Monthly Archives: February 2013
Why Philly Was A Great Move for Me!

skyline

I moved to Philadelphia in 2002 after having lived in Brooklyn at that critical juncture when Brooklyn became hip to the world! It was a fun, heady time and it felt important to be there. Everyone seemed to know that we were living in a moment. There was a boomtown vibe.

I had moved to NYC with the hope of living in Manhattan but quickly found that the type of people that I wanted to be around were moving to Brooklyn because none of us could afford the cost to rent or buy in Manhattan. I went Brooklyn and never looked back. I made my way around ; living in Crown Heights, Fort Greene, Greenpoint, Williamsburg and Prospect Heights. I operated a very successful night club in Williamsburg that was at the center of everything that was coming together in Williamsburg towards the end of the 90’s. North Sixth and Bedford seemed like the most important place in the world to me.

In a few short years, Brooklyn exploded the way only a New York moment can explode. It wasn’t just Williamsburg either….it was Clinton Hill, BedStuy, Carroll Gardens, Prospect Heights, Dumbo, Gowanus, Red Hook…you name it. I remember when the popular sushi bar Blue Ribbon announced they were moving to 5th Avenue in Brooklyn in 2000 and the entire culinary world thought they had lost their minds. Not only were they moving to Brooklyn, they were going to be a dozen blocks off of Atlantic Avenue. They proved the critics wrong and what was once an island amidst blight is now at the heart of a tremendous destination food empire. Brooklyn all done grow’d up!

I was nearing the end of my time with the nightclub. I wanted to make my next career move. I wanted to buy real estate. I wanted to have kids, a family. I wanted more. I hopped on the motorbike and began my exploration. I had always kept a keen eye to what was happening in the many districts of the Brooklyn that I was interested in. The asking prices, even then in 2001, took my breathe away. I remember one spot in particular: a burned out four story multi-family on a craptastic block in BedStuy that had an asking price of $465,000. Did I mention that it was BURNED OUT! Gutted. Destroyed! It was going to take at least $400K to get it back together. I was a borderline financial planner to begin with. My income was spotty and generally insufficient. I was an opportunist with no opportunity.

Then we got pregnant. We immediately moved out of WillyB with its numerous well documented SuperFund sites. When we got to Prospect Heights the prices also felt out of control. Then, 9/11 happened and the world changed overnight.

Now, I should explain that Philadelphia did not present itself as an option to me overnight. I had gone to Temple University in my first misguided attempt at college and had stayed in touch with many friends over the ensuing 13 years of my absence. Some close friends of ours who had history in Philadelphia and also recently had a baby jumped ship in October. Jessica and I went to visit them in their spacious 1800 square foot apartment in November. We made up our minds almost instantly. We moved into our 1500 square foot recently renovated 2 bedroom apartment on South 10th and Carpenter (the Italian Market) by mid-December. It felt perfect!

Now, we live in Mount Airy in a rambling 6,000 square foot stone home that we rescued from two decades of neglect that sits on almost an acre of land. We have it mostly renovated. We built an apartment on the third floor that brings in income. We have more space than we know what to do with. Our mortgage is $350,000 and we put virtually none of our own money into this home.

My story is not every story. I am a ruthless deal hunter. I am generally handy. I am tenacious. I won’t take no for an answer. I wanted space and got space. But what I mean to say is that being in Philadelphia changed the way I was thinking. Nothing seemed impossible. It felt much easier just to be alive, to get around, to pay my bills, to breathe. I was exhilarated. I was calm. I knew where I was.

I don’t mean to say that Philadelphia is better or can replace that New York spirit; that Brooklyn entrepreneurial edge that seemed sharper than a knife’s edge. What I mean to say is that I feel more at home here in Philadelphia. I feel like I can accomplish more. I practice my art more. It’s easier to pay my bills which frees up that 40% of my mind that was constantly waiting for someone to eat my lunch in NYC.  I have more time. There is a lot of reality here in Philadelphia and it is by no means perfect but it fits me; now!


