Face Off: The growth of Gaston County

Face Off: The growth of Gaston County

By: Felipe Rivas

2 min read January 2020 — In the last few years, Gaston County, located an hour away from the Queen City, has greatly benefited from the activity happening in Mecklenburg County. As a result, Gaston County, home to cities like Gastonia and Mount Holly, is experiencing growth in its residential, commercial and industrial sectors. Its proximity to the Charlotte Douglas International Airport and available land make it a suitable place for businesses and new residents to settle in and still tap into the energy of nearby Charlotte. In an interview with Invest: Charlotte, city of Gastonia Mayor Walker E. Reid and Mount Holly Mayor Bryan Hough talk about how their perspective cities are adapting to the growth, changes in infrastructure, and their vision for their cities moving forward. 

 

What areas are witnessing growth in your cities?

 

Walker E. Reid: Residential is growing in the southeast part of the city. It is an area we invested in a while back in hopes of developing it. As we speak, 411 single-family homes are being built within Nolen Farm. Also, we are going to bolster the zone’s water infrastructure and improve the sewage system. Eastridge Mall is in the process of being revitalized as well. For this project, some investors are willing to inject between $100 million and $150 million. It will include apartments and an aquatic center. We are working on the details of traffic patterns in and out of the mall. We are also working with the Transportation Commission to get the Silverline light rail into Gaston County.

 

Bryan Hough: We are one of the closest cities to the Charlotte Douglas International Airport. Our proximity to the airport provides an opportunity for travelers and professionals to see Mount Holly and take an interest in the city. They’ll see that we have a small town atmosphere but can take advantage of a large place like Charlotte and the amenities they provide. The exposure the airport provides is good for job growth and opportunities for commercial growth. For 2020, we expect to see more investment coming to Mount Holly. We are going to see additional growth in both residential and commercial. We also plan to expand the greenway system. Our arts community has been blossoming and we expect it to continue to grow. 

Walker E. Reid

How is the local infrastructure dealing with the region’s growth?

 

Reid: The county was traditionally and primarily focused on the textile industry. When those businesses and jobs were lost, we had to adapt to find our next business niche, which turned out to be infrastructure. Now, we sell water to municipalities in Gaston County as well as in Clover, South Carolina. We also provide water, sewage and electricity services. The Gastonia Technology Park is a great testament to our diversification efforts. Businesses from all over the world have come to Gaston County to capitalize on this park. It has 24-hour uninterrupted power. We have a qualified workforce, training facilities and the infrastructure to assist new businesses looking to set up shop in Gastonia.

 

Hough: “Mount Holly, located in Gaston County, is home to 16,000 residents. In the past year, we have seen a lot of investor interest and development in Mount Holly. Investors in the manufacturing and distribution sectors are interested in development opportunities. We have a new hotel being built on the edge of our city, off of Interstate 85, which is connected to Charlotte, and is 10 minutes away from the Charlotte Douglas International Airport. Our economic development department created a strategic vision plan based on significant economic input that highlights the attributes of Mount Holly, and provides investment information for businesses that want to bring their operations to the area. We work with the Gaston County Economic Development Commission to attract and retain large commercial companies. We want to make investment information accessible to investors.  

Bryan Hough

As mayor, where do you see your city heading in the future?

 

Reid: We have set some very aggressive goals related to our infrastructure, healthy communities, good government, economic vitality, our community identity, and for the safety of our community. In the coming years, we will continue to build on our momentum of growth and entrepreneurship. We also must continue to bring everyone to the table because we are a diverse city. One other goal that I would like to see the city work toward is for more diversity and inclusion. I want to put more emphasis on getting our residents from different cultures and different age groups involved in our city’s future – to build a sense of belonging and bring everyone together. Let’s hear more and different voices. I want the city of Gastonia to become the best city we can possibly be. Considering we are between Charlotte and Atlanta, we have a lot to offer.

