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Commercial Real Estate Features

Symposium envisions city real estate innovation

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by Christi Milligan

Economic development, jobs and inclusive value creation through “place-making” will be the focus of a symposium this month that will include Gov. Jack Markell and panelists from the area’s colleges, universities and businesses.

The symposium, “Place-Making and Re-Imagining the City of Wilmington: A New Vision for Economic & Social Value through Real Estate Innovation,” is slated for 8 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. April 21 at the Hotel du Pont in Wilmington.

“Post-recession, the most important need that most communities have is economic development and job creation,” said David J. Wilk of real estate development firm Sperry Van Ness, organizer of the event. “Real estate is the currency for economic development and job creation if reimagined in an innovated way.”

The symposium is the third in Delaware since Wilk, a former adjunct faculty member at the University of Delaware Lerner College of Business & Economics, launched the series in 2012 in an effort to bring a consortium of academics and business “rock stars” to strategize answers for target areas like Wilmington.

According to Wilk, that strategy calls for reimagining real estate, educational excellence, and innovation districts as the catalyst for inclusive economic development and new jobs.

The collaboration between universities, colleges, health-care institutions, schools and key stakeholders will elevate Wilmington’s neighborhoods into “places of innovation” through reintroducing under-productive real estate as “cool lifestyle places, he said.

“The challenge is to build on Wilmington’s positive initiatives and reintroduce Wilmington’s brand as a place of inclusive economic development, social entrepreneurship, healthy living, wellness and shared value creation,” according to Wilk.

Topics at the symposium will include

  • How to create new “market stories” and demand that transform underproductive real estate assets into economic development catalysts that attract entrepreneurs and investors.
  • How to develop “place-making” and branding strategies that “reimagine urban neighborhoods” and cause social entrepreneurs, the creative class, and companies to make Wilmington their “place.”
  • How corporate, government, academic and educational institutions can collaborate on inclusive economic and social value strategies that create exciting new possibilities for Wilmington’s neighborhoods.

The Wilmington mayoral candidates have been invited to the program for a town hall session. The agenda also includes remarks by Gov. Markell as well as strategy topics led by Dr. Janice E. Nevin, CEO of Christiana Care Health System; Alan Levin of So Del Concepts, and Ken Anderson of the Delaware Economic Development Office, among others.

Lunch keynotes include Dr. Stephen S. Tang, CEO, University City Science Center,  and Jill Chernekoff, news anchor, Fox 29 News.

The symposium is presented by Sperry Van Ness, Delaware State University Center for Economic Development and International Trade, University of Delaware (Black American Studies Department), Wilmington University’s Dr. Dan Young, the Appraisal Institute Delaware Chapter, the Counselors of Real Estate Delaware Valley Chapter and the Johns Hopkins Carey Business School Real Estate Club.

Symposium partners include the Appraisal Institute, CRE, Carey Real Estate Club, ECEDIT, VN, CIRC, Delaware Today, DelleDonne & Associates, Delaware Business Times and The Buccini/Pollin Group.

For more information or to register for the event, go to www.Eventbrite.com.

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