Spring Meeting

Attendees gather at the Pennsylvania Convention Center in Philadelphia for the 2016 ULI Spring Meeting.
Attendees gather at the Pennsylvania Convention Center in Philadelphia for the 2016 ULI Spring Meeting.

An annual gathering for full members of the Institute, the ULI Spring Meeting provides a forum to learn about the latest innovations in urban development and design, market trends, and policy issues affecting the real estate and land use industries. The meeting also serves as the second annual convening for ULI’s product councils, cohorts of top industry leaders and decision makers from across the United States, organized by sector.

Held in Philadelphia, the 2016 ULI Spring Meeting offered attendees a closer look at a historic American city that is on the rise once more. After decades of decline, Philadelphia’s urban core is growing again and meeting attendees caught a glimpse of the city’s renaissance through tours of redevelopment and new construction projects.

ULI Americas Chairman Patricia Healy with Spring Meeting Host Committee Chairs Jack Farrell and Antonio Fiol-Silva.
ULI Americas Chairman Patricia Healy with Spring Meeting Host Committee Chairs Jack Farrell and Antonio Fiol-Silva.

Staying true to its industrial roots, the Philadelphia Navy Yard is now a dynamic, mixed-sector business campus for modern industrial and manufacturing, health care, and IT firms. Attendees saw the still-in-progress Comcast Innovation and Technology Center, which will be Philadelphia’s tallest skyscraper when it opens next year. A tour of new multifamily properties in Center City signaled the residential comeback of downtown—driven by millennials who want the amenities and convenience of downtown living. And tours of the city’s cultural assets, including the famous Mural Arts Program and the Museum of Art, demonstrated the power of the arts to transform a city and create a sense of place and authenticity.

Presentations by Vanguard chairman and chief executive officer William McNabb and a capital markets panel gave overviews of the U.S. economy and trends in global capital flows. A keynote panel on the U.S. housing affordability crisis moderated by former ULI Chairman and housing advocate J. Ronald Terwilliger called for more incentives and the removal of policy barriers to spur affordable housing construction. And political statistician and journalist Nate Silver, editor of the Five Thirty-Eight blog, closed the meeting by discouraging an overreliance on polls and prediction science—particularly during an election year.

Attendees toured Philadelphia's mural arts program during one of the site tours held before the meeting.
Attendees toured Philadelphia’s mural arts program during one of many mobile tours held the day before the meeting.

Sessions on becoming a small-scale real estate entrepreneur, responses to the “on-demand” economy, and innovative concepts in retail provided relevant and practical content to attendees. In addition, ULI released two ground-breaking research publications at the Spring Meeting. Each report synthesizes ideas and solutions that members can apply to their own communities.  Active Transportation in Real Estate: The Next Frontier describes the synergistic relationship between public investments in active transportation infrastructure like walking and cycling trails and private real estate development. Reaching for the Future: Creative Finance for Smaller Communities highlights successful public-private partnerships and strategic approaches small- and moderate-sized cities like Cincinnati, Ohio and Greenville, South Carolina have pursued to revitalize their economies and downtowns in the aftermath of post-WW II industrial decline. Several ULI Philadelphia member-leaders played an active role in the success of the Spring Meeting. They included:

Jerry Sweeney, chief executive officer of Brandywine Realy Trust, served as meeting cochair.
Jerry Sweeney, chief executive officer of Brandywine Realy Trust, served as meeting cochair.

Spring Meeting Cochairs William P. Hankowsky, Gerard H. Sweeney, and Marilyn Jordan Taylor

Host Committee Cochairs John E. “Jack” Farrell and Antonio Fiol-Silva

Host Committee Executive Team William J. Fisher,  Richard W. Huffman, Jay Appleton, Paul Commito, David M. Ricci,  Gonzalo Echeverria, Monica Jindia, Christophe P. Terlizzi, Megan Leinhart, Paul Dominic Toroni, Rebecca Devine, Jessica Newhouse, Anthony Naccarato, Jessica Talor, Kenneth P. Balin, Marc D. Brookman, Joseph F. Coradino, Carl E. Dranoff, John Gattuso, Christopher M. Hager

ULI Philadelphia Chairman

Antonio Fiol-Silva

ULI Philadelphia Executive Director

Susan Baltake (until 2016)

Learn more about the ULI Spring Meeting, which will take place in Seattle in 2017.