 

Hough: Quality of life has been a key focus for the city. We want to be connected to the Catawba River via a greenway system that we are developing. We will have around 9 miles of greenway development near the river and 200 acres have been preserved for eco-tourism, such as canoeing and kayaking. We will have a bridge near the Dutchman’s Creek greenway area that will help with development near the river. The greenway system will stretch from I-85 to Highway 16 once it is completed. Mount Holly is home to very active residents who like to swim, bike and kayak. We want to connect with nature, which is part of our logo. That is our niche in the Charlotte Metro Area.

To learn more about our interviewees, visit:

https://www.cityofgastonia.com/

https://www.mtholly.us/

Philadelphia Building on Life Sciences Success

Philadelphia Building on Life Sciences Success

By: Sara Warden

2 min read January 2020 — Last March, Philadelphia came in at an impressive eighth in CBRE’s ranking of top life sciences markets. Now, almost a year on, the city’s life sciences industry shows no sign of losing momentum – in fact, it is gathering speed.

Last week, the Philadelphia Science Center announced it would award $200,000 each to three Philadelphia-based researchers to develop their early-stage concepts for cancer treatment and diagnosis. The individuals – Ian Henrich, a postdoctoral researcher at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia; Emily Day, a bioengineer at the University of Delaware; and Haim H. Bau, a professor of mechanical engineering at the University of Pennsylvania – are developing novel technologies to progress the understanding, detection and prevention of cancers, HIV and sickle cell disease.

This strong focus as a city on the importance of cutting-edge research is one factor that attracts multi-million-dollar companies from around the United States to invest in Philadelphia, which in turn attracts auxiliary services such as specialized logistics and software companies. Digital marketing firm Imre Health, which represents AstraZeneca’s diabetes and respiratory portfolios, announced its decision to establish an office in Philadelphia late last year for just that reason.

“We have carved out a niche at Imre, redefining the patient and HCP experience through digital channels, and Philadelphia is the [ripest] with that kind of talent even compared to New York,” Imre’s President and Partner Jeff Smokler told PR Week. “We view this Philadelphia office as a major tool to help us manage growth and ensure that we’re keeping pace with service needs and requirements. We see the Philadelphia office as dousing the industry with more gasoline.”

But the real test of the success of any company is its ability to list on a stock exchange. In 2019, three of Philadelphia’s life science companies went public, raising nearly $200 million in IPOs. Arch Street-based biotech company Cabaletta Bio raised $74.8 million. Galera Therapeutics, which is developing a treatment that reduces harmful effects that stem from radiation therapy, raised $60 million, with an option for investors to purchase an additional 750,000 shares. And in November, Tela Bio, a surgical reconstruction company developing novel material for tissue reinforcement, raised $52 million in exchange for the 4 million shares it leveraged.

It doesn’t stop there. In October, Anpac Bio, a Chinese bio-medical science company, chose Philadelphia for its US headquarters and second clinical laboratory. “We are very excited to be moving forward with our U.S. corporate headquarters and laboratory in Pennsylvania. The state has a mature life sciences ecosystem and a supportive startup environment that will allow our U.S. business to lay the foundation for future success,” said Shaun Gong, Anpac’s U.S. president, in a press release.

To learn more, visit:

https://sciencecenter.org/

https://www.cbre.com/

https://imre.com/health/

https://cabalettabio.com/

https://www.galeratx.com/

https://www.telabio.com/

https://www.anpacbio.com/

 

Gloucester County Emerges as the Jewel in South Jersey’s Crown

Gloucester County Emerges as the Jewel in South Jersey’s Crown

By: Sara Warden

2 min read January 2020 — In a roundtable published in Forbes this week, the magazine’s Real Estate Council made a definitive ranking of the 14 Up-and-Coming Real Estate Locations to Watch. Coming in at No. 13 was none other than South Jersey’s very own Gloucester County. “For the most inspired growing area, look to Gloucester County in South Jersey!” said panelist Nancy Kowalik, owner of Nancy Kowalik Real Estate Group. 

