Sunday, May 17, 2015

Jim Cramer on Philadelphia

You know Jim Cramer? That loud guy from Mad Money who tells you when to buy and sell your stocks? Well, he's telling you to buy Philadelphia, and buy it now!

Cramer is a Philadelphia native, so it's understandable that he loves his hometown. But he also knows financial trends. That's why it's notable that on Friday he said, "If Philly was a stock, it would be incredibly undervalued."

Philly Bricks has been saying that for years, as has every other online cheerleader for America's most unappreciated city. But Cramer also made a significant point, essentially, we need to invest in our schools. Citing how Brooklyn managed to hold onto families by investing in the city's school district, the key to keeping Philadelphians downtown might be in making ours top notch. 

Still, a city is more than the go-to demographics: new parents and Millennials. Sure, in a way they reinvented New York, put Portland on the map, and made a few people decide to live in Detroit. But catering to families and 20-somethings is also a flat approach. And that's where Philadelphia's affordability, proximity to New York and Washington, and its businesses - both established and emerging - come into play. And that seems to be where Cramer's assessment is really coming from.

Coming soon...and then some.

The truth is, Cramer's endorsement isn't driving Philadelphia, it's a reaction to what's been taking place for about ten years. Philadelphia is coming into its own, perhaps for the third time in its history. Manhattan has become an island for the elite and Washington, D.C. has sprawled to West Virginia. Long forgotten and written off as an insignificant city, Philadelphia is both proving itself a worthy contender, but also one that can offer reasonably affordable housing for years to come. 

People are taking note, and they aren't just recent college grads who can't afford more than a studio apartment. Big shots from New York, Chicago, and Boston are recognizing Philadelphia as a world class competitor and they're bringing their businesses with them. Why spend millions on corporate headquarters and a condo in Manhattan when all your employees are working from a WiFi connection anyway?

Buildings no longer make a corporation, and thousands of untold businesses are finding satellite offices in Philadelphia's home offices online.

Cramer didn't say as much but he certainly seems to get it. As stock, Philadelphia is undervalued. And savvy consumers are finally getting it too. Once ignored, and for a short time dubbed New York's Sixth Borough, Philadelphia is no longer playing second chair to anyone. From Comcast to Urban Outfitters, Center City to Phoenixville, we're playing the game and we're playing it right. Sure, we have our constraints, but business owners and residents are quickly learning to work with the system, instead of simply resigning ourselves to the mediocrity that the system breeds in isolation. And that's because we've finally recognized that Philadelphia is worth it. 

I've said it before and I'll say it again: look out, New York, we're coming for you.


  1. well, hopefully we will be coming to grab some of their well-planned & well-designed subway/elevated lines that this city sorely needs, get rid of our 19th/20th century trolley lines that NYC got rid of a century ago and finally bring mass transit in Philly into the 21st century.

    1. I would hate to see Philadelphia lose the trolleys. NYC didn't replace their trollies with subway/elevated lines. Like everyone else, they were mostly replaced with busses. Philadelphia has by far the largest trolley network in the U.S. and I'd hate to see it go to bus lines.

      That said, we could use some upgrades. SEPTA has already planned to upgrade the trolleys to something a little more like those in Portland.

      I doubt we'll see any new subway/elevated lines. Most cities just don't build them anymore. I wouldn't rule out light-rail though, especially on wide streets like Delaware Avenue and Roosevelt Boulevard.