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17th Annual Builders Conference

Philadelphia's Development Climate
How the 10-Year Tax Abatement Shaped the Last 20 Years and What's Next


yee_9762-20180927_1.jpgPhiladelphia's tax abatements have gone a long way to revitalizing city neighborhoods and encouraging economic activity. But in the context of intractable poverty, stagnant job growth and rising real estate taxes for many, the abatement program remains widely misunderstood and debate over its future is emotional.

That was the consensus of speakers at the 17th annual Builders Conference, sponsored by the Building Industry Association of Philadelphia (BIA).

yee_9373-20180927.jpgMayor Jim Kenney and others acknowledged the frustration of many long-time residents who resent tax-abated properties in their neighborhoods. But the abatement's well-documented, long-term benefits - enhancements to city revenues, increased spending at local businesses, blight reduction and creation of well-paying construction jobs - outweigh the negatives.

There was consensus that Philadelphia's pressing need for affordable housing and the pressures of gentrification need to be taken into account as the city contemplates its overall tax policies. The BIA plans to play a key role in developing new models for delivering affordable units.

yee_9453-20180927.jpgBut as BIA President Jim Maransky reminded the gathering of about 275 real estate professionals, Philadelphia remains near the top in national construction costs and only 25th in revenue realized by development. Significant modifications to the abatement should wait, he added, until that gap shrinks.

Thanks to the speakers, our list of generous sponsors at right, and to all attendees for making the 2018 conference a success! Click here to view the conference photo album.