Philly Developers Quick off the Mark in OZ Race

Philly Developers Quick off the Mark in OZ Race

Writer: Sara Warden

2 min read OCTOBER 2019 — 
Philadelphia’s population growth has lagged other large metro areas in the last few years, according to data from JLL and ULI. From 2010 to 2016, the region experienced a modest 2.1% population expansion and between 2010 to 2017, economic expansion was 12.3%, below the 15.1% experienced nationally.

 

This means that when the Opportunity Zones (OZs) were announced in the 2017 Federal Tax reform package, Philadelphia businesses welcomed them with open arms. “We have seen significant demand from Philadelphia’s real estate industry,” said Paul Dougherty, Philadelphia partner-in-charge at EisnerAmper LLP. “Part of that demand has to do with the interest around the Opportunity Zones created under the tax reform.”

OZs are a mechanism through which developers can defer tax payments through reinvestment of capital gains, for a maximum tax burden reduction of 15%, among other benefits. The program was designed to incentivize development in slower-growth regions. Philadelphia is now home to 82 OZs and the private sector has wasted no time tapping into them.

“The new federal Opportunity Zones will be interesting, and we hope to see some growth in the market from those. There are some very strategic areas in Philadelphia, like the corridor leading up Broad Street toward Temple. It’ll be exciting to see what happens in those areas,” said Tim Pulte, senior executive vice president of Colliers International.

In Brewerytown alone, several developments have sprung up, including the $42 million conversion of the F.A. Poth Brewing Company building at 31st and Jefferson Streets. The $10 million investment made by Off Road Capital Management will create 128 apartments and 25,000 square feet of commercial real estate. At 2120 E. York St., north of Frankford Avenue in Kensington, developer Civetta Property Group will use $8 million in equity from a fund under PNC Financial Services Group to build a five-story, 56-unit apartment building. And developer Mosaic Development Partners has chosen a former medical supply factory on Wayne Avenue, north of Berkley Street in Germantown, to convert into a 39-unit mixed-use development with a $7.5 million investment.

With these kinds of investments made in such a small area over such a short period, it is easy to see how capital expenditures could reach the $100 billion goal touted by Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin. But as OZs attract buzz, some have suggested the initiative may fall short of expectations without the right participation.

However, for Ben Connors, President of the General Building Contractors Association (GBCA), there is no downside to the program. “Opportunity Zones are going to have either a positive impact or a minimal impact. They are certainly not negative,” he said. “These zones stand to be another tool to extend economic development. Some of the Opportunity Zones that have been selected in this region are prime for development, assuming that the funds are prepared to take advantage. What is unknown is the scale.”

It is not only developers that have seen the benefits these zones can bring. Companies providing auxiliary services aligned with the real estate industry have been able to tap into the new OZ reality. One of these companies is real estate information firm CoStar, which identified numerous companies looking for ways to better search properties for Opportunity Zone investments.

In response, this year the company added Opportunity Zone overlays onto its property mapping functions. “With this new functionality, our subscribers can set alerts that notify them anytime a commercial property comes up for sale in an Opportunity Zone they are interested in,” Adrian Ponsen, the company’s director of market analytics, told Invest:. “They can also search for off-market Opportunity Zone properties that have the nearby demographic criteria and lot sizes they need to be viable candidates for redevelopment.”

To learn more about our interviewees, visit:

https://www.eisneramper.com/

https://www2.colliers.com

https://gbca.com/

https://www.costar.com/

 

 

 

 

Spotlight On: Tim Pulte, Senior Executive Vice President, Colliers International

Spotlight On: Tim Pulte, Senior Executive Vice President, Colliers International

Writer: Yolanda Rivas

2 min read October 2019 — Collier’s Philadelphia delivers a full range of services to commercial real estate occupants, owners and investors throughout the tri-state region. Senior Executive Vice President Tim Pulte joined Colliers’ senior leadership team in 2017, bringing more than 31 years of experience in corporate operations, corporate real estate, transaction management and facility management. The Invest: Philadelphia team recently spoke with Pulte about the company’s plans for growth and how it serves local and foreign investors. 

