Placemaking -vs- Investing, a conversation with our team and special guest Bobby Fijan and Nelson Marsh

In this episode, we are opening up one of our team brainstorming discussions about the dynamics, disciplines, and different mindsets that are required when focusing on placemaking -vs- just conventional investing. We are joined by our special guest Bobby Fijan who is a Partner at Cross Properties in Philadelphia, PA. Bobby has oversight of the Development team and is responsible for all functions at Cross related to approvals, design, and construction through stabilization. He has been at Cross since 2011 and has served in nearly every role in the company. Bobby has over 10 years of experience working in startup ventures. He and his wife live in Center City Philadelphia with their two children. Also joining us today is Nelson Marsh who owns Ampersand Wine Bar in Opelika, Al. His wine bar is estimated to have the largest selection of wine by the glass in America with over 420 wines by the glass.

This episode is an experiment to see if this format adds value to those who are listening. If you would like to hear more content like please let us know by contacting us through our website or our Facebook page.

Insights & Inspirations

  • Is it possible to take and do real estate development and it not be predatory, but be placemaking, not extractive, but additive to a community? – John Marsh
  • Do you build places for people to live or do you build a place where people want to be? – Ty Maloney
  • Are we place makers or are we investors? – Ty Maloney
  • How can we make real estate investment, and development intentionally and not seem predatory? – John Marsh
  • If you’re gonna ask a question about 50 years, and being good for 50 years, and adding value for 50 years. It’s gonna drive you to different answers in being good for five or ten years. – John Marsh
  • (How do we resist the temptation) to creating enclaves in communities that are wholly onto themselves. – Nelson Marsh
  • We want to grow a (city that’s like) rainforest. There are multiple levels of growth. But, the rainforest is artistic and funky and they grow organically. – John Marsh
  • So, being sensitive to what is already there and not trying to go in there with weed killer and just destroy it like a bunch of rodents or pests, but thinking how can we enhance what’s good. – Nelson Marsh
  • I mean, there’s all these pieces and parts in these problems, but curating those with care and with influence, I think, I do think it’s driven by capital. – Bobby Fijan
  • For a town like Opelika we are fighting tooth and nail every single day for the young people that are committed, come here, build their life here, and give their influence and their talent, and their money and all that into the local economy to keep these towns from dying, as many young people go to bigger cities.  – Nelson Marsh
  • My generation that grew up during the 2008 financial crisis and remembers that vividly is not wanting to go out, and spend a bunch of money or go to Vegas. They’re wanting to buy a house, and have a consistent brick and mortar means of production or something they can hang their hat on.  – Nelson Marsh
  • Tons of the city and civic decisions, are driven by very short-term decision making in trying to get votes because they have to get back into office or want to get back into office every four years. – Brad Baggett

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