Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Panelists at RealShare Philadelphia See as Attractive Opportunity for CRE

by Steve Lubetkin

Panelists at the ALM Media RealShare Philadelphia conference held Wednesday at the historic Union League Club in Center City Philadelphia say the City of Brotherly Love may be better positioned than New York City for growth in its commercial real estate markets, and commented on the relative ease of doing business in the city.

“My observation from spending an awful lot of time in Philadelphia in the last year is that this may be the best city I’ve ever been to. It is amazing that I can get from one side of town to the other in under ten minutes,” says William “Billy” Procida, founder of Procida Funding & Advisors, a Capital Markets Update panelist and sponsor of the RealShare event, who has become an enthusiastic booster of the Philadelphia market. “We did a deal in Philadelphia and got it done in three days. If I had done it in New York it would have cost a million dollars in legal fees and would have taken a month to close.”

In January, as reported, Procida Funding provided $16.2 million for renovations at the Thaddeus Stevens School, which developer Eric Blumenfeld is turning into a luxury rental complex called the Mural Arts Lofts Building. Philadelphia has a rich history of elaborate mural art painted on the sides of vintage buildings. The artwork, including the side of Blumenfeld’s building, is part of a popular series of city tours.

William "Billy" Procida of Procida Funding, a panelist at RealShare Philadelphia 2015 will provide comprehensive coverage of the conference panels over the next week. Here are some early highlights.

“Tenants are looking for efficient floor plates that meet today’s demands,” says Chip Walters, chief investment officer, Keystone Property Group, who participated in the Industry Leaders Panel. “Gone are the file rooms of yesterday. Folks want to have communal space where people can be creative and work together.”

“In the last year to two years, no matter where I go, I run into someone who has bought something in Philadelphia or is looking for something to buy with the intent of developing,” says Christopher Terlizzi, senior vice president and regional manager, First Niagara Bank, a past president of the local Urban Land Institute organization. “That’s a distinct difference from what we’ve seen in the past where Philadelphia has generally been overlooked as a market without much growth potential. Those folks who are coming to Philadelphia are not misreading the market.”

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