2 min read OCTOBER 2019 — Collier’s Philadelphia delivers a full range of services to commercial real estate occupants, owners and investors throughout the tri-state region. Senior Executive Vice President Tim Pulte joined Colliers’ senior leadership team in 2017, bringing more than 31 years of experience in corporate operations, corporate real estate, transaction management and facility management. The Invest: Philadelphia team recently spoke with Pulte about the company’s plans for growth and how it serves local and foreign investors. 

 

What are the benefits of being located in Philadelphia?

As a global company, we have offices all over North America and abroad. Because of this, we’re able to service our clients no matter where their requirements are, both inbound and outbound. For example, if a company is coming in from Mexico, we can help them. Conversely, we can send a deal to Mexico and know it’s going to be taken care of. Philadelphia’s a great location for us. We’re close to other large markets and have access to our international markets as well. We have a very strong industrial base in our clientele. We have long-standing relationships with multiple manufacturing companies throughout the Colliers network. For example, we’ve worked with Philadelphia-based company Cardone to secure locations throughout the United States. We also helped NFI secure locations in Canada and the UK. 

 

What type of investment is the Philadelphia market seeing?

We’ve started seeing an increase in foreign investment come into the Greater Philadelphia market. It has mostly been asset-driven as opposed to geographically-driven, so it’s really dependent on what investors are looking for. We’ve seen a lot of investment in the industrial space recently; markets such as Philadelphia have become more appealing to investors, both foreign and domestic, because of the higher rate of return. For this reason, we’re seeing a lot of buyers from New York. We’ve also seen a lot of international investors buying companies here in the Philadelphia market. We’ve represented quite a few in the industrial space. 

 

How does Colliers International plan to grow in the Philadelphia region?

We have six offices in the region: Harrisburg; Allentown; Conshohocken; Center City,  Philadelphia; Mount Laurel, New Jersey; and Wilmington, Delaware. In all our offices we handle office, industrial, retail, property management and landlord representation. We’re trying to grow those areas across all our offices in the region. We’re looking to capitalize on established relationships while building new ones, especially in strategic areas where we can grow — and from an international standpoint as well. The new federal Opportunity Zones will be interesting, and we hope to see some growth in the market from those. There are some very strategic areas in Philadelphia, like the corridor leading up Broad Street toward Temple. It’ll be exciting to see what happens in those areas. 

 

To learn more about our interviewees, visit their websites:

 

Colliers International: https://www2.colliers.com/en/United-States/Cities/Philadelphia 

 

Spotlight On: HBK CPAs & Consultants, James Bartolomei, Principal

Writer: Yolanda Rivas

2 min read SEPTEMBER 2019 — Technology is disrupting every industry in the world. From healthcare to banking and finance, numerous companies are reinventing themselves to be at the forefront of technology and innovation. In the accounting and finance segments, these innovative tools are rapidly transforming customer experience and data management. The Invest: Philadelphia team recently sat down with HBK CPAs & Consultants Principal James Bartolomei to get his insights about the performance of Philadelphia’s financial sector.

In what ways is technology disrupting the accounting and finance industry?

Technology is disrupting every industry. Innovation and technology allow companies to get creative and find ways to improve processes and, more importantly, customer experience. The biggest challenge faced by the financial industry is to improve customer experience while protecting sensitive data. To assist our clients in this area we recently developed a cybersecurity offering, which has been well-received. 

With the rapid and dynamic change in technology, businesses can be eliminated and displaced very quickly today. This represents a big challenge as the value one thought was built up in their business could vanish. This is why it is vitally important for business owners to build wealth both inside and outside their businesses. Our firm combines tax and accounting services with our wealth management services to help deliver on this objective and minimize risk for our clients.

What are the services and industries where you’re seeing the most demand?

We have seen increased demand from clients looking for our advice about the effects of the federal tax reform, especially because of the substantial changes in the privately-held business area. Clients are concerned that their accountants and tax advisers fully understand the new tax law and how it impacts them. There are significant changes to the way small businesses are taxed under this new law.

