Jackie Buhn Lends Her Expertise in CRE Consulting Corps Engagement at New Mexico State University

In July 2013, AthenianRazak’s Principal & CEO, Jackie Buhn, a longtime member of the Counselors of Real Estate and their Consulting Corps group, served as the group leader of a team of experts for an engagement in New Mexico. Together the team offered their expertise on effective management of New Mexico State University’s (NMSU) extensive land holdings. NMSU owns numerous parcels of land within the University boundaries, in or near the city of Las Cruces, and throughout the state. NMSU has sufficient land within the core of its Las Cruces campus to accommodate expansion requirements for many years.

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Green is the New Black at AthenianRazak – Why We Are Excited for Greenbuild 2013

Greenbuild is coming to Philadelphia from November 20th to 22nd and we couldn’t be more excited.  Not only is Greenbuild the world’s largest conference on green building, but it is here in our hometown. This will give Philadelphia the opportunity to show the world all we have done so far in sustainable building, and even better, what our vision is for the future.

Here at AthenianRazak, we are proud to say that our blood runs green (and not just for the Philadelphia Eagles), as stewardship of the environment is our true passion – both in terms of our business ethos – promoting viable and exciting urban density, reusing existing buildings, and providing attractive cityscapes – and our personal practices, like biking, walking, or taking public transportation to work.

A few members of our team will be attending Greenbuild, Michael Brookshier has been serving on the Community Engagement Committee, and some others will be volunteering.  And, Lenfest Hall at the Curtis Institute of Music, where we served as Development Manager, will be featured in the conference’s half-day tours in a session called Liberty and Justice for All: Innovative Multifamily Housing on Monday, November 18th from 1 pm – 6 pm.

Welcome to Philadelphia Greenbuild Nation.  We hope to see you around town.

Smart Planning at Lenfest Hall Cited in Recent Inquirer Article

A recent article in The Philadelphia Inquirer questioned how to sustain Philadelphia’s vast array of arts and cultural institutions, many of which have undergone expansions or moved to brand new homes over the past two decades.  The article recognizes that while the expanded arts and culture sector has significantly contributed to the revival of Center City, it questions if Philadelphia is able to support this expanded sector with rising operating costs and shrinking contributions and ticket sales.

Many of our renowned institutions, critical to weaving together the fabric of Philadelphia’s arts and culture sector, are now struggling to pay for their expansions, or are seeking significant increases in charitable giving to cover their costs.  This illustrates the need for cultural groups to connect their physical assets with strategic plans and business goals.

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Theater 2 at the Bryn Mawr Film Institute Re-Opens on Schedule

AthenianRazak is proud of our continued role as the Owner’s Representative for the Bryn Mawr Film Institute (BMFI).  As we mentioned in an earlier post, BMFI hosted a groundbreaking ceremony for their final phase of construction in mid-March.  We are excited that all of the work of this final phase is on track for completion and that Theatre 2, which has been closed since July, re-opened on September 13th, following an aggressive schedule, which required several contractors to work around the clock.  You can read more about the re-opening here. Now that Theater 2 has re-opened, BMFI will close Theater 1 to focus on its renovations.  The entire project remains on schedule despite record rainfall to the Philadelphia area that had the potential to slow the construction of the new addition.

As the Owner’s Rep, we are overseeing a dozen specialty consultants with vast experience, working together to ensure that every detail of the new addition and renovation will enhance the visitor experience at the four beautiful state-of the-art theaters.  The project is scheduled for full completion in February 2014.


Celebrating the Last Leg of a Long Journey

When we serve as Development Manager for an institutional development project, often one of our main responsibilities is supporting fundraising and financing efforts, as well as managing cash flow with these factors in mind. This was the case when we were brought on to manage the development of Lenfest Hall at the Curtis Institute of Music. Our team prepared and administered a $15 million Redevelopment Capital Assistance Program (RACP) grant from the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. These grants typically support the acquisition and construction of various types of regional projects. The grants don’t directly pay for project costs; they only reimburse bills already paid. So accurate, timely recordkeeping and organization is critical to smooth the flow of funds and to keep the cost of gap financing to a minimum. This requires diligent tracking, reporting, and piles of paperwork to ensure that all project funds that were originally promised can be secured.

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Dedication Event Set for the Lenfest Center at ChesLen Preserve

Transforming the site from a dilapidated mushroom cannery to a state-of-the-art preserve management center, Natural Lands Trust announces the completion of the Lenfest Center at ChesLen Preserve.

