ULI Throws Developers Into the “Shark Tank” Nov. 14

The local council's first "investment committee meeting" last December was such a success, they're bringing in three more pieces of chum this year.

Last year’s first ULI Shark Tank drew a full house at the Adventure Aquarium. | Photo: ULI Philadelphia

Apparently, real estate deals are not like laws or sausages: Those who like the taste of them love watching them being made.

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The Urban Land Institute Philadelphia District Council’s Young Leadership Council scored a hit with its first “Shark Tank” event last December, so the council’s made it an annual event. This year’s version will take place Nov. 14th in a most appropriate venue: the Pennovation Works co-working space in Grays Ferry.

Like the popular TV series that puts entrepreneurs before a firing squad of potential investors, the ULI’s “Shark Tank” brings local developers in front of a panel of real estate industry leaders whose job it is to pick them apart.

“The Young Leaders Council wanted to know how developers pitch their projects to prospective lenders, equity partners and the community,” explains Matt Witteman, business development manager at Meyer Design Inc., who organized the first ULI Shark Tank while serving as YLC chair last year. “We are always looking for educational opportunities, and after seeing the national ULI Shark Tank, we felt we could bring this inside look at a development deal to our members.

“Last year’s Shark Tank was a huge success for everyone involved, and we’ve decided to make it a part of our annual event series. This year’s setting at Pennovation is an appropriately unique space with new presenters, unique local projects and valuable insight from our panel of industry-leading real estate ‘sharks.’”

Like last year, three developers will have their plans raked over the coals by a panel of Philly real estate heavyweights:

  • Mark Callazzo, CEO, Alpha Funding Solutions
  • Melissa Govette, commercial real estate relationship manager, M&T Bank
  • Stephen Mullin, president, Econsult Solutions
  • John Westrum, founder, chairman and CEO, Westrum Development Company

Presiding over the review again this year is moderator Tony Rimikis, retired senior vice president for urban development at Brandywine Realty Trust.

“We are proud of the Young Leaders for putting together Shark Tank,” said ULI Philadelphia District Council Chair Paul Committo, senior vice president at Brandywine. “Not only does it provide great insight for the attendees and experience for the presenters but it engages our senior industry leaders in sharing their expertise and sharp real estate skills with the next generation. This is the kind of program and content that represents the new ULI Philadelphia – forward-looking, engaging and addressing a range of our members’ needs.”

While the event is aimed at industry professionals, ULI invites the general public to sit in as well. The registration fee ranges from $35 for student members of ULI to $65 for nonmembers in the private sector. To register and learn more about the event, visit the ULI Philadelphia website.