Philadelphia Market Q&A with Doug Rodio

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Hear Doug Rodio, HFF senior managing director and co-head of HFF's Philadelphia office, speak at Real Estate Bisnow's 6th Annual Philadelphia State of the Market on Tuesday, September 27. Mr. Rodio, along with other industry leaders, will be part of the State of Office panel that begins at 9:20 a.m. at 1735 Market Street in Center City Philadelphia.

Mr. Rodio's extensive industry experience includes more than 200 assignments covering a wide range of office, industrial, retail, multi-housing and land sales and financing transactions totaling more than $6 billion in volume.  He currently focuses on office sales in Greater Philadelphia and throughout the northeastern United States.

"I’ve lived in Greater Philadelphia for my entire life and have worked in and around Philadelphia selling and financing office buildings throughout the region for the last 14 years. To me, there is no better place to live, work or play than Philadelphia. It’s a place I’m proud to call home," Mr. Rodio said.

Mr. Rodio, a graduate of Penn State University, was elected to the National Board of Directors for NAIOP in 2014 and is also an active member of the Urban Land Institute. He has served as a guest lecturer at the Daniel M. DiLella Center for Real Estate at Villanova University. 

Philadelphia Q&A with Doug Rodio

  • What motivated you to get into commercial real estate?  I’ve always been interested in big buildings, even from a very young age. My mom is constantly telling stories about my impressive Lego skills as a young kid. It’s funny now to see my five-year-old twins competing to see who can build the tallest skyscraper with their own sets of Legos today. I guess the love of big buildings is in our blood.

  • What’s unique and special about the Philadelphia market?  Given its location between New York City and Washington, D.C, Philadelphia had historically been overlooked by most institutional investors as they took the Amtrak back and forth between those two gateway markets. That has changed in the last five years, and Philadelphia is finally on the radar screen for the most active domestic and international buyers as they chase yield and are priced out of the traditional gateway markets. Philadelphia is in a unique spot at this point in the cycle, as the fundamentals and tenant demand continue to be strong, and our local developers have been disciplined, specifically as it comes to office development throughout the region. Philadelphia is now consistently viewed as one of the top-performing secondary markets in the country for office investment, both in the CBD and select suburban markets.
  • What are some exciting things happening in Philadelphia commercial real estate?  All the development and redevelopment east of Broad Street in Market East and west of the Schuylkill River in University City grabs the headlines, deservedly so, but people forget just how vibrant and exciting the traditional core office locations are from City Hall to 22nd Street and from Arch to Chestnut. Obviously, Comcast continues to invest along this corridor and is in the process of building what I’d consider the most exciting office building under construction in the country. Other investors have followed Comcast’s lead and have turned the streetscape along Market Street West into a true live-work-play environment.

  • Why should investors pay attention to Philly?  It’s simple: risk-adjusted returns. Philadelphia’s office fundamentals are strong, with increased tenant demand, rising rents, lower concessions and decreased vacancy. Yet, there is still a significant yield premium for office investment in Philadelphia and select surrounding suburbs when compared to traditional gateway markets.

  • What trends do you believe the Philadelphia market will experience over the next few years? Old Philadelphia is dead, and New Philadelphia is open for business! It’s clear that major institutional investors have taken notice and are here to stay. This should lead to increased transaction velocity and consistent investment and re-investment in the properties they own. Long-term, locally-based investors are going to have to follow suit or will be at risk of losing tenants to these new owners and their exciting projects.

For tickets to the 6th Annual Philadelphia State of the Market event, of which HFF is a sponsor, visit Real Estate Bisnow's event website.

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