 

But why is this county gentrifying so quickly? According to Kowalik, it’s because Gloucester County has everything. “Located close to the city and the shore, we have green spaces, room to breathe, wineries, a quaint Downtown and bike paths,” she said. “It’s all here, and that’s why world-class Rowan University is growing. A new 1,000-bed, state-of-the-art hospital is opening, too.”

The hospital to which she is referring is the Inspira Medical Center Mullica Hill, 465,000-square-foot development over 100 acres with 210 private rooms, a maternity center and 62-room emergency department. The project, the county’s first new hospital in almost 45 years, was built with raised funds of $23 million, a campaign that took just seven months to reach its target.

“This is a tremendous day for South Jersey, Gloucester County and our health system,” John DiAngelo, Inspira Health’s CEO and president, said at the hospital’s ribbon-cutting ceremony in December. “With this new hospital, our commitment to providing exceptional care for our community, in our community, reaches a new level. We are excited to bring the latest in healthcare to the people of Gloucester County and surrounding communities.”

As far as the university expansion, one of the main developments has been the $400 million, 26-acre Rowan Boulevard project. 

As well as the healthcare sector and academia, Gloucester County is also proving to be attractive for the private sector, and has become somewhat of a home to craft breweries. The most recent addition is Core3Brewery, a new player that joins the ranks of Human Village Brewing Co. in Pitman, Eight & Sand Beer Co. in Woodbury, Cross Keys Brewing Co. in Williamstown and Death of the Fox Brewing Company in Clarksboro. 

“We were really drawn to the way they are building up the area around the college and definitely see the positive direction the area is moving in,” Krystle Lockman, owner of Axe and Arrow Microrewery, told South Jersey Business Journal. “It’s great to be on the ground floor of this redevelopment project in an area we have so many ties to.”

And Core3’s owner, Lawrence Price, told South Jersey Business Journal that the ease of doing business in the county will only contribute to its continued growth. “[The borough] has been so supportive and helpful and business friendly. Everything they could do to help us, they did,” he said. “Mayor Tom Bianco has always been upfront with us and in the mix of things, stopping by at least once or twice a week to see how things are going and if there is anything he can do.”

 

 

To learn more, visit:

https://www.nancykowalik.com/

http://www.inspirahealthnetwork.org/mullicahill

https://www.rowan.edu/

http://www.core3brewery.com/

https://axeandarrowbrewing.com/

 

Healthcare in Philadelphia Going from Strength to Strength

Healthcare in Philadelphia Going from Strength to Strength

By: Sara Warden

2 min read January 2020 — Innovation in Philadelphia’s healthcare industry has long been recognized as exemplary, and it served as a focal point of Philly’s B.PHL Innovation Fest held in September. Recent developments show that healthcare pioneers were right to bet on Philadelphia.

It’s only a week in and already 2020 has been a big year for healthcare in Philadelphia. Healthcare software company Repisodic announced this week it has raised $1.75 million from a private stock sale led by VC company American Enterprise Ventures. Repisodic was nominated among just 17 early-stage companies that received a total of $3 million in pre-seed funding from Ben Franklin Technology Partners of Southeastern Pennsylvania in 2018.

The technology produced by the company is based on patient discharge care and was catalyzed by the “discharge planning rule” enacted by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) in November, which mandated that patients “be in the driver’s seat, playing an active role in their care transitions to ensure seamless coordination of care,” according to CMS Administrator Seema Verma.

Repisodic allows patients to access a list of post-acute care providers in a seamless and easy way, with search functions tailored to the patient’s specific medical records and requirements. “The sheet of paper (given to post-acute care patients by hospitals on discharge) may have names and addresses and phone numbers, but not a whole lot of other information,” Mike Cwalinski, the company’s co-founder and CEO, said to Philadelphia Business Journal. “We help patients make better and faster decisions at the time of discharge.”