New Businesses Opening at a Rapid Rate!

stock_hammer_in_hand

Its not just the Shake Shack and Bobby Flay anymore. People are opening up to the growing sophistication of the Philadelphia market. Jewelers, musicians, artists and designers are finding that cheaper real estate and more affordable rents are making business more practical here in Philadelphia.

Third Ward (www.philly.3rdward.com), the popular maker and doer space that rose to prominence in Brooklyn, recently opened their second space in north Philadelphia at the edge of Northern Liberties. The space: almost 30,000 sq ft! Try doing that in Brooklyn, San Francisco or Boston. The prices would be out of control. In Philadelphia, we have even more opportunities like that as found in spaces like the Crane Building, 2424 Studios, NextFab, Independents Hall and many undeveloped opportunities.

High-end American handcrafted furniture maker BDDW (www.bddw.com) moved production of their gorgeous heirloom quality furniture and crafts to Philadelphia several years ago after having purchased several hundred thousand square feet of warehouse space for their extensive facility. They brought their machines and people to Philadelphia in a not insignificant financial investment in Philadelphia’s future. Profits and production seemed to have soared!

Urban Outfitters doubled down on their already immense investment in Philadelphia by opening up a brand new facility in the Navy Yard (www.navyyard.org) with six completely renovated building to house their entire operations. With a high-end cafeteria, expansive views of the waterfront and a gritty industrial vibe, the UO setting is about as romantic as business space can get. What was the major catalyst for the UO brass to stay in Philly: the low cost of living and ample supply of cheap housing. It makes a big difference in the lives of those that work for you.

If you own or operate a business in Brooklyn, Manhattan or the outlying districts and find the cost of doing business means you might not be doing business at all, call me. I know how to help businesses find the right location to do what they need to do. I offer comprehensive services that go far past the major commercial RE companies that work the standard 9-5 slot. I don’t rely on an expensive database to tell me what is available because I am on the street looking behind the closed door!

Philadelphia is a great place to locate your company or grow one you are about to start!!!

 

CHRISTOPHER PLANT
215.740.2339

 


The Sixth Borough?

10-reasons-philly-totally-trumps-nyc

 

The title is a little off-putting almost equally to both New Yorkers and Philadelphians but it certainly gets the conversation started. The Brooklyn to Philly hype has been in full effect for many years! It was most notably cited in Jessica Pressler’s 2005 article in the NY Times- “Philadelphia Story: The Next Borough”(see link below). It was recently also outlined in Susan Gregory Thomas’ Philadelphia Magazine article about NYer’s moving to Philly. It sounds like a tired drum beat…but there is no official outlet for finding the information that you need to do the research.

Now there is. My BrooklynToPhilly blog is here to provide the necessary tools for those thinking of relocating to Philadelphia. Whether it is schools or restaurants, our nightlife or our galleries, our bustling network of public parks and numerous public spaces. Philadelphia is growing and changing. We have an educated work force. We have space. We are affordable.

Come and check it out for yourself or pick up the phone and give me a call:

Christopher Plant
215.740.2339

Jessica Pressler http://www.nytimes.com/2005/08/14/fashion/sundaystyles/14PHILLY.html?pagewanted=all

Susan Gregory Thomas-
http://www.phillymag.com/articles/ex-new-yorkers-start-again-philly/


Why Philadelphia? Why Now?

PainesPark

 

Philly is taking off! Restaurants are opening all over town. New bars, coffeeshops, galleries and clubs are popping up on every corner. The Barnes Museum is finally downtown. Paines Park, a 2.5 acre skatepark, is open after 10 years of advocacy. Rates are low (but ticking up). The available housing stock is robust. The list of positive factors in Philadelphia’s favor is growing every day.

Check out our neighborhoods and see for yourself: Fitler Square, Wash West, Bella Vista, Society Hill, Mount Airy, East Falls, Chestnut Hill, Northern Liberties, Brewerytown! There is a lot to see. Philadelphia is not the provincial backwater of yesterday.

philly neighborhood map