A.J. Adams, PIDC’s new Program Manager, Navy Yard Workforce Development Initiatives

The Navy Yard Launches its Pilot Workforce Development Program

With a generous $1.5 million grant from the JPMorgan Chase, PIDC is thrilled to officially launch its pilot workforce program in collaboration with University City District (UCD) and the West Philadelphia Skills Initiative (WPSI) and Temple University. Together, we will partner to build a place-based network of employer-driven workforce programs in West, North, and South Philadelphia.

These partners represent communities experiencing significant economic growth – at West and North Philadelphia’s anchor institutions, and at the Navy Yard in South Philadelphia. Since WPSI’s inception in 2011, program participants who had previously been unemployed for an average of 53 weeks have gone on to earn more than $30 million in collective wages while increasing employers’ productivity and excellence.

Building on the successful and proven West Philadelphia Skills Initiative model, PIDC at the Navy Yard will engage with our employers to understand their hiring needs, and then work to build talent pipelines in adjacent communities to advance workers into career trajectory jobs while addressing staffing challenges for businesses.

Adrian “A.J.” Adams will lead the Navy Yard’s workforce development initiatives as the Program Manager. He joins the PIDC team with the exciting opportunity to recruit, assess, select, train and place South Philadelphia residents in career-ladder jobs at the Navy Yard that offer stability and opportunities for advancement. Prior to joining PIDC, A.J. worked for the City of Philadelphia, Office of Workforce Development administering the City’s first-ever municipal-focused workforce development program, which was designed to create viable pathways to permanent employment for under/unemployed Philadelphia’s. With seven years of experience supporting adult job seekers, employers, and programs focused on career training, A.J. is an enthusiastic workforce professional dedicated to designing programs to help Philadelphians connect to high-quality employment. When not working A.J enjoys time with his family, being outdoors, and cycling. In August he will compete in his first mountain bike race, traversing 32 miles and over 2,800 ft of elevation in central PA.

A.J. Adams, PIDC’s new Program Manager, Navy Yard Workforce Development Initiatives

JPMorgan Chase’s gift is a major investment in our collaborative work, and we are deeply grateful to them for their support. These funds will allow PIDC to continue to deliver on our commitment of an innovative, inclusive, and welcoming place in Philadelphia for workers to access life-changing career opportunities.

Redevelopment of historic Building 624: Historic Core pedestrian plaza flanked by artisan makerspaces for authentic local retail. Credit: Grgoundswell

PIDC Selects Navy Yard Development Partner

Renderings available HERE.

PIDC, Philadelphia’s public-private economic development corporation, has selected a team comprised of Ensemble Real Estate Investments and Mosaic Development Partners as its development partner for 109 acres at the Philadelphia Navy Yard. Selection of the Ensemble/Mosaic team is the culmination of a year-long competitive process that attracted interest from more than 35 development teams from across the country. The next phase of development will further establish the Navy Yard as a world-class business, manufacturing, R&D, and life sciences hub, and will include the creation of a vibrant mixed-use district including retail and makerspace. PIDC and the Ensemble/Mosaic team envision up to $2.6 billion of new private investment that will drive many thousands of new construction and permanent jobs.

Combined, the Ensemble/Mosaic team has successfully developed five million square feet of commercial, industrial, residential, and mixed-use properties in Philadelphia and across the country, and has been recognized for their exceptional projects and positive impacts to neighborhoods and communities. The team demonstrated an understanding of PIDC’s mission and shared a strategic vision for the Navy Yard to drive business growth and job creation for Philadelphia. The team also brings a deep commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion at all levels of the project, including ownership, construction, professional services, operations, and tenancy. These factors, combined with the team’s local presence and experience, demonstrated financial capacity, and a track record of success with both new construction and adaptive re-use of historic buildings, positioned the Ensemble/Mosaic team as the clear choice to lead the next stage of growth and development at the Navy Yard.

New Mustin District will be focused on life sciences, commercial, office, and residential. Buildings are organized around pockets of green space and public recreation trails. Credit: DIGSAU

“Today’s announcement marks a significant milestone for this long-term public-private partnership led by PIDC that has brought the Navy Yard from the uncertainty and job losses of the early 1990’s to a dynamic home to more than 175 companies and 15,000 employees,” said Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney. “The Navy Yard has fulfilled its initial promise of becoming a thriving center for business, innovation, investment, talent, and jobs, establishing itself as one of the city’s major engines of economic growth. The exciting new partnership with Ensemble/Mosaic will not only build on this track record, but will also bring new ideas and energy to the Navy Yard while ensuring that equity and inclusion are at the forefront of its next phase of development.”