Philadelphia’s real estate and biotech sectors are growing. We have numerous clients in the real estate sector and we have seen a substantial uptick in activity and development, especially in rental properties. In the biotech sector, we have seen a high amount of activity in the medical technology segment.

What is your outlook for Philadelphia’s accounting and finance sectors?

We are continuing to see growth in the Philadelphia market. We are relatively new to the market and we are expanding our client base and attracting good, young talent. We have hired a number of recent college grads over the last two years with great results. Philly is one of the strongest and youngest markets in the United States and the outlook is great for HBK and the local financial services sector. 

 

 

To learn more about our interviewees, visit:

HBK CPAs & Consultants:  https://www.hbkcpa.com/

Spotlight On: Bret Perkins, Vice President, External & Government Affairs, Comcast Corporation

Writer: Yolanda Rivas

2 min read SEPTEMBER 2019 — The Comcast Technology Center just received one of the development industry’s biggest awards: the 2019 Urban Land Institute’s annual Global Awards for Excellence. The Philadelphia building won the recognition along with 11 other projects from around the world. The $1.5 billion development was designed for namesake tenant Comcast, which has 4,000 employees in the tower. The American telecoms company has had an enormous impact on Philadelphia’s economy and the Invest: Philadelphia team sat down with Comcast Corporation Vice President of External & Government Affairs Bret Perkins to explore the company’s impact and future plans for the Philadelphia region.

What impact will the Comcast Technology Center have on Philadelphia’s economy over the long term?

Comcast has had an unwavering commitment to the city of Philadelphia for over 55 years, and the addition of the Comcast Technology Center to our campus is the latest example. We have approximately 4,000 engineers, software developers, and technologists developing next-gen products in the Comcast Technology Center, and we are recruiting and trying to retain world-class technology talent here in Philadelphia. The fact that we have invested and built this campus in Philadelphia is a statement unto itself and gives a sense of what we think about this city, which is our home. This is a space where we can recruit, retain and grow a talent base to build world-class products. 

The Comcast Technology Center is also the new home of NBC10 and Telemundo62, providing them a state-of-the-art studio to deliver the best news to the Philadelphia community.  The top floors are occupied by Four Seasons Hotel Philadelphia, which will offer five-star accommodations with magnificent views, fantastic restaurants, and will deliver an unparalleled experience…all contributing to and supporting the success of Philadelphia.

 

How does Comcast support the local startup community?

LIFT Labs and our team that does entrepreneurial engagement is our front door to the startup community around the country. LIFT Labs in Philadelphia is particularly unique because we have a space that is really intended to be a convening spot for the startup and entrepreneurial community. It’s about us working with the startup community and entrepreneurs to help them build their businesses, but also for us to learn from them. We also have the Comcast NBCUniversal LIFT Labs Accelerator, powered by Techstars, which is designed to support connectivity, media and entertainment startups. Our inaugural Comcast NBCUniversal LIFT Labs Accelerator took place in summer 2018, and eight out of the 10 companies that participated ended up with some sort of proof of concept partnership with Comcast NBCUniversal. The participants get to meet with mentors and coaches who are world-class in everything they do. This a way for us to help build this ecosystem and partner with startups. 

 

What impact will the 3,500-seat esports arena have on the city? 

Comcast Spectacor and The Cordish Companies recently announced they will build the first purpose-built facility of its kind in the country dedicated to esports. It will also be the home of the Philadelphia Fusion, our Overwatch League esports team. This is a great development for the city. It will bring additional energy and become a hub for esports. There are a number of businesses that have built up around esports, such as N3rd Street Gamers, an amateur and semi-pro esports network. Our dedicated esports arena is part of a huge investment we are making in the Philadelphia Sports Complex, which includes the $250 million renovation of the Wells Fargo Center; the creation of Pattison Place, an $80 million, Class-A office tower; and Fusion Arena, which is a $50 million investment. That is a significant amount of investment in Philadelphia and another vote of confidence in our home city.

