Knowledge Center

When Many Commercial Real Estate Projects Were Put on Hold, Hightop Development Found a Way to Persevere

running-a-business | Read Time: 3 minutes

By Eric Springer | Published: September 2021


Amid the pandemic, many commercial real estate projects were forced to hit pause due to government shutdowns, supply chain issues and other unforeseen circumstances. In a bustling city like Philadelphia, where multi-family housing and commercial space is in demand and development timelines are often tight, delays in these types of projects can be detrimental to the market and to the project itself.

However, despite the setbacks and hurdles, Hightop Development was able to persevere during the pandemic.

Across from the famous Pat’s and Geno’s in South Philly, Hightop Development was bringing to fruition a longtime vision for the Wharton Flats, a four-story, mixed-use project consisting of 21 apartments, three townhomes and 5,400-square-feet of ground floor commercial space.

Prior to Hightop Development, numerous developers had attempted to build on the iconic land at 9th and Wharton. However, due to community pushback and concern surrounding the use of the land, none had successfully moved forward with any of their proposed plans.

In 2018, Hightop Development set their sights on the property and after much deliberation amongst the community, the deal for the parcel of land closed on June 20, 2019 with construction immediately beginning that fall, long before anyone knew what was going to unfold in 2020. Less than six months into construction, the effects of the pandemic were fully felt, and the site was forced to shut down per State of Pennsylvania orders in March 2020.

“To have our project shut-down just six months into construction was difficult. There was a lot of work that went into securing the land and developing plans for the building, and we knew that beyond the construction delay, that supply chain delays would also impact the overall timing of the project,” said David Landskroner, Founder and CEO, Hightop Real Estate & Development. “Our biggest concern was that we wouldn’t be able to finish the project. However, working with WSFS, we were able to make the necessary adjustments to construction and financial plans, such as building in a cushion for timing delays, cost overruns, and interest reserve, to remain on track despite the unforeseen setbacks.”

In spring of 2021, Wharton Flats officially opened for leasing, providing another housing option at a time when demand was skyrocketing. The project was deemed a success as it received higher than anticipated lease rates and sales prices, and secured Insomnia Cookies as an anchor for its ground floor retail space.

“The economic growth of the City of Philadelphia is important to us,” said Joe Walker, SVP, Commercial Real Estate WSFS. “While the pandemic certainly made it more difficult for development projects in the city, we are proud to be able to support companies like Hightop Development as they provided additional housing options during an uncertain time.”

About the Author – Eric Springer
Eric Springer is Assistant Vice President, Integrated Communications Manager at WSFS Bank. He brings more than 15 years’ experience in corporate communications and marketing for banking, professional services and nonprofit organizations.



How a New Banking Partner Can Change the Trajectory of Your Business

Having been a business owner for 40 years, I know that making the decision to change vendors, after years of partnership, can be daunting. Now, apply that to switching a banking relationship, and the decision becomes harder. A proven track record and solid customer relationships are a driving factor in the success of our Pennsauken-based business, our best attribute has been the ability to adapt and tackle projects with a dedicated approach and attention to detail.

Read More

Tips for Using a Credit Card for Your Small Business

When it comes to credit for a small business, loans are typically the first options that come to mind. Small business loans are great options for infusing capital into a small business or to finance a property purchase, equipment or other operating needs.

Read More

Building Your Empire: Driving Growth and Funding Your Franchise’s Future

For franchisees, getting their business off the ground is one of the, if not the greatest challenge of their careers. From meeting the franchisor’s scale and experience requirements to securing financing, the journey to becoming a franchisee is often a long and winding road.

Read More

Top Things to Consider When You Need an Equipment Finance Partner

The right finance partner can make a huge difference in the structure, operations, and growth of your company. This relationship can be the difference between growing your business and remaining stagnant; winning new business and losing potential customers to a competitor; or even loyal employees leaving and high turnover rates. So why do so many equipment sellers settle for less than top-tier equipment finance partners?

Read More

Is it a Match? Key Considerations When Evaluating Your Business Banking Relationship

Banking options aren’t one-size-fits-all, and neither is your business. Like your business, your banking partner plays a critical role to your success, requiring regular monitoring to ensure it fits your needs now and down the road. A lot can change in a fiscal year so evaluating your relationship annually is smart business.

Read More