In alignment with PIDC’s commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion, the Ensemble/Mosaic team is committed to providing opportunities for all Philadelphians to share in the next stage of successful development at the Navy Yard. This holistic inclusion strategy provides for minority- and women-owned business enterprise (M/WBE) participation, including diverse equity ownership with an innovative crowd-funding component, substantial M/WBE participation in construction and operations, inclusion of local and M/WBE small businesses in retail and makerspace opportunities, and allocating a share of net income to a charitable foundation that will create new opportunities for young people in Philadelphia.

“The long-term commitments and investments made by employers, developers, partners, and the U.S. Navy through the years has reestablished the Navy Yard as a major employment center in Philadelphia and as an exciting place to work,” said Kate McNamara, PIDC Senior Vice President, Navy Yard. “We are thrilled to embark on our new partnership with Ensemble and Mosaic to sustain and build on the Navy Yard’s momentum. Together, we will deliver on our commitment of an innovative, inclusive, and welcoming place in Philadelphia for workers to access jobs at all skill levels, businesses to grow and thrive, and visitors to appreciate the outdoors, public art, and history.”

New Mustin District will be focused on life sciences, commercial, office, and residential. Buildings are organized around pockets of green space and public recreation trails. Credit: DIGSAU

Ensemble, based locally at the Navy Yard and headquartered in Long Beach, California, is a full-service real estate solutions and investments provider that creates exceptional real estate in the healthcare, hospitality, commercial and urban multifamily/mixed-use sectors. Ensemble entered the Philadelphia market in 2012 when it began the development and construction of the 172-room Courtyard by Marriott hotel at the Navy Yard — and in 2016, its 40-room expansion. Since that time, Ensemble has developed, acquired, or is in development of 14 properties totaling 1.3 million square feet on over 45 acres at the Navy Yard, and is the largest private owner at the Navy Yard. Ensemble has successfully delivered over 4 million square feet across its national portfolio.

“We are excited to join together with PIDC and Mosaic to achieve our collective vision of providing high-quality mixed-use and residential projects, compelling public spaces, and a nationally recognized Life Sciences campus that the city of Philadelphia can be proud of,” said Kam Babaoff, Chairman of Ensemble Real Estate Investments. “We recognize the immense responsibility it will be to steward the development of the Navy Yard so it can endure for the good of the community for generations to come. Our partnership with Mosaic, with their intimate local perspective, keen development expertise, and innovative approaches to engaging every demographic in Philadelphia, heightens this perspective and will greatly contribute to a successful development.”

Mosaic Development Partners is a Philadelphia based, certified MBE real estate development and management company, founded in 2008 by Gregory Reaves and Leslie Smallwood-Lewis. Mosaic primarily focuses on ground up development and adaptive reuse of commercial properties in underserved urban communities. Since 2012, Mosaic and its partners have secured financing, invested, and initiated more than $200 million in the greater Philadelphia region, bringing quality retail, commercial, recreational, and residential space to communities of color, along with hundreds of construction and full-time jobs.

“The Mosaic team is thrilled to partner with Ensemble and PIDC on the next phase of the Navy Yard,” said Gregory Reaves, co-owner of Mosaic Development Partners. “The prior work at the Navy Yard has set an extremely high bar, and we are eager to apply our development model and expertise to bring unique perspective and solutions to the development team and create opportunities for disenfranchised businesses and communities who seek to become a part of this historic location.”

Redevelopment of historic Building 624: Historic Core pedestrian plaza flanked by artisan makerspaces for authentic local retail. Credit: Groundswell

In September 2019, PIDC put out a call for prospective partners through a Request for Qualifications (RFQ). PIDC received more than 35 responses to the RFQ in December 2019. Based on the RFQ criteria, five highly experienced teams were shortlisted and invited to submit full proposals in response to a comprehensive Request for Proposals (RFP). All five shortlisted teams submitted comprehensive proposals on May 22, 2020. After detailed review and evaluation of the proposals and virtual team interviews with an Advisory Panel, PIDC selected the Ensemble/Mosaic co-development team. The parties expect to finalize a development agreement shortly and pre-development work for the first project is expected to occur in 2021.