 

To learn more about our interviewee, visit:

Comcast Corporation: https://corporate.comcast.com/ 

LIFT Labs: https://lift.comcast.com/ 

Comcast Spectacor: http://www.comcastspectacor.com/  

Fusion Arena: https://fusionarenaphilly.com/

Philly Legal: These Sectors Are on the Right Side of the Law

by Yolanda Rivas

2 min read SEPTEMBER 2019 — Over the last few years, Philadelphia’s legal sector has seen a steady flow of law firms entering the market as well as local firms expanding in and outside the region. As the market gets more concentrated, many firms are betting on key growth areas to expand their practices. 

According to Invest: interviews with leading legal voices in the Philly area, health and life sciences, technology, real estate and finance are some of the sectors keeping attorneys busy. With a diverse business ecosystem in Philadelphia, firms like Zarwin Baum DeVito Kaplan Schaer Toddy, P.C. are experiencing high demand in commercial business, especially in the areas of banking, leasing, real estate financing and real estate development.

“We also have seen growth in our employment practices area, in part due to the #MeToo movement, which is generating many more workplace claims. Commercial litigation is also a growth area for us,” Mitchell Kaplan, managing shareholder at Zarwin Baum, told Invest:. “But we are currently seeing the most growth in our data privacy and cyber-liability department. That department gets involved in the training of businesses to prevent data leaks and breaches. We provide training, prevention and breach response,” Kaplan said. 

Similarly, St. Louis-based Armstrong Teasdale LLP is growing its intellectual property presence in Philadelphia as a result of the increasing demand in technology litigation around the country. “Intellectual property services, whether it be trademark, patents or copyrights, are required by any business. We support our clients with many trademark and retail issues. For example, in the science, healthcare and pharmaceutical fields, we do a lot of patents and protection of intellectual property. There is high demand for intellectual property services in Philly,” Armstrong Teasdale’s Eastern U.S. Partner and Leader Richard Scheff said in an interview with Invest:. 

According to an article from The Legal Intelligencer, Pennsylvania-based firms saw demand growth of 2.6 percent last year, slightly above the industry average of 2.3 percent. One of the benefits of Philadelphia’s legal sector is the presence of 20 Fortune 500 companies and over 75 Fortune 1000 companies. 

Besides technology and intellectual property services, financial institutions and real estate companies are particularly robust areas for Philadelphia’s legal sector. “Blank Rome’s Real Estate and Financial Services practices are very strong, particularly in Philadelphia. Both continue to be core areas of our law firm with a strong national presence,” Alan J. Hoffman, chairman at Blank Rome LLP, told Invest:.

Finance and technology also form part of Duane Morris LLP’s Top 5 sectors in terms of revenue and areas of focus. “About 85% of our revenue is in the following industries: financial institutions, health and life sciences, technology and telecommunications, infrastructure (including construction and energy) and finally, retail and consumer products. Those areas are our focus across the firm and in Philadelphia, which is our largest office with over 200 lawyers,” Matthew Taylor, chairman & CEO at Duane Morris LLP, told Invest: 

Citi Private Bank Law Firm Group’s Q2 2019 report projects a good year in 2019 relative to earlier post-recession years, although it will be a challenge for the industry to see a repeat of 2018’s strong performance.

 

 

 

To learn more about our interviewees, visit:

Zarwin Baum DeVito Kaplan Schaer Toddy, P.C.: https://www.zarwin.com/ 

Armstrong Teasdale LLP: https://www.armstrongteasdale.com/ 

Blank Rome LLP: https://www.blankrome.com/ 

Duane Morris LLP: https://www.duanemorris.com/ 

Spotlight on: David Devan, General Director & President, Opera Philadelphia

Spotlight on: David Devan, General Director & President, Opera Philadelphia

Writer: Yolanda Rivas

2 min read AUGUST 2019 — Philadelphia is characterized by its diversity and rich history, which are reflected in its broad historical and arts and culture offerings, two of the city’s major tourism drivers. Among the organizations responsible for putting the City of Brotherly Love in the national and international spotlights is Opera Philadelphia, which has committed to embracing innovation and developing opera for the 21st century. Its innovative programming and world-class presentations have been recognized in the United States and around the world. In this week’s Spotlight On edition, the general director and president of Opera Philadelphia, David Devan, shares the organization’s latest accomplishments and future projects with Invest: Philadelphia. 