Elsewhere, Philly-based gene therapy company Spirovant Sciences was last week acquired by Japanese pharma company Sumitomo Dainippon Pharma in a $3 billion transaction. “(Sumitomo) is incredibly committed to Spirovant and to gene therapy, particularly the work going on here in the Philadelphia area,” said Joan Lau, Spirovant’s CEO, in an interview with Philadelphia Business Journal. “They will be spending time here to get to know the area more intimately.”

Spirovant’s gene therapies aim to repair mutations that come as a side-effect from cystic fibrosis and cause difficulties with breathing. Earlier in the year Spirovant had been acquired by New York-based Roivant, which sold its ownership stake in five companies – one of which was Spirovant – to Sumitomo. “I think it’s a testament to our underlying technology from the University of Iowa and CHOP,” said Lau when asked about being acquired twice in one year. “We’ve been able to show strong preclinical data.”

 

To learn more, visit:

https://www.repisodic.com/

https://benfranklin.org/

https://www.cms.gov/

https://spirovant.com/

https://www.ds-pharma.com/

https://bphlfest.com/

https://www.americanenterprise.com/aeventures

 

Miami Beach Welcomes Two New Hotel Developments to Usher in 2020

Miami Beach Welcomes Two New Hotel Developments to Usher in 2020

By: Sara Warden

2 min read January 2020 — Miami Beach’s hospitality industry entered 2020 with a bang, with two high-profile hotel openings. Both the Greystone development and the Hampton Inn at The Continental are refurbished versions of the Art Deco and Miami Modernist styles of the 1930s and 1940s, combined with a cool beachy chic that is synonymous with Miami Beach.

 

The Hampton Inn at the Continental was acquired by the Hampton by Hilton brand, which subsequently invested $25 million to give the hotel an overhaul to make it not only align with the brand but also to maintain the historic relevance of the building. 

“As renovation experts, we’re proud to present this completed project alongside Pebb Capital,” said Alan Waserstein, principal with LeaseFlorida, in a press release. “The historic component of this hotel, coupled with the Hampton by Hilton brand will make it a mainstay in Miami Beach’s hospitality scene.”

As well as the 100-room hotel, the development has embraced the multiuse concept that makes or breaks hotel chains. The ground floor will become the Piola restaurant, and future updates will incorporate a parking garage and retail space, according to the developers. 

This strategy has also been adopted by the Greystone Hotel in Miami Beach, which was opened for reservations this month. Conscious of the need to offer a more unique experience, the hotel is adult-only and eco-friendly, and offers a rooftop pool, mixology lounge and courtyard café. And although human babies may not be allowed, patrons should feel free to bring their furry four-legged babies (up to a maximum weight of 25lbs). 

There are 91 renovated guest rooms for most tastes and budgets with private decks and hot tubs (the Hot Tub Terrace Suites come in at over $600 per night). You can also interact with hotel facilities through your smartphone, including locking and unlocking the door, ordering room service and contacting the concierge through the hotel’s bespoke app. The Golden Gator basement speakeasy completes the lineup in a nod to the hotel’s 1930s roots. 

Vos Hospitality is the developer behind the $70 million renovation, which partnered with private investment group the B Group in 2018 to purchase the adjacent building on 20th Street, giving the development an impressive total 54,000-square-footprint.

“We will bring in an alternative to the area’s club scene,” said Vos hospitality owner James Vosotas to the Miami New Times. “We are catering to young-minded professionals with a nontraditional luxury of high-quality without the white glove. Everything has been upgraded cohesively so that locals and guests will have plenty to explore within the property.”

 

To learn more, visit:

https://www.greystonemiamibeach.com/

https://www.hilton.com/en/hotels/miacahx-hampton-miami-beach-mid-beach/

http://www.voshospitality.com/

https://leaseflorida.com/

 

Public-Private Partners Devise Future of Queen City

Public-Private Partners Devise Future of Queen City

By: Felipe Rivas

2 min read January 2020In the last decade, Charlotte rose from the devastating effects of the Great Recession to become the 16th-most populous city in the United States. The Queen City has experienced continuous years of growth thanks to the diversification of its economy, its budding headquarters relocation culture, steady commercial and residential development, and its “cool” appeal favored by the young workforce moving to Charlotte and its surrounding region. As the city prepares for another decade of evolution, growth, and development, public and private partners have their eyes set on the year 2040. Several complementary plans are underway that will help guide the future of Center City, the city of Charlotte and Mecklenburg County for the next 20 years.