Redevelopment of historic Building 624: Historic Core pedestrian plaza flanked by artisan makerspaces for authentic local retail. Credit: Groundswell


Proposed residential building in the Historic Core with pedestrian plaza + ground floor retail for employees and residents. Credit: DIGSAU

About PIDC

PIDC is Philadelphia’s public-private economic development corporation. A non-profit founded in 1958 by the City of Philadelphia and the Greater Philadelphia Chamber of Commerce, PIDC’s mission is to spur investment, support business growth, and foster developments that create jobs, revitalize neighborhoods, and drive growth to every corner of Philadelphia. PIDC has invested more than $16.6 billion of financing and more than 3,200 acres of land sales—which has leveraged over $29 billion in total investment and assisted in retaining and creating hundreds of thousands of jobs in Philadelphia

For more information about PIDC, visit www.PIDCphila.com and follow us @PIDCphila on Twitter.

About the Navy Yard:

Today, the Navy Yard is a growing community of nearly 15,000 employees and 170 employers who occupy 7.5 million square feet across a mix of property types, including office, retail, industrial, R&D, and institutional. These employers include the Urban Outfitters headquarters; GSK’s North American headquarters; Jefferson Health; life science and technology startups; manufacturers; corporate R&D, including Axalta’s Global Innovation Center; critical U.S. Navy engineering centers; and a graduate engineering, business, and research campus for Penn State University.

In addition to its proximity to a large, diverse talent pool; airport and highway access; and the ability to create customizable workplaces, the Navy Yard offers community members a range of amenities including restaurants and cafes, a riverfront greenway, free shuttle access, bikeshare, and over 20 acres of open green space. The Navy Yard is a collaborative community with curated food trucks, health and wellness programs, rotating public art installations by local and international artists, and hosts a variety of food, fitness, and philanthropic events in its parks.

For more information about the Navy Yard, visit www.navyyard.org and follow us on Twitter @NavyYardPhila.

About Ensemble Real Estate Investments:

Over the past 40 years, Ensemble has successfully invested and developed over $2 billion in real estate across the United States, offering state-of-the-art property solutions in the healthcare, hospitality, commercial, and urban multi-family and mixed-use sectors. A widely respected leader in its industry, Ensemble has revolutionized the art of master planning, delivering iconic and strategically engineered facilities and beautifully preserved historic buildings—all designed to transform and inspire the communities they serve.

In January 2020, Ensemble opened its Philadelphia’s Navy Yard office, which will be led by previous Liberty Property Trust executives Brian Cohen and Mark Seltzer. The office seeks to support Ensemble’s East Coast growth, particularly at the Navy Yard where Ensemble has already invested $360 million. The company’s 14 Navy Yard properties boast a collective 1.3 million square feet and 45 acres, and include hotels, mixed-use developments, and life science facilities for leading-edge companies like Iovance Biotherapeutics, Adaptimmune, and WuXi Advanced Therapies.

To learn more about Ensemble, visit https://ensemble.net/.

About Mosaic Development Partners and Mosaic Brokerage Group:

Mosaic Development Partners is a Philadelphia based, minority certified commercial real estate development and project management company founded in 2008. Mosaic primarily focuses on ground up development and adaptive reuse of commercial properties in underserved urban communities. The company has successfully used viable, but complicated finance instruments (largely in the form of local, state, and federal loans and tax credits) to help stabilize and grow neighborhoods and create jobs. By partnering with municipalities, established developers, not-for-profit organizations and government entities, Mosaic has leveraged its investments and revitalized properties in struggling or stagnated communities. Since 2012, Mosaic and its partners have secured and invested more than $100 million in Philadelphia neighborhoods, resulting in hundreds of construction and full-time jobs, eliminating blight, and spurring additional investment in those communities.

Mosaic Brokerage Group (MBG) is a full-service real estate brokerage. Its agents are experienced in residential and commercial leasing and sales, tenant representation and the repositioning of existing assets. The brokerage is well regarded for its ability to assist its clients in evaluating and implementing improvements that will best position the asset to ensure a positive outcome.

To learn more about Mosaic, visit www.mosaicdp.com and www.mosaicbrokerage.com.