The dedication event for the Lenfest Center took place Saturday, June 15th. AthenianRazak is thrilled to have served as the Development Advisor for this project.  Check out a slideshow of the Lenfest Center here, read more about the project here, or see a recap of the opening reception here.

Economy League Envisions a World Class Greater Philadelphia

The Economy League of Greater Philadelphia is working on a shared agenda to improve the Greater Philadelphia region’s future.  The World Class Greater Philadelphia effort has three main focus areas including Education and Talent, Business Growth and Infrastructure.   AthenianRazak’s Principal Jackie Buhn is on the Board of Directors of the Economy League and is working on the agenda for the World Class Greater Philadelphia effort.

Education and Talent

This area is being worked on in conjunction with the United Way of Greater Philadelphia and a host of other partner organizations.  One of the primary concerns of this effort is ensuring that every kid is “kindergarten ready.”  This includes creating an assessment to measure how ready children are for kindergarten by looking at various aspects of early childhood education.  You can read more about this effort here.

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Keeping it Real in the Classroom

AthenianRazak’s Kyle Holmbeck knows how important it is to prepare the next generation for the workforce. That is why he started teaching at Burlington County College several years ago and why he strives to bring real world examples into the classroom.
As one of AthenianRazak’s financial experts, Kyle is currently handling construction project accounting and management for clients. Bringing together both his passion for finance and for real estate, Kyle decided to offer his Finance class a real world example of several of the principles they have learned this semester, such as Net Present Value (NPV) and asset valuation. To facilitate this example, Kyle used a development pro forma created by our very own William Knapp to evaluate our development property acquisition candidates.
Two objectives of Kyle’s class are learning Excel and understanding that the value of financial assets are based on future cash-flows. William’s pro-forma is a powerful model which allows us to measure sensitivity of returns to virtually any project variable. But it is also simple enough to be useful as a straightforward conventional real estate analysis, projecting the value of a development property based on future cash-flows. It was a perfect tool for getting across Kyle’s objectives. By understanding the cash outlays and inflows of the development project, the class was able to understand the projected investment value and returns.
Thanks Professor Holmbeck for teaching the next generation about the importance of real estate!
Kyle Holmbeck is Controller at AthenianRazak.

Partner Linda Galante Recognized as 2013 Woman on the Move Honoree

Congrats to our partner Linda Galante on being recognized as the Arthritis Foundation’s annual Woman on the Move.  Linda received this award during a luncheon celebration on April 23rd.

This annual event – along with yearlong education programs – aims to create awareness about women with arthritis and the tools available through the Arthritis Foundation to help cope with and prevent the disease, while leading fulfilling and active lives.

As a Woman on the Move, Linda has demonstrated that she is an extraordinary woman who balances family life, career, and community involvement.  Linda is a Partner at Stradley Ronon and also a Partner at AthenianRazak.

Read more about Linda’s recognition as a Woman on the Move here.

Alan Razak Visits Saudi Arabia to Teach Urban Land Institute Classes

In March 2013, AthenianRazak Principal Alan Razak visited Saudi Arabia for the second time this past year to teach a course for the Urban Land Institute (ULI).  As part of this most recent trip, Alan taught a three-day course to Kinan, a private Saudi real estate development company that is focused primarily on housing and retail development projects in several different cities in the KSA.  The class covered the fundamentals of real estate development including site selection, due diligence, market analysis, design and construction, finance and property management, among other topics.

As part of a previous trip with ULI in June 2012, Alan taught a course on managing design and construction from a developer’s point of view to Emaar, a Dubai-based private company that is leading the master-planning and development of King Abdullah Economic City (KAEC), an ambitious new city project in Rabigh, 100 km north of Jeddah.  KAEC is the largest and most diverse of four public/private new city projects being promoted by the Saudi government, encompassing massive amounts of new development on 173 square kilometers (66.8 sq mi) abutting the Red Sea. The KAEC project includes a port, industrial valley, educational zone, central business district with commercial, mixed-use, retail outlets and financial island, resorts and a residential area.  Alan’s course focused on construction development management in mature markets such as the U.S.

Alan is a sought-after thought leader in real estate and development management, teaching various courses for ULI both in the U.S. and abroad, including previous courses in Dubai.  He also consults on various types of real estate development projects.