Spearheaded by nonprofit Charlotte Center City Partners, in partnership with the city and county, the “ALL IN 2040” plan aims to establish a new blueprint for the growth and development of Center City, an area that encompasses Uptown and South End. Simultaneously, the city of Charlotte is working on its 2040 Comprehensive Plan, which will guide the growth of Charlotte overall, while Mecklenburg County rewrites its Park and Recreation master plan.

Michael Smith, president and CEO of Charlotte Center City Partners, said the Queen City has a strong legacy of careful planning for long-term development. “We’ve had four decades of deliberate planning and this decade has really defined Charlotte,” Smith told Invest: Charlotte. “Charlotte has launched a new, renewed Center City vision for 2040, called the ‘ALL IN’ plan. This is a great opportunity for Charlotte to carry on its legacy of planning. This is a 50-year tradition of creating these blueprints, each time looking several decades ahead, but renewing that vision every 10 years. This provides us with an opportunity to listen to our community, and to bring subject-matter experts in to help us understand some of the best practices around the world,” he said.

 

Much of the successful growth and development in Charlotte that occurred in the past decade was a result of strong public-private partnerships, which the “ALL IN 2040” plan will continue to develop and strengthen. “The plans and projects are co-created and co-owned with the private sector. In Charlotte over the last 50 years, we’ve had the public sector making transformative, shaping, stimulating investments in infrastructure, and the private sector responding in a collaborative way,” Smith said.

 

Infrastructure will be a strong focus of the “ALL IN 2040” plan, as well as the city’s 2040 Comprehensive Plan. “With the growth we have, we know we have to invest in transportation,” Smith said. Both plans account for major transit expansions to the city’s rapid bus transit and light rail systems. “All that infrastructure development is really needed as the city is booming with construction on the residential, office and hospitality fronts. Right now, there are almost 2.2 million square feet of office space under construction. Of that, there are about 700,000 square feet in South End, and more in Uptown. This is not speculative; there is a lot of pre-leased space in South End. As a matter of fact, about 90% of what’s under construction is pre-leased. It provides us with great confidence,” he said.

 

The “ALL IN 2040” plan and similar city and county efforts are meant to complement one another. Throughout 2020, residents are encouraged to attend public engagement sessions where they can give their input regarding the future of Charlotte and Mecklenburg County. 

By the end of the process, a final draft will be created that will eventually head to the city council for approval and implementation.

 

To learn more, visit:

https://www.charlottecentercity.org 

https://www.allin2040.com/plan

Spotlight On: Sean Beuche, Regional Manager, Marcus & Millichap

Spotlight On: Sean Beuche, Regional Manager, Marcus & Millichap

By: Yolanda Rivas

2 min read December 2019 — 2019 was a steady year for Philadelphia’s commercial real estate. The market’s affordability, the city’s position as a logistics hub and its attractive environment for startups has driven strong demand. One of the areas seeing a high amount of activity is King of Prussia. Commercial real estate firm Marcus & Millichap recently relocated to the area, attracted by the growth in the region. Regional Manager Sean Beuche discussed with the Invest: team the neighborhoods seeing the most growth in commercial real estate and his outlook for the sector as we enter 2020. 

Marcus & Millichap relocated its Wynnewood location to King of Prussia. What makes that community attractive?

This relocation highlights our commitment to the area and our optimism about the local economy. The construction and new development activity going on in the King of Prussia market is very attractive. Numerous businesses and baby boomers are moving to the area, where there is more land available, beautiful housing stock, good school districts and less traffic congestion.  King of Prussia is a nexus of a variety of different interstates and that strategic location amid emerging growth and development is much more desirable for us. In addition, we are expanding in a nicer Class A office space that provides our clients and agents with a much brighter and enjoyable place to do business.

