Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Friday, December 20, 2013

Brewerytown's neighborhood promotion strategy is brilliant

Rybrew opened in 2013 - Brewerytown, Philadelphia

Let me first ask this question: "What is the best way to get people to notice you and what you do?"

As a licensed real estate agent, I have to ask myself this question everyday.

More times than not, real estate agents are independent contractors. Which means they do not get a wage/salary, health benefits, retirement account, etc. As a trade off, real estate agents get freedom, workday flexibility, and the ability to earn as little or much as they want. Plus, they're basically they're own bosses.

Because this is the case, each agent has the opportunity to uniquely promote himself/herself to the buyer/seller/renter market, as well as pick and choose what services they do and do not want to offer to the general public (e.g. buyer/seller representation, residential/commercial, etc). That is why if you have ever bought or sold a home before, you have seen that each agent offers something different. Strengths and weaknesses that are uniquely suited to his or her business focus.

That is also why this article really caught my attention.

If you are a regular PUL reader, then you have definitely seen multiple blog posts from me in the past focused on Brewerytown's resurgence as a desirable Philadelphia neighborhood. Not only as a place to live, but also as a place to grow a business. Although its boundary lines are skewed (and vary depending on the information source) Brewerytown sits just north of the Fairmount/Francisville neighborhoods, just south of Templetown, east of the Schuylkill River, and west of Broad St.

Again, those are general boundaries (especially, knowing how far Brewerytown's eastern boundary extends).

Here are some helpful posts on Brewerytown (in case you need a refresher):

MM Partners finds success in Brewerytown

Brewerytown plan wins at international competition

Momentum continues in Brewerytown

MM Partners, a local development/community group in Brewerytown, has been described as "Brewerytown's most tenacious evangelists." At a recent networking event held at Rybrew, a new cafe along Girard Ave that hosts an impressive food/beer selection, MM came up with a simple, organic strategy.

Invite local real estate agents to a fun-filled event with food and beer, and encourage them to mingle with local business owners and residents sporting name tags saying, "Ask me how Brewerytown is booming!" Genius, IMHO.

My opinion is that their strategy worked, or I wouldn't even be posting about it today.

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Rethinking Philadelphia's "Avenue of the Arts"

Avenue of the Arts | Center City, Philadelphia

For younger generations, Philadelphia is a happening place to be.

There are world-class educational institutions, neighborhoods full of creative class-mates and/or entrepreneurs, and affordable lifestyle options. Not only does Philadelphia offer today's millennials all of those desirable options to grow as responsible Philadelphians, but our city has culture, history, and charm (oh ... and killer food).

Everything the younger generation wants, right? I would say so.

So what is Philadelphia's Avenue of the Arts?

AOTA was created back in 1990 by Paul Levy and the Center City District (or as it was more commonly referred to back then, Central Philadelphia Development Corporation). It was an opportunity to reinvent South Broad St as an entertainment district for the arts, and also to bring local suburbanites (as well as tourists) to Philadelphia for an evening of entertainment, dinner, and drinks.

Pretty ingenious at a time when old, industrial cities had consistently rough images; including our neighbors in New York, DC, and Boston.

It was then Mayor Ed Rendell who ran with CCD's idea and secured both public/private funding for multiple projects spanning from City Hall to Spruce St. Also, a streetscape plan took shape which helped clean up the avenue, making it cleaner and brighter (and more walkable). Next, the arrival of the Kimmel Center as well as upscale, residential development. AOTA was on fire, and is still doing very well today (thanks to visionaries like Carl Dranoff).

"So Tim, why rethink what is already working? If it ain't broke, don't fix it; right?"


Although AOTA sparked a renewed interest in urban living, that particular model may already be a bit outdated. At the time, it was based on the arts movement in NYC, but technology changes things fast these days.

Why do I feel it is a bit outdated, you ask?

Because younger generations today are more spread throughout the city, in neighborhoods like Fishtown, Passyunk Square, and even my own 'hood (Manayunk/Roxborough). Now that more newly-minted Philadelphians have spread out around Philadelphia's core urban districts (Center City & University City), the city is functioning more as a whole these days where each neighborhood/section has its own destinations and entertainment options.

That's why this article was written, and it's also why those reasons make sense. Why have just an "Avenue of the Arts," when you can have a "City of Arts."

Chime in on the comments section below, if the mood strikes you.

Saturday, December 7, 2013

New development has really put Graduate Hospital on the map

If you're familiar with Philadelphia and its many neighborhoods, then you are definitely familiar with Graduate Hospital; a tiny, well-defined neighborhood in South Philadelphia (or Southwest Center City, it just depends who you ask).

G-Ho, Grad Hosp, and South-of-South are all common names for this nabe, but the real success of Graduate Hospital was kickstarted by Naval Square almost 10 years ago. Toll Brothers purchased this abandoned Naval Academy, which also happened to be the country's first, back in 1988 as a portfolio project. But it wasn't until 2005 that the first new homes were built and sold in this gated community.

Fred Glick and I created some informative videos on Graduate not too long ago, so if you haven't seen them before I've posted the links below for you:

Graduate Hospital - Part 1

Graduate Hospital - Part 2

Graduate Hospital - Part 3

Although Naval Square ignited G-Ho's real estate success, it was the efforts of individual investors/developers who really moved it forward. Philadelphia's older neighborhoods consist of rowhomes, twin homes, and the like. Which means there are many more homes/parcels on 1 city block than on 1 suburban block. Which also means that you need a lot of like-minded people on board if you want to turn things around. They banded together, and now South-of-South is also known as one of Philadelphia's top family-friendly neighborhoods.

What was once known as an undesirable place to live due to the threat of a new expressway cutting across its core, has since become one of the most popular neighborhoods in the city.

This article is a great place to start if you are unfamiliar with G-Ho.