November 8, 2017

The 2017 Marcum Commercial Real Estate Summit

The 2017 Marcum Commercial Real Estate Summit was a great event for networking and had some very thought provoking discussion panels. Held at the Hyatt on Broad Street, the venue set the tone for a successful night.

The first panel spoke a lot about the Amazon expansion, and Philadelphia’s potential opportunity in the matter. Citing other cities, specifically Seattle, who have seen tremendous growth in the wake of such companies landing there, the importance of pursuing an opportunity like this was made very clear. Doing so would inspire a number of changes that would greatly benefit the city long term, and ultimately leave Philadelphia in a position to attract such major companies, even if it wasn’t Amazon. A lot of these suggestions fell under infrastructure and education, two things which will bolster a city’s capacity and potential.

On the topic of education, it was suggested that coding became a class taught from 9-12th grade, as well as implementing curriculum where students are required to work at a job once a week. Coding is such a relevant skill given the current times, and will only continue to be. Working a job, even just once a week, will grant students with vital experience and take the edge off of getting their first job, what could otherwise be a daunting task.

The discussion generated the question, “How do we do business? Are we pleasant”. While this is a very general statement, it is important to consider if you’re putting off a friendly vibe, while conducting your business. To be “client-centric” as one of the panelees put it. On top of being friendly, there is the topic of being brave with your business, and willing to be different. Referencing California and the Silicon Valley, it was said, “It’s not just the weather out there”, but the way new companies were so willing to fearfully do business. Furthermore, it’s not just the way they do business, but a lot of times it is where they do business. We may not have the option for waterfront offices with grand views like the Bay Area, but we can still look the part. Workplace design is an immensely important factor in attracting new talent, as well as spurring competition.

To this point of being adventurous with our business, one of the key factors that will jumpstart growth is competition. In making our case to be a city for the Amazon expansion, we are effectively competing with other cities for that role. On a smaller scale, individual businesses within the same field drive each other to do better, all in the name of competition. From this competition will come increased motivation and higher aspirations from both sides.

Whether it is networking, working together to attract Amazon, or good-natured business competition, one thing is certain—we have the same end goal of creating a better Philadelphia.

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