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PSU Real Estate Association trip to Philadelphia

“Everything about our trip to Philadelphia was perfect,” says Henry Fox, Penn State senior and president of the university’s student-run Real Estate Association. “The hosts, the guest speakers, the tours of the Navy Yard and Pennrose.  Everything.” 

PSU Real Estate Association made a trip to Philadelphia on December 14, 2014. The Association makes one site visit per semester, and the event this fall kicked off November 6 with a reception hosted by Penn State alumni Gary Brandeis and Jared Newman at the Crowne Plaza-Philadelphia West.  Brandeis is Managing Partner of Real Estate Capital Management, LLC, and Newman is Vice President of Real Estate Development for Penn National Gaming. They serve as co-chairs of the Penn State Real Estate Society’s Philadelphia Chapter. Reception guest speaker Terrence Foley gave a presentation on new zoning policies, noting their role in changing the landscape and development of real estate nationwide.  Foley is President and CEO of the City Avenue District of Philadelphia.  He spearheaded the push that resulted in the 2012 passage of new zoning ordinances in the city that promote pedestrian traffic, improved public transit, and mixed-use development.

Fox sees site visits as “an ideal way to bridge the gap between academia and industry.”  The visits give Real Estate Association members an exciting taste of the corporate world and an exciting place to meet potential employers who are looking for interns and new hires.  Among such employers are the 40 some Penn State alumni who attended the breakfast meeting and social on day 2 of the Philadelphia trip.  Next on the agenda was a tour of the Philadelphia Navy Yard, hosted by Liberty Property Trust, an $8.2 billion real estate investment trust that develops, acquires, leases and manages industrial and office properties throughout the U.S. and U.K. The tour was led by Brian Berson, Vice President of Liberty’s Navy Yard Development.

Real Estate Association members were thrilled by their tour of the Philadelphia Navy Yard.  Once the biggest and best navy yard in the world, it has been transformed into another arena of greatness—an expansive, environmentally friendly business home to a diverse group of industrial, manufacturing, and R&D companies and organizations occupying more than 1.4 million sq. ft. of office space, with growth projected to exceed 4 million sq. ft.  Occupants include Urban Outfitters, GlaxoSmithKline, the U.S. Department Energy, and many others. 

Day 2 of the Association’s Philadelphia visit continued with a luncheon meeting hosted by Penn State alumnus Mark Dambly, President of Pennrose Properties.  Pennrose creates multifamily and mixed-use property developments in eight states.   Dambly led the Association on a tour of company headquarters, spoke to the students about using tax credits to develop attractive low-income housing, and gave presentations on current company projects.

Still savoring the highlights of their trip to Philadelphia, Association members are looking forward to a spring visit to New York City and a tour of the World Trade Center site.  Penn State alumnus Jonathan Knipe, a Senior Vice-President and General Counsel for Silverstein Properties, hosted the group last year and wants to make it an annual event.  It’s an offer that can’t be refused.