Philadelphia’s real estate forecast looks promising

Sam Chandon, Ron Caroila, David Ricci, Julie Smith and Larry Steinberg discuss the future of real estate in Philly.  Credit: Urban Land Institute
Sam Chandon, Ron Caroila, David Ricci, Julie Smith and Larry Steinberg discuss the future of real estate in Philly.
Credit: Urban Land Institute

As the new year approaches, it’s time to take a look at what experts are predicting for Philadelphia real estate. Earlier this month, industry professionals discussed their 2014 forecasts at a seminar based on “Emerging Trends in Real Estate,” a widely recognized annual report covering the Americas, Asia Pacific and Europe. It’s put out by the Urban Land Institute, a nonprofit focused on intelligent land use, and consulting firm PricewaterhouseCoopers. The two organizations coordinated the panel discussion, which was held at The Union League.

“The forecast was very upbeat, both on a national and local basis,” says David Ricci, a former ULI Philadelphia chair and a partner at The Flynn Company, a brokerage, management and portfolio company dealing mostly with industrial and office buildings. The professionals surveyed, including Ricci, shared insights from all aspects of real estate, though only a small part covers residential properties. And yet, understanding what’s ahead for the retail and industrial sectors in Philadelphia can help shed light on the rest of the city.

Take Larry Steinberg, for instance. He’s part of the investment sales team at CBRE FAMECO, a brokerage firm that specializes in retail and restaurants. “Business is good and retailers are interested in coming to our market,” says Steinberg, speaking specifically about Center City. “After the hiatus of 2008, ’09 and ’10, retailers want to regain the market share. There are more tenants than we have space for.”

Based on this, we can expect Center City to grow in residents, too. “The Realtors are following the residential explosion that’s happening Center City. The full-time population is increasing to the viability of retail,” says Steinberg. Those full-timers he’s referring to are Center City dwellers who live, work and play in the neighborhood. Ricci agrees: “We follow the residents. You’ll see the evolution of residential coming in, then retail development comes in to support that community, and then there’s the corporate evolution.” With all of this comes an increase of live-work-play neighborhoods, and buildings where everything you need is in one convenient place.

Smart land use

Urban Land Institute Philadelphia has hundreds of members involved in the area’s real estate, extending into Lehigh Valley, Central Pennsylvania, Southern New Jersey and Delaware. But ULI doesn’t stop there. The organization exists in 95 countries, reaching a total of roughly 30,000 members. This includes contractors, engineers, investors, lenders and all the various people responsible for real estate on all levels. As Ricci says, “It’s the people who build it and the people who buy it.”


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