 

Which areas are the fastest-growing for commercial real estate in Philadelphia?

We’re seeing fast appreciation in the Point Breeze market, while Fishtown and Kensington have been hot for some time. We are also seeing numerous investments in areas further along the Main Line region. The Lehigh Valley and Central PA markets are both driving a lot of new investors into Pennsylvania. As the yields continue to deliver in some of these secondary and tertiary markets, investors want to move outside of areas where they’re getting squeezed by some popularity. There is a bit of a ripple effect being created by the economy being strong for a long time, and many of the investments that have been made or taken in these core markets are pushing investors further out. 

 

What is your outlook for Philadelphia’s real estate sector over the next 12-18 months?

 

The outlook is positive. There is uncertainty from a political standpoint, we are dealing with some of the trade wars and we are very interested in seeing where that shakes out. We focus on private and middle market clients and, in times of uncertainty, we provide them with market research about existing opportunities. From an income standpoint, rents in the Center City market and many of our urban infill markets are pushed up, and we would need to see some relevant margin changes in household income to afford a greater rent increase. Our clients are seeing strong fundamentals in the main groups that we focus on, which are multifamily, industrial, office and retail. As that financing loosens up and remains affordable, deals are very quickly moving off our shelves and into the hands of investors.

 

To learn more about our interviewee, visit:

Marcus & Millichap: https://www.marcusmillichap.com/ 

 

Philadelphia, South Jersey Prioritize Transit, Affordability, Sustainability in 2020

Philadelphia, South Jersey Prioritize Transit, Affordability, Sustainability in 2020

By: Sara Warden

2 min read December 2019 — Although under slightly different time frames, both South Jersey and Philadelphia’s local and state governments are prioritizing investment in three key axes for the coming years: transit, affordability and sustainability.

 

In 2011, Philadelphia’s City Planning Commission outlined Philadelphia2035, a comprehensive plan for managing growth and development in the city. Updated every year, the first phase includes a Citywide Vision, that encompasses broad planning goals, while the second phase will build upon these with specific policies related to 18 different planning districts. The program invites public and private investment for the development of the city over the medium term. The blueprint is based on three key themes: Thrive, Connect and Renew.

According to the 2035 planning document, the Thrive element will focus on promoting affordability in housing, strong neighborhood centers, economic development and land management. Connect will center around improving transportation and utilities, including transit, streets and highways, ports, airports and rail. Finally, with an eye on sustainability, Renew is all about creating more open spaces, effective use of water resources, air quality and historic preservation.

“Philadelphia 2035 envisions a city with an expanded transportation network that better connects home and workplace; ensures convenient access to sources of healthy food; supports the productive reuse of vacant land; and provides modern municipal facilities that serve as the anchors of strong neighborhoods,” said former City Mayor Michael Nutter when launching the plan in 2011.

The new year was already off to a good start for the City of Brotherly Love even before the calendar turned. National Geographic Traveler in November named Philadelphia one of the top 25 must-visit destinations in the world in 2020.

And across the Delaware, South Jersey faces many of same issues are at the top of Gov. Phil Murphy’s priority list. The four pillars of the 2020 budget signed in June 2019 include creation of over $1.1 billion in sustainable savings, stabilizing New Jersey’s credit-worthiness and ensuring tax fairness for the middle class. This foundation will support the final priority of investments in education, infrastructure – in particular NJ TRANSIT – and an innovation-driven economy.

“The budget enacted today is a victory for working families in New Jersey in many different ways—it supports middle-class priorities, invests in education, makes a record investment in NJ TRANSIT, provides property tax relief, and so much more,” said Murphy when he signed the budget into force.

But Murphy also has his eye on further priorities to strengthen the 2020 plan amid more effective tax revenues. “This is a budget that does not include tax fairness, does not ask opioid manufacturers to help fund addiction services, and does not raise gun fees that have been untouched since 1966,” he said. “These common-sense revenues would have allowed us to save for a rainy day and sustainably fund necessary investments for New Jersey’s nine million residents.”