 

What were some highlights for Opera Philadelphia over the last year?

Opera Philadelphia has been exceeding sales goals with shows like last winter’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream and 2018’s Carmen, and I think we are doing that because we’re attracting a younger demographic. Our Festival O19 is loaded with innovation, which is our norm. We have two world premieres: Denis & Katya, which is about two young teenagers’ interaction with social media at difficult times in their lives, and Let Me Die, which combines death sequences drawn from the canon of tragic opera, along with original narratives and music. We are also doing Opera on the Mall, which broadcasts performances from Opera Philadelphia on Independence Hall, among other events.

 

What impact has Festival O had since it was launched?

Festival O has had a local, national and international impact. Locally, it has animated the city and has enlarged artistic partnerships. We are now working with all sorts of arts organizations as part of the festival. It has also developed a new audience, mostly young. That is the biggest impact; we now have more customers than five years ago. We work with Visit Philadelphia, PHL Convention and Visitors Bureau, and other agencies that promote the city and create local pride. Because we do so much new work, what we are doing is affecting the field of opera nationally in terms of the field celebrating and participating in contemporary art activity. Internationally, we have become recognized as one of the most innovative opera companies in the United States. That is evidenced by our winning the FEDORA-GENERALI Prize for Opera and the important nominations that we receive from the International Opera Awards.

What is the role of arts, and particularly Opera Philadelphia, as an economic driver and job creator for the region? 

Arts in general play a vital role in economic development. They have a wide ripple effect and help brand the city. Tourism is one of the largest economic activities in any city. People travel because of arts and culture, so Opera Philadelphia is trying to celebrate that and become a tastemaker where people come to touch the future of that musical expression. We believe that will have a long-term impact. Over the last three years, we have seen growth in our out-of-town business. We are about to launch a national council because we have many people who live outside Philadelphia and are visiting with the purpose of attending Festival O. We are creating social situations and other arts experiences for our visitors so they can be part of an international community that is coming to experience Philadelphia.

To learn more about our interviewees, visit:

Opera Philadelphia: https://www.operaphila.org/  

Banks increasing support for Philly’s growing small businesses sector

Banks increasing support for Philly’s growing small businesses sector

Writer: Yolanda Rivas

2 min read AUGUST 2019 — The economic environment in Philadelphia, with many world-class educational and healthcare institutions, a diverse population and affordable rents, represent an ideal space for entrepreneurs to start their small or medium-size businesses. At the heart of the small-business community is an industry that plays an essential role: banking.

 

Many Philadelphia banking leaders say they have seen increased demand for lending and other services from small businesses. “Philadelphia has long been home to successful small businesses, but in recent years the collaboration between the public, private and nonprofit sectors is spurring a new level of growth,” Robert Kane, market president at KeyBank, told Invest:. 

 

According to Kane, KeyBank ranks 13th among more than 1,800 SBA lenders nationally. In the last five years, the bank has loaned more than $1.13 billion to small businesses across its footprint.  

Similarly, Philadelphia is one of the largest portfolios in BB&T’s footprint for small business. In an interview with Invest:, Regional President Greater Delaware Valley/Lehigh Valley Region for BB&T Travis Rhodes explained that the number of small business clients the bank is serving in Philadelphia is disproportionately larger than any other market in BB&T’s footprint. As a result, it created the “Bank on Your Success” initiative, which is directed to this community. 

