10 for 10: Real Estate

As part of ESI’s year-long celebration of turning ten, we are looking back on some of our projects over the years. For the month of March, we showcase 10 projects from our real estate practice. Real estate encompasses affordable housing, transit oriented or adjacent development, open space and the environment, and other related concepts. 

1. Market Analysis of the Sharswood Blumberg Housing Redevelopment 

The Philadelphia Housing Authority (PHA) and Hunt-Pennrose Sharswood, LLC are redeveloping 645 housing units in the Sharswood Choice Neighborhood of Philadelphia. As part of the redevelopment process, Hunt-Pennrose Sharswood, LLC retained ESI to complete a market study that examines the unique opportunities and challenges of the Choice Neighborhood, PHA’s mission to provide safe and quality affordable housing, and leverages the city’s population resurgence and the subsequent capital investment in new residential, office, retail, and recreation development. 

Read the full report here.

2. The Economic and Revenue Impact of Data Centers in Pennsylvania 

ESI was retained by a coalition of data center developers and suppliers to analyze the potential growth of the industry in Pennsylvania if a full data center sales and use tax exemption existed, similar to what is available in more than 20 other states. Tax incentives have been cited as a driving factor in recent data center location decisions, but Pennsylvania has fallen behind. Since 2008, the state’s share of national data center industry employment has shrunk from 3.8% to 2.8%. 

Read the report here.

3. Return on Environment: The Economic Impact of Protected Open Space in Mercer County, New Jersey 

Mercer County New Jersey’s emphasis on land preservation began over 30 years ago, resulting in a multitude of preserved parks and open spaces that reflect the diversity of Mercer County’s natural features. Protected open space provides substantial economic, environmental, and health benefits to surrounding communities, but these benefits are often overlooked or undervalued in policy debates and investment decisions. A better understanding of these benefits can demonstrate how protected open space contributes to economic development and fiscal stability and reverses the common misconception that conserved undeveloped land is non-productive and non-revenue producing. 

Read the report here.

4. The Economic Benefits of Historic Preservation Activities in Pennsylvania 

Historic preservation plays a vital role in communities across the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, providing a multitude of benefits for Pennsylvania and its residents. One often overlooked category of benefits associated with historic preservation activities is economic benefits. Historic preservation efforts can have significant positive impacts throughout the Commonwealth on property values, downtown revitalization, tourism activity, job creation, and tax revenue generation. In this report, ESI calculated quantitative and qualitative impacts, both present and future, that historic preservation had within the Commonwealth.  

Read the report here.

5. Vacant Land Management in Philadelphia: The Cost of the Current System and the Benefits of Reform 

ESI, in conjunction with the Penn Institute for Urban Research, was retained by the Philadelphia Redevelopment Authority (PRA, formerly the RDA) and the Philadelphia Association of Community Development Corporations (PACDC) to conduct a benefit-cost analysis on the 40,000 existing vacant parcels in Philadelphia. ESI was able to quantify the devastating costs of the current system to the City and the potential benefits of a possible reform. 

Both the high costs of the current system and the significant benefits a new approach led our team to conclude that immediate action is necessary to stop the leakage in the City’s welfare, and a more strategic approach is vitally crucial in handling the vacant parcels for the City’s betterment. 

Read the report here.

6. New York City Office Adaptive Reuse Task Force 

In 2022, ESI was engaged by the New York City Economic Development Corporation to provide management and technical support to a city-council mandated task force study that provided strategic recommendations to encourage the conversion of vacant or commercially unviable office space to other uses, with an emphasis on housing. Throughout the project, the ESI team worked closely with the New York City Department of City Planning, who managed the task force. 

The Office Adaptive Reuse Task Force was convened following declines in office utilization in New York City as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic and ongoing work-from-home policies. Historically high vacancy rates, paired with strong demand for housing in high-density commercial districts, suggested an opportunity to examine regulations governing conversions and evaluate the potential of financial incentives to encourage the production of affordable housing. 

Read the report here.

7. Wilmington Land Bank 

In 2015, ESI was commissioned to assist the City of Wilmington in addressing their issues of property vacancy and blight. To clarify the city’s strategy to alleviate vacancy, ESI produced a benefit-cost analysis making the financial case for a land bank in Wilmington. We also produced an operations manual and a briefing book for City Council to serve as a guideline for implementing the Land Bank. 

See what the land bank looks like today: https://wilmingtonlandbank.org/ 

8. Transforming Retail Economics of Neighborhood Development (TREND) 

Retail corridors are among the defining features of urban neighborhoods. As a result, neighborhoods are profoundly affected by changes in the character of their commercial areas. In 2014, ESI worked with RW Ventures to find new ways to define retail corridors and better understand neighborhood change in Chicago.  

Read the report here.

9. The Impacts of SEPTA Regional Rail Service on Suburban House Prices 

ESI used data on single-family house transactions over the 2005 to 2012 period in Bucks, Chester, Delaware, and Montgomery counties to estimate the property value premium that results from being located close to a Regional Rail station. Using a hedonic regression model, we found that proximity, service frequency and commuter parking all contribute strongly to suburban house values.  All told, the property value premium generated by SEPTA Regional Rail stations range from 1% for being located within one to three miles of a station that offers no or base-levels of parking and base service, to 10% for being located within one half mile of a station that provides parking for more than 100 cars and a high level of service. 


 Read the report here.


10. Academic Publications: Low Income Housing Tax Credit Studies 

Principal Richard Voith and former Associate Director Jing Liu have recently co-authored two studies regarding the impact of Low Income Housing Tax Credits, one examining the Chicago market, and the other examining Los Angeles. Factors Affecting Spillover Impacts of LIHTC Developments: An Analysis of Los Angeles has been accepted into CityScape for publication, and is also one of the ten most downloaded papers in several categories:  

  • ERN: Microeconometric Studies of Housing Markets (Topic) 
  • ERN: U.S. & Canada (Topic) 
  • Econometric Modeling: Microeconometric Studies of Health, Education, & Housing Markets eJournal.

Learn more about the Chicago paper here, and the Los Angeles paper here.  


If you need assistance in economic consulting for real estate, please reach out here.


Peter Angelides, President & Principal | [email protected]

Dr. Angelides focuses his work at the intersection of economics and urban development, including real estate, economic development, city planning, transportation, tax policy, valuation, and litigation. He helps clients pursue economic development, gain entitlements, assess feasibility, and prepare grant applications, among other undertakings. He leads ESI’s Real Estate and Litigation practices, and he often presents findings in public venues, such as courtrooms or public hearings.


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