CCPlan timeline

PIDC Embarks on the Navy Yard Connected Community Plan and Wants Your Input

PIDC is excited to announce the embarkment on the next chapter of development for the Navy Yard’s future. PIDC and its consultant, AECOM, will collaborate with everyone in the Philadelphia community – including you! – to develop the Navy Yard Connected Community Plan, a strategic plan that will connect businesses, employees, visitors, and future residents through innovative initiatives, technologies, resources, and amenities.

Read more


Welcome Half Mad Honey with New Apiary

To further our place in Philadelphia’s ecological environment, we are pleased to announce that Half Mad Honey chose the Navy Yard as the site for its second apiary. The founders Amelia Mraz and Natasha Pham are the beekeepers behind this organization. Their overall goal is to empower people with mental illness through the therapeutic realm of beekeeping. Amelia stumbled into beekeeping, and here is her story:

I stumbled into beekeeping impulsively, registering for an undergraduate horticulture class very much outside my major of psychology. I quickly became fascinated by the subtleties each hive relies on and those they create. Throughout my years in the apiary, tending to bees has become a meditative and therapeutic practice for me. When I signed up for the course, I was feeling lost, and I was searching outside myself for some source of comfort. At the time, the thought of connecting and working with bees and nature sounded comforting, so I signed up for a beekeeping class. 

Honey bees are innately sensitive to emotions, and communicate through pheromones. They can detect when you are irritated or anxious, and this in turn will agitate a hive. While holding a 60 lb. box with 70,000 bees inside, I am conscious of the depth of my breath, the placement of my feet in the grass, and the feeling of fuzzy abdomens vibrating and tickling my fingertips. In moments of fear I must surrender, and trust myself, as well as the bees. I focus on the sound of their wings fluttering and the cool fanning of air on my face. When I perform a hive inspection, I immerse myself as much as possible in the complexities and intricacies of the eusocial organization of Apis Mellifera. I see thousands of eggs and new lives being created and emerging, and I am brought outside of myself, feeling connected to something larger, I am able to be calm.

Beekeeping has been a source of education about my recovery. It has taught me trust, an act that does not come easily to me. It has also taught me that recovery is not linear. Furthermore, like mental wellness, in beekeeping there are always problems that need to be solved, prevented, and managed. Though bees are innately wild and beekeeping is fundamentally for the beekeeper, bees are a dying species that are constantly facing adversity to their survival. Regularly managing my own mental illness and symptoms, I feel like beekeeping has become a relevantly consolidated space in which I can draw parallels to my own wellness journey and process its past and trajectory.

Half Mad Honey’s mission is inspired by other mental health movements which aim to create awareness and education surrounding mental illness. Promoting the calming qualities of beekeeping, our logo the serotonin compound represents one of the main chemicals responsible for mood regulation in the body. Parallelly, studies have shown that honey has many neuropharmacological benefits, and can be specifically useful as an antidepressant. Half Mad Honey is dedicated to empowering those living with mental disorders and building a community based in peer support facilitated through the therapeutic realm of honey bees and beekeeping.

Half Mad Honey will be using the honey from the hives to create healing salves, as well as honey and honeycomb – all available for purchase.

Follow the apiary on Instagram @halfmadhoney, & check back for more updates on the Yard BLOG.


Cool Jobs at the Navy Yard: Michael Giuliante’s 50th-Year Edition

The Navy Yard, home to 15,000 employees working at 170 companies, is full of awesome people doing great things. Each person here has a cool job with a unique story! Meet Michael Giuliante, Site Operations Manager with DTE Philadelphia, who is celebrating 50 years at the Navy Yard this summer.

Recently, we had a chance to chat with Michael about his current work with DTE and his 50 year journey at the Yard.

What does your company do? DTE Philadelphia operates and maintains the Electrical Distribution System for the Navy Yard. (Think something like the power company.)

Describe your typical work day. Short story, I keep the light on! Long story, my team and I schedule routine and major maintenance work, respond to  emergency electrical outages, we operate the lift bridge, we design, estimate, and install all new building services that are utility connections and answer any questions relating to the operation of the Navy Yard — not just electrical. But don’t get me wrong, I love my job! I love the freedom to run the day-to-day operations mixed in with overseeing all the ongoing projects. The people aren’t half bad either – the various contractors, PIDC staff, CBRE team, the Navy and Private Industry personnel are all great!

You’ve see a ton over the last 50 years, what has been your favorite project to work on? Bare with me, cases I can’t just pick one! 50 years is a long time.

