stated by DreamIt Ventures’ managing partner Karen Griffith Gryga, that can make Philadelphia one of the top spots in the US for start-ups and entrepreneurship; and they/re very doable.

Read on to learn more.