Pioneering the Market East Revival – A Look Back at 833 Chestnut Street

In 1998, 833 Chestnut Street, then known as 841 Chestnut, was taken over by a financial institution when a major tenant moved out, leaving the building only 27% occupied and valued internally at $5 million. AthenianRazak stepped in, shepherded the property steadily through five different owners and asset managers and two major market changes and the building sold to a national healthcare REIT in 2015 for an undisclosed price well over $100 million.


The turnaround of this huge (3/4 million sf) property was a quiet but steady success story that helped ignite and support the revitalization we’re seeing in the area now known as Market East.


The Philadelphia Inquirer saw potential in the area and in 2012, moved its offices to the third floor of the former Strawbridge and Clothier department store at 801 Market. Century 21 department store opened on the first level of that building in 2014. East Market, a 4-acre mixed-use development that spans an entire block between Market and Chestnut streets will house an apartment tower and retail such as WaWa, Iron Hill Brewery and Mom’s Organic Market. Target has opened on Chestnut St. and the Gallery Shopping Center is being transformed into The Fashion Outlets of Philadelphia. This is just the beginning.


AthenianRazak always knew the potential of Market East because the location was prime and we recognized the value of all of the transit there. However, the area was always battling an image of being the lesser side of town. We think the development there makes perfect sense, is long overdue and love that we were in on its inception. As Market East continues its boom as one of Philadelphia’s hottest real estate markets, 833 Chestnut can be viewed as the foundation of this transformation. Its quiet turnaround set the stage and created the stability that catalyzed today’s growth.

What is the Role of a Development Manager?

Much like a conductor leads the individual sections of an ensemble to do their best in achieving a successful performance, a Development Manager directs and coordinates the many team members and complex details involved in a development or construction project. The Development Management role is indispensable on a successful project team, coordinating every phase from defining initial goals and strategy to site identification to acquisition, zoning and approvals, design and construction, as well as supporting fundraising and financing efforts.

A Development Manager can become involved at various phases of a project, and ideally is the first professional engaged. Often the decisions with the biggest financial impact are made right at the start. A Development Manager can also help in a project’s early stages by bringing a professional management structure to the project, providing management continuity and follow-through so that all team members understand how their tasks support the goals of the project as well as the other team members.

The job of the Development Manager can best be encapsulated by two terms –  Project Strategy and Project Management.

Project Strategy: The Development Manger assesses the combination of professions and skills that are required for a specific project. In addition to identifying, recommending, and retaining Architects, Designers, Engineers, and Contractors, the Development Manger assists the Owner in identifying and adding specialty consultants to the project team when needed.

Project Management: The Development Manger facilitates the efforts of the project team, directing the efforts of the individual specialists required to produce the project, providing managerial oversight of the design and construction process itself, and defining the individual tasks that must be completed in the proper time and sequence.

In closing, the art of development requires introducing technical expertise when it matters most to help an ownership team make decisions. That requires a surprising array of skills: legal, finance, design, construction, marketing, management, organizational design and, (often) psychology. Understanding this, a sophisticated in-house project leader will supplement his or her own expertise with a firm that has professional knowledge and experience in all these areas: A Development Manager.


Preserving the Past while Building the Future in Philadelphia


In January, The Urban Land Institute Philadelphia hosted a  panel discussion titled “Preserving the Past and Building the Future” at Villanova University. Jackie Buhn was on the panel and talked about the process of applying for federal historic tax credits, which are available for properties listed on the National Register of Historic Places or contributing properties in a historic district. Read the full article on the panel from Urban Land Magazine here.

Jackie Buhn Featured in Philadelphia Business Journal Women to Watch in Real Estate

AthenianRazak Principal & CEO was recently featured in the Philadelphia Business Journal among 25 female newsmakers shaping the real estate and construction industry in the region. Kudos to Jackie! Read her profile below and see the full feature here. Continue reading “Jackie Buhn Featured in Philadelphia Business Journal Women to Watch in Real Estate” »

AthenianRazak Projects Featured in Urban Land Article on Camden’s Comeback

Leading up to their 2016 Spring Meeting that will take place in Philly from April 19 – 21st, ULI’s magazine, Urban Land, recently featured an article on Camden’s Comeback.

The article states, “There has been a groundswell of economic and redevelopment activity on many fronts, a reduction in crime and poverty, and improvements in education and housing in the city,” says George E. Norcross III, head of the Cooper University Hospital board. “Based on these incremental successes, Camden is well on its way to becoming a thriving business hub. Equally important, Camden is also becoming a better place to live.” Continue reading “AthenianRazak Projects Featured in Urban Land Article on Camden’s Comeback” »

Montgomery County Moves Forward with “100 Year” Plan

On Thursday, the AthenianRazak team presented the findings of our strategic real estate plan for the County of Montgomery’s Norristown Campus. We were charged with creating a plan that addressed the significant physical deficiencies of the buildings and shaped the County’s investment to support important goals for Campus within the broader Montgomery County community. Specifically, we were asked to “plan for 100 years” and recognize the generational investment contemplated in a plan of this magnitude. Continue reading “Montgomery County Moves Forward with “100 Year” Plan” »

Ruby Match Factory Part of Upcoming 3rd Thursday Art Crawl in Camden

This October, Camden’s 3rd Thursday ArtCrawl will include a special open house at the Ruby Match Factory.

Join regional history and art fans to see the historic Ruby Match Factory interior before the brick walls, timber trusses and x-braced steel columns are brought to life with new mezzanines, mechanical and electrical systems, to become Camden’s first state-of-the-art loft offices.

Thursday October 15th, 6-8 pm

The Ruby Match Factory: Delaware and Linden Streets, across the street from Campbell’s Field

More information on Camden’s 3rd Thursday Artcrawl.


76ers Owner Pledges $3.5 Million to PAL

According to an article on, “Philadelphia 76ers owner Joshua Harris has pledged to donate $3.5 million to the Philadelphia Police Athletic League.” This would serve as the largest donation ever to the non-profit organization.

PAL aspires to be the premier youth-serving organization in the city, by reducing crime, promoting character development, and improving educational outcomes. They do this by having Philadelphia Police Officers, supported by civilians, offer educational, athletic, and recreational programs to youth in 18 centers in some of the city’s highest crime and lowest income neighborhoods.

PAL Centers are safe havens, offering a variety of free programs and other events to attract engage and develop more than 15,000 of Philadelphia’s youth.

300 N. Delaware Featured in The Philadelphia Inquirer

Click here to read an article in The Philadelphia Inquirer about 300 N. Delaware, our latest development project on the Camden waterfront.

The CRE 2015-16 Top Ten Issues Affecting Real Estate

The Counselors’ 2015-16 list of The Top Ten Issues Affecting Real Estate was announced June 24.The list is developed annually by CRE members who serve on the External Affairs Committee. Continue reading “The CRE 2015-16 Top Ten Issues Affecting Real Estate” »