Blog

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.

The Inquirer article referenced a few examples of successes in this time of strain, most prominent at the Curtis Institute of Music’s Lenfest Hall, where we served as the Development Manager: “There have been successes, instances in which smart planning and good timing have coincided to create expansions, keeping groups in the black and true to mission. The Curtis Institute of Music’s new dorm building was built on time, under budget, and now covers its increased operating costs with new income.”

We’ll accept our portion of that compliment. If there ever is a case to be made for using a Development Manager for an institutional development project, this is it. A Development Manager will look at an institution’s business objectives and ensure that they are closely aligned with real estate goals.  Although we love to work on development projects, our effort is always about more than the physical asset. This is just what we did at Lenfest Hall – the entire team stayed focused on the big picture.  Not only did the project come in under budget, it was $4.5 million under budget due to smart business planning and the work of a talented group of professionals working seamlessly together.

As arts and culture institutions in Philadelphia adapt to changing times and new financial challenges, it is more important than ever to align business and real estate goals.