To learn more, visit:

https://www.phila.gov/departments/philadelphia-city-planning-commission/ 

https://www.jerseycitynj.gov/cityhall/mayorfulop

 

Philly Zoo Embraces the Festive Spirit with LumiNature

Philly Zoo Embraces the Festive Spirit with LumiNature

By: Sara Warden 

2 min read December 2019 — During the Christmas season, electricity usage skyrockets as homes, businesses and local authorities light up the streets with Christmas displays and twinkling lights sure to make even the coldest hearts feel festive. This year, Philadelphia Zoo is getting in on the action with its inaugural LumiNature festival. 

 

After two years of planning and a $3.5 million investment, LumiNature will take place from Nov. 20 to Jan. 5, featuring 12 immersive displays containing over 600,000 lights inside the zoo’s boundaries. “LumiNature will transform the Zoo from its daytime magic into a winter wonderland, immersing guests in a joyous multimedia light and music spectacular,” said Philadelphia Zoo’s Chief Marketing Officer Amy Shearer in a press release. “We will shine a light on the world’s elusive big cats and flamboyant peacocks, …all through the artistry of lights, media, sound and nature itself.”

Tickets start from a very affordable $19 for the night tour of the zoo while the animals slumber, where guests can see, among other displays, “lit flamingos … on their own 25-foot tree, a 35-foot polar bear made out of 23,000 pounds of recycled car doors … and all four seasons,” according to Shearer. The event, presented by JP Morgan Chase, promises 200 festively lit penguins, 45 completely custom LED light structures and a 21-foot snake. “LumiNature is set to be the most unique and memorable holiday-season light extravaganza in the entire Philadelphia and tri-state region,” added Shearer.

The intention is for LumiNature to be an unmissable family experience each year at Christmas. The event is also expected to attract visitors from out-of-town, just to see the fantastical light and sound show. Hilton hotels partnered with the event to offer Hilton Honours Members a special gift when attending LumiNature.

Hot chocolate and mulled wine will be on offer to guests as they stroll through the zoo, admiring the 12 difference displays. Here’s what the event organizers say guests should expect:

  • Wonder of Slumber: A beautiful and dreamy setting of lit orbs and giant illuminated flowers.
  • The Dreamery: A wishing well of sorts with a wave of the hand, bubbles, lights, and steam.
  • Snake Awake: Slither through brilliant purples, blues and greens as a giant snake slithers along beside you…
  • Frog Fantastical: Color washes throughout the trees and water-like images appear on the path before you.
  • Color me Chameleon: A kaleidoscope of color fills this festive plaza inviting guests to shop for their favorite light up items at the Zoo’s very first glow bar.
  • Big Cat Stalk: As you meander through this path of tall illuminated ‘grass’, the stalking eyes of these frisky felines will appear and disappear making you wonder if you are what they are dreaming of.
  • Evergreen Dreams: Situated in this lovely outdoor hang out are some surprising trees that come to life as they sing and welcome you to LumiNature.
  • Seasonbration: Spring, Summer, Winter and Fall all have a point of view that comes to life via lights, music, and special effects.
  • Northern Lights: A 35-foot polar bear named Polaris made entirely from white recycled car doors transforms into a gigantic screen that shares the magnificence and diversity of our planet. 
  • Flamingo Fancy: Guests will be surprised as they walk along brilliantly lit 8-foot pink “flamingos” when they encounter the most whimsical tree within LumiNature: a 25-foot beauty made entirely of lit flamingo lawn ornaments!
  • Peacock Spectacular: Standing before giant, lit peacock feathers, people can get the most unique holiday picture of the season. 
  • Penguin Peace on Earth: Hundreds of illuminated penguins will fill the zoo’s lawn to bid guests farewell and wish them a very special holiday season in true zoo fashion.

 

To find out more, visit:

 

https://philadelphiazoo.org/luminature/