Guest Commentator: Ian Perler (Mr. Philly Real Estate), Licensed Sales Agent, Star Real Estate Group @MrPhillyRE; member of YPC’s Advisory Board; and Co-Chair of YPC’s Volunteer Committee

How can we ensure that all neighborhoods—and neighbors—benefit from an expanding real estate market?

During the past eight years working in Philadelphia real estate, I’ve had a front-row seat to our city’s growth. While there have been ups and downs, the real estate market continues to be a strong one in most neighborhoods. Most.

What does it take for job growth, housing values and economic opportunity to impact all our neighborhoods?

From my vantage point, the PHL Neighborhood Growth Project that’s led by the Chamber offers a smart mix of proposals. As I see it, the two biggest things city government could do to spread sustainable growth to all neighborhoods are:

  1. Invest in local commercial corridors, which drives block-level revitalization, and
  2. Improve the quality of education—still one of the biggest factors home buyers consider when making their decision.

The NGP addresses both effectively. It calls for creating a Neighborhood Renaissance Fund to invest in exactly the kinds of local commercial districts and main streets that have brought revitalization to neighborhoods across the city.

Consider how Passyunk’s housing market took off. First came the entrepreneurial, risk-taking small businesses, restaurants and shops, started by those with a vision for their community and access to the kind of capital needed to realize this vision. Soon, visitors came, then those looking to live near this increasingly vibrant corridor.

It’s a model that’s worked in other neighborhoods, too, like Fishtown and Point Breeze. There’s no reason, with the right investments, it couldn’t happen in other places as well.

Money for the Neighborhood Renaissance Fund would come from tailored reforms to the city’s 10-year property tax abatement.  The abatement has been a controversial policy that some credit for the city’s current building boom, while others blame for accelerating the worst side effects of redevelopment. Focusing the funds from the abatement to help NRF, in my opinion, is the key to promoting a strong housing market and neighborhood growth throughout the entire city.

I understand both sides, but think the NGP agenda strikes the right balance of reforms to the abatement while  generating and channeling new revenue where it’s needed most. Read more about NGP and its other Policy Pillars.

I also support the NGP agenda because of the specific proposed reforms to education funding and workforce development programs—all to improve transparency, stability and the overall performance of our city’s education and job training systems.

At its heart, the NGP is about supporting smart investments in local neighborhoods and the people who live there. This agenda is an important contribution to the ongoing debate about how to make Philadelphia’s economic growth more robust, more equitable and ultimately more sustainable. I commend the Chamber for taking up this charge.

The Chamber’s PHL Neighborhood Growth Project will bring Philadelphia’s business community, civic leaders, neighborhood organizations, and residents together with city government in an all-hands-on-deck effort to fight for shared prosperity in every corner of the city.

Stand with us and support our inclusive, pro-growth agenda:

  • Join our coalition – Join the growing coalition of organizations and businesses in support of NGP
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