“This free financial knowledge program helps entrepreneurs begin to understand the value of an income statement, a balance sheet and other banking basics. When they begin to think about their kind of profitability, how to manage their short-term assets, receivables and inventory, this education is essential. That education is ultimately what prepares somebody to be able to withstand or to handle the next downturn, because it helps them understand the levers of a company,” Rhodes said. 

Some of the biggest challenges small businesses face are improving cash flow, reducing operating costs, improving financial wellness, balancing growth with quality and hiring and retaining talented employees. To help mitigate those challenges, Keybank has developed Key@Work, which is a comprehensive, no-cost employee financial wellness program. 

“We also have a program, Key4Women, that supports the financial progress of women in business. It’s a great program, offering mentorship opportunities, access to capital and professional development,” Kane said.  

The small-business sector also helps banks to maintain a local presence. “We have small-business relationship managers who know the people in the community and become the point of contact for growing their small-business loans. Business sales also come with a lot of deposits, and that’s been a very healthy growth vehicle for us over the last couple of years,” Rodger Levenson, CEO of WSFS Bank, said in an interview with Invest:. 

Small businesses also have a significant impact on Philadelphia’s employment. According to the Pew Charitable Trusts’ Philadelphia 2019: State of the City report, about 26% of private sector employees in the Philadelphia region worked in small businesses in 2017, a number that was typical for the comparison regions. Also, 17% of Philadelphia employees worked in firms with fewer than 19 employees, second-highest behind the Boston region.

“Small business continues to be the primary generator of jobs and economic activity, not just in Philadelphia but in our entire region. And we see significant growth in our small-business lending activity over the next few years,” Levenson said.  

 

To learn more about our interviewees, visit:

KeyBank: https://www.key.com/small-business/index.jsp 

BB&T: https://www.bbt.com/small-business.html 

WSFS Bank: https://www.wsfsbank.com/Small-Business 

Spotlight on: Kenneth Lawrence Jr., Commissioner, Montgomery County

Writer: Yolanda Rivas

2 min read AUGUST 2019 — Montgomery County is the third-most populous county in Pennsylvania and the state’s the No.1 county for manufacturing. With an extensive trail network, the largest indoor mall in the country, a growing population and diverse economy, Montco presents unique opportunities for businesses among several industries. Commissioner Kenneth Lawrence recently spoke with Invest: about the county’s efforts to grow its economy, attract businesses and embrace sustainability.

What were some highlights for Montgomery County over the last 12 to 18 months?

Montgomery County had its AAA bond status restored by Moody’s. We are working hard on our transportation and infrastructure, repairing our roads and bridges, and making sure these are in good, working condition. We implemented a parental leave policy for our employees. The new policy is not gender-specific and employees can get six weeks off for the birth, adoption or guardianship of a child. We believe that will spur area companies to implement similar initiatives. Montgomery County has the best trail network in the region. We have over 90 miles of trails, including the Schuylkill River Trail, which is the most popular trail in the region, and we are working on expansion, improvements and new connections for many of our trails.

What are some business opportunities unique to Montgomery County, in relation to other counties in the region?

Montgomery County is the No. 1 county in Pennsylvania for manufacturing. We have more manufacturing jobs than any of the 67 counties in the state. There are numerous opportunities in manufacturing, especially in the biotech and pharmaceutical industries. For example, Thomas Jefferson University recently opened the Jefferson Institute for Bioprocessing in Lower Gwynedd, which is a specialized education and training institute for biopharmaceutical processing. Upper Merion is the third-largest employment hub in this region, following Center City and University City. We are working with SEPTA (Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority) on King of Prussia Rail to connect University City, Center City, and Upper Merion with public transportation. This is a 10-year project, but we are working very hard to connect the three major employment hubs in the region.

The pharma and healthcare sectors keep growing in the county. Tourism in Montgomery County is a $1.2 billion industry. Valley Forge National Historical Park gets over 2 million visitors a year. King of Prussia Mall is the largest shopping mall on the East Coast.

What is the county doing to develop sustainable operations?

