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What our Development… For Good series is all about

For decades, real-estate developers have had an outsized effect on the trajectory of growth in Philadelphia. And now a new generation of visionaries, deal-makers and builders are following suit, driven by the merging of social impact and bottom-line imperatives.

The Philadelphia Citizen’s Development… For Good is a year-long speaker series that smartly delves into the economic and cultural difference that enlightened and intentional real estate development can make in our city.

Read our co-founder Larry Platt’s take on it here.

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Video from our first Development… For Good event

At the first of our Development…For Good event series, we learned about the incredible changes to West Philly over the last decade—and what still needs to happen to benefit everyone.

Check out video from the night below, featuring Drexel University president John Fry, Campus Apartments CEO David Adelman, Spark Therapeutics CEO Jeff Marrazzo, Enterprise Center CEO Della Clark and moderator Prema Katari Gupta of Center City District.

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At our upcoming Ideas We Should Steal Festival

For this year’s Ideas We Should Steal Festival, the Citizen looked across the country for the ideas, leaders, change-makers and innovations that are transforming cities in America to optimize Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Prosperity.

We’re bringing them to Philadelphia on Monday, December 13 and Tuesday, December 14, to share with our audience of passionate citizens a way to create a city that meets this particular moment, full of challenges and opportunities, so that all Philadelphians can flourish and grow.

Here’s who you’ll see at the festival (so far).

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WATCH: Fighting Inequality with Real Estate Development

At the latest in our Development...for Good series, we looked at the benefits—and challenges—of using real estate development to tackle inequality. Check out highlights and a full video from the night.

WATCH: Fighting Inequality with Real Estate Development

At the latest in our Development...for Good series, we looked at the benefits—and challenges—of using real estate development to tackle inequality. Check out highlights and a full video from the night.

When Matt Pestronk’s Post Brothers first began working on The Poplar, an apartment building on the rise in an old Northern Liberties warehouse, it wasn’t just a gauntlet of city agencies from which the company needed to seek approval.

More importantly, Post Brothers needed a nod from Richard Allen New Generation, the West Poplar neighborhood association helmed by A. Bruce Crawley, former communications director for Mayor John Street, and a longtime civic leader in Philly. In the usual way of doing things, Richard Allen could have demanded “community benefits” from Post Brothers in the form of a cash donation for parks or recreation centers.

“That we can’t be a part of the economy is a joke,” Crawley said. “We’re tired of developers coming in and setting up fences around the lot, tired of hearing that the people doing skilled trades in the city, 80 to 90 percent of them, live in the suburbs. We don’t want a handout; we want to work.”

But to Crawley—and to Pestronk, for that matter—that one time payout was not really the kind of benefit his community needed in the face of encroaching gentrification potentially accelerated by The Poplar. Instead, Pestronk and Crawley negotiated for something much more valuable: jobs—in particular that 10 percent of The Poplar’s construction workers hail from the surrounding neighborhood, and half those helping to build the project are women or people of color.

“That we can’t be a part of the economy is a joke,” Crawley said at “Show Me The Money,” a Development…for Good event last week at Fitler Club. “We’re tired of developers coming in and setting up fences around the lot, tired of hearing that the people doing skilled trades in the city, 80 to 90 percent of them live in the suburbs. We don’t want a handout; we want to work.”

The Post Brothers/Richard Allen arrangement that both Crawley and Pestronk described at the event—which was also sponsored by Post Brothers—was a remarkable example of the kind of impact that booming development—when carefully and civically considered—can have on our city’s economic inequality.

It was one of several ideas shared by our panel, which also included Laura Slutsky, executive director of the Urban Land Institute, and Charles Lomax, co-founder of Lomax Real Estate Partners and treasurer of the Philadelphia Accelerator Fund, a public-private partnership to help fund real estate projects by and for Black Philadelphians.

This photo accompanies a recap of The Philadelphia Citizen's Show Me the Money event at Fitler Club that explored how good real estate development can fight inequality
Larry Platt, Charles D. Lomax, Laura Slutsky, A. Bruce Crawley and Matt Pestronk

“Show Me The Money” was the second event in The Citizen’s year-long Development…for Good series, powered by Fitler Club and Drexel’s Lindy Institute for Urban Innovation, with partners including Post Brothers, the Center City District, Darco Capital, Brandywine Realty Trust, Shift Capital, JLL, HRP, FirstTrust Bank and Clarke & Cohen.

Watch the discussion in the video above, and check out a few more snaps from the evening below. We hope you can join us for our next event. Keep track by regularly checking out our events page, or by signing up for our newsletter.

This photo accompanies a recap of The Philadelphia Citizen's Show Me the Money event at Fitler Club that explored how good real estate development can fight inequality
Bennett Lomax, April Claytor and panelist Charles D. Lomax
This photo accompanies a recap of The Philadelphia Citizen's Show Me the Money event at Fitler Club that explored how good real estate development can fight inequality
Catherine Dowds, Rimple Kaur and Britt Chapman
This photo accompanies a recap of The Philadelphia Citizen's Show Me the Money event at Fitler Club that explored how good real estate development can fight inequality
Jeff David, Noah Ostroff, Philadelphia City Controller Rebecca Rhynhart and Citizen co-founder Larry Platt
This photo accompanies a recap of The Philadelphia Citizen's Show Me the Money event at Fitler Club that explored how good real estate development can fight inequality
Some of our engaged audience 🙏
This photo accompanies a recap of The Philadelphia Citizen's Show Me the Money event at Fitler Club that explored how good real estate development can fight inequality
Panelist Charles D. Lomax
This photo accompanies a recap of The Philadelphia Citizen's Show Me the Money event at Fitler Club that explored how good real estate development can fight inequality
Panelist Laura Slutsky and Christian Best
This photo accompanies a recap of The Philadelphia Citizen's Show Me the Money event at Fitler Club that explored how good real estate development can fight inequality
Kharisma Mcilwaine and Shuja Moore

 

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