  • In my 50 year term, starting with my Navy DOD (Department of Defense) career the docking and undocking of the aircraft carriers in the SLEP program. Just to see those larger than life monsters fit into those bath tubs.
  • The redesigning of all the major substations in the 1980’s.
  • Holding together the system and following through on the work even when we were put on the closure list.
  • After the eventual closing in 1995/96 of the Navy Yard as it was, the transition from the Navy Yard to the City development stages.
  • The very first transfer of Dry Dock #4 and #5 complex to the Kaverner Shipyard and the redesign of the electrical distribution system so that the new electrical capacity would support ship building that hasn’t been seen since the 1940’s.
  • Being on the main floor of the URBN project. Designing all the steps from the demo/removal of all the old electrical distribution substations in the Dry Dock #1 area from 17th St to Broad St and Kitty Hawk Ave to Admiral Perry Way and then the eventual rebuilding of those services as each building was brought back to life.
  • The redesign of the Coroparet Center from Crescent Park, Crescent 1, Crescent 3 and Crescent 5 to the first medical buildings in operation, and all the new construction on Rouse Boulevard. The design and builds of the WUXI Buildings, the Sock Exchange that opened and closed on the very same day and the rush to redesign the substation to support what is now the TierPoint Facility
  • Convincing The TastyKake Baking Company that if they moved their operation to the Navy Yard that we could support them with a more modern and reliable electrical distribution system with new switches, cable and transformers and then doing so.

Theses are just a few of my favorites.

Take us down memory lane, tell us a bit about your 50-year journey! In 50 years how do you share a little bit ? You can’t. There were and are many knowledgeable people who taught me more than I thought I was capable of learning. To a guy John McCauley that I met on my first day on July 7, 1970 that became one of my best friend and still is today. To all the guys that worked with me and for me, Frankie Pottle who could never do enough for me and he wasn’t even an electrician. All my past employees that worked to make my career successful.

My first boss Harry Hartman Maull who told me at the end of my four year apprenticeship that he could show me how to be a great mechanic, show me how to get ahead, show me how to make good money ….or he could show me the “Gate” as in the Main Gate.

The first PIDC Team headed by Leslie Knott, overseeing Bob Gorgone, Gina Pastore, Carmen Zappile, Mark Seltzer and more. Our dear friend gone too soon Louise Schrader. My first private industry boss Ray McCaffrey and the Cinergy Group soon to become the Duke, then DTE Group. How different and head spinning was the fast track we were on to prove that the Navy Yard could be something more than just a closed up old graveyard. That it could become the best re-developed landscape that the City could ever hope for, and it is. The greatest part is that it is still developing today with new buildings and sites popping up like the weeds that many people thought would overrun the old site when it closed.

Now there is a new PIDC team headed by Kate McNamara and her staff, that is keeping with the same mindset that we can still grow and still become better and I think that this is what keeps my interest and drive to stay. To get to see what’s next, to try to pull off something bigger and better.

When I was with the Navy I was as fortunate as I am today, I had the people surrounding me that were top high voltage electricians and very good at what they did also. Hank Bolinski, Steve Smith, Kraig Peterson, and others that have retired or moved on, were the nucleus of the team that I conveyed had to come with me to make this new project work in 2001. John Pangborn and Patrick Wasylenko who were hired after are a perfect fit to the puzzle. These professionals do the everyday and sometimes more than everyday work that keeps the site operational and dependable. No one ever sees them but if the lights are on and the power flowing — they are here.

The support group in CBRE with Poe and his staff, Joe, Maulana , Judy, Fred and Tom DeTitto who bangs out my ideas on paper like they have always been there and sometimes even better, they are all a part of the big picture. Does all of this get stressful at times ? Yes but the ability to lean on all of these people and to be able to have time to laugh and joke with them is a great feeling and lightens that load.

But the PIDC team, Kate, Rudy, Andrew and the others that ask the questions or depend on an idea of how to get from point A to B, they are the ones taking the biggest gamble of all and to do that and trust me, I owe them more than I can ever accept from them. The trust part is the greatest compliment that you can ever receive

My 50 year journey has been tremendously rewarding filled with strangers that have become friends, and friends that have become family! You can’t compare what was, to what is now, but sometimes it comes full circle.  Sometimes, I get to work with an engineer or project manager, that I had done work with 30 or 40 years ago as a DOD employee.  I guess you can say “It never ends”