Sustainability is very important for us as a county government and we want to take a leadership role. We recently announced a wind energy purchase that will power all of the county’s electrical accounts. The commissioners also made a commitment to transition to

renewable energy for heating all county-owned buildings and powering all county-owned vehicles by 2050. Another major project is a new justice center, which is part of six individual construction projects in downtown Norristown to address service, operational and energy inefficiencies and modernize county buildings for the future. We are taking every step possible to make sure that sustainability is a major part of that project so that we’re not increasing our energy footprint. We are also working with our municipalities across the county to explore options for sustainability.

 

To learn more about our interviewees, visit:

Montgomery County: https://www.montcopa.org/ 

 

 

 

Record Numbers Flock to Philly, Again

by Yolanda Rivas

 

2 min read AUGUST 2019 — Greater Philadelphia experienced its ninth straight year of record tourism in 2018. Public and private organizations in the sector are making multiple efforts to elevate tourism to the city and maintain its record-setting pace. 

Enhancements to the city’s historical, cultural and dining options, such as the Pennsylvania Convention Center, the stadiums in South Philadelphia, the Philadelphia Museum of Art renovations and a number of new hotels on the horizon are some of the examples of improvements to the city’s offerings. 

“We’re working on a partnership to significantly grow our brand globally while also making a further commitment in Philadelphia with a new project that will dramatically enhance the architectural canvas for residential real estate,” Larry Korman, president of luxury extended-stay brand AKA Hotel Residences, told Invest:. 

Philadelphia’s weekend occupancy rate remains in the low- to mid-90%, also record highs, as the city of brotherly love attracts both business and leisure travelers. Local hotels, such as the Cambria Hotel Philadelphia Downtown, are committed to highlighting and complementing the communities where they operate through area-inspired decor and modern design.  

“We have locally commissioned art in our hotel, and since we sit on the Avenue of the Arts, our decor is themed with a nod to arts and music. We sourced most of the art and decor from local artisans, vendors and companies to ensure that we are supporting the community in every way possible,” Jerry Rice, General Manager at Cambria Hotel Philadelphia Downtown, said in an interview with Invest:.

To meet the demands of those who want a unique and intimate experience, some local brands are making the transition to boutique hotels. That is the case of former Courtyard by Marriott, which has been reborn as The Notary Hotel. According to the hotel’s general manager, Jim McSwigan, some of the elements of renovation include reimagined rooms, public workspaces for guests, a new shower experience in all rooms and a modern fitness center. 

“We have maintained an element of history with 1920s-inspired decor and furnishings, while introducing a modern feel. We offer the latest and greatest when it comes to providing guests with a great space, not only for business meetings, but for social events, weddings and any type of celebration,” McSwigan said.  

Another main driver for visitors and a key economic developer is the arts sector, and Philadelphia’s world-class music institutions are putting the city in the global spotlight. Such is the case of Opera Philadelphia and its Festival O, for example, which has had a  local, national and international impact. David Devan, general director and president of Opera Philadelphia, pointed out in an interview with Invest: the importance of the festival in creating local, enlarged artistic partnerships and developing a new, mostly young audience. “That is the biggest impact; we now have more customers than five years ago. We work with Visit Philadelphia, PHL Convention and Visitors Bureau, and other agencies that promote the city and create local pride,” he said.

“Because we do so much new work, what we are doing is affecting the field of opera nationally in terms of the field celebrating and participating in contemporary art activity. Internationally, we have become recognized as one of the most innovative opera companies in the United States,” Devan stated.

This year, Philly’s official tourism marketing agency VISIT PHILADELPHIA is focusing on opportunities in the multicultural market, specifically Latinx, LGBTQ and African American audiences. 

 

To learn more about our interviewees, visit:

AKA Hotel Residences: https://www.stayaka.com/ 

Opera Philadelphia: https://www.operaphila.org/ 

Cambria Hotel Philadelphia Downtown: https://www.choicehotels.com/pennsylvania/philadelphia

The Notary Hotel: https://www.marriott.com/hotels/travel/phlak-the-notary-hotel-autograph 

VISIT PHILADELPHIA: https://www.visitphilly.com/