ULI Philadelphia: Development Crash Course - Starting and Operating a Real Estate Development Enterprise


2021-09-10 - 2021-09-17

Choose Your Calendar


    ULI Philadelphia Hybrid Event


    Standard Pricing Until September 8 Members Non-Members
    Private $80.00 $95.00
    Public/Academic/Nonprofit $70.00 $85.00
    Retired $70.00 N/A
    Student $40.00 $55.00
    Under Age 35 $45.00 $60.00
    Refunds may be requested 48 hours prior to an event by emailing CustomerService@uli.org. 
    Standard registration ends September 8.
    Many people associated with the real estate industry have at one time or other considered the leap into becoming a real estate developer. While a great deal of information can be found on the mechanics of developing a real estate project, there’s far less available on organizing and operating the business entity that will drive that process. It’s possible to develop a small project or two as a sideline, but the prospect of sustaining an ongoing business operation itself can be daunting.

    This new two-day ULI program will introduce attendees to some of the myriad business and operational considerations to be addressed when making the transition into entrepreneurial real estate development. The program is organized into five sections: Setting up your Business, Running the Business, Developing Projects, Property Management/Disposition, and Best Business Practices. If you’ve ever considered moving into the role of developer, don’t miss this highly informative program.
    Day 1: Friday, September 10, 2021, 8:30 - 10:30 am EST
    Delivered virtually via Zoom.
    Instructor: Ryan Spak, Spak Group 
    • Setting up your business
    • Running the business
    • Doing projects
    Day 2: Friday, September 17, 2021, 3:00 - 5:00 pm EST
    Delivered in person* (with virtual option) at One Logan Square.
    Instructor: Leslie Smallwood-Lewis, Mosaic Development Partners 
    *May be delivered entirely virtually if public health conditions require. 
    • Property management / disposition
    • Best business practices
    • Optional happy hour to follow 



    Leslie Smallwood-Lewis

    Mosaic Development Partners

    Leslie Smallwood-Lewis graduated from Brown University in 1988 with a Bachelor of Science in Psychology. Immediately after graduating from Brown, Leslie attended law school at Villanova University School of Law and graduated in 1991. From 1991-2001, Leslie practiced civil defense law at a medium sized Philadelphia defense firm and subsequently in a small Philadelphia law practice specializing in workers compensation, personal injury, domestic relations and bankruptcy. In 2001, Leslie joined the Goldenberg Group, a regional mid-sized real estate development firm located in Blue Bell, PA, as an Associate Development Director. During her 7-year tenure, she was promoted three times ultimately achieving the position of Senior Vice-President of Development. Leslie led the development of a $50 million, 342,000 square foot shopping center, the largest single development in West Philadelphia and the largest development in a Federal Empowerment zone located in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. She also developed and implemented a program which led to the successful acquisition and relocation of private residences without incident, utilized eminent domain to acquire vacant blighted properties and generated community support and positive media coverage for the effective management of this program. In 2008, Leslie and her partner Gregory Reaves, established Mosaic Development Partners. Since its founding, Mosaic has developed over $120 million in real estate projects and has created over 200 construction jobs and 100 full-time jobs.


    Jeremy Sunkett

    Vice President, Corporate Real Estate , Elwyn

    Jeremy leads the management of Elwyn’s multi-state real estate portfolio through oversight of strategy, development, leasing, acquisitions, dispositions, asset management, facilities operations and capital and master planning. Prior to joining Elwyn, Jeremy served as the real estate lead for two higher education institutions in the Philadelphia Region. As Director of Real Estate at the University of Delaware, he was responsible for all real estate issues within the University’s 8.5 million square foot portfolio. He also led the development of UD’s 272-acre Science, Technology and Advanced Research (STAR) Campus by negotiating the development of the $45M Tower at STAR as well as a $150M corporate research facility to expand it. Jeremy also served as an Associate Vice President at Rowan University, where he helped establish the University’s real estate function, developed a housing master plan and led negotiations for the Rowan’s first public-private partnership, a $133M student housing development. In addition to his higher education and healthcare real estate experience, Jeremy has worked as a real estate consultant at JLL as well as independently. Before entering the real estate industry, he held several economic development positions in Pennsylvania and New Jersey and in those roles focused on strategy, project management and financing of a wide variety of real estate and infrastructure projects. His diverse background has enabled Jeremy to work on projects in all of the primary real estate asset classes, in urban and suburban areas and across industries and sectors. Jeremy earned a bachelor’s degree from Georgetown University and a master’s degree from the University of Pennsylvania. He is a Senior Advisor with Econsult Solutions, Inc. in Philadelphia, a member of the Urban Land Institute (ULI) Philadelphia’s Advisory Board and a Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Advisor for ULI Philadelphia. Among Jeremy’s other board assignments were serving as a Trustee for LEAP Academy University Charter School and Hopeworks, both in Camden, New Jersey.


    Ryan Spak

    Principal and Founder, Spak Group

    Born and raised in Philadelphia, Ryan graduated from Northeast High School and Temple University with a degree in Political Science and American Studies. He also completed course work at Drexel’s Lebow College for Construction Management. Ryan has a passion for Philadelphia’s neighborhoods, their history and its real estate. This passion, coupled with fifteen years of entrepreneurial experience in building maintenance, construction and real estate development ignited his firm belief that no distressed property should ever remain in an inhabitable, unsafe condition. This was the basis for Project Rehab, a program Ryan developed and spearheads for University City District to help property owners remediate distressed properties. Since its inception in 2011, Project Rehab has positively affected development in over 57 buildings in University City creating approximately $28 million in additional real estate value. More information on this program can be found here: http://www.universitycity.org/project-rehab. Ryan is also proud Board Member of Federation Housing, a Mentor / Speaker for 2019 Best of Philly Winner, JumpStart Germantown and JumpStart West, a former Board Member of Cedar Park Neighbors, a Board Member of UC Green, a member of the Building Committee for Parent Infant Center, a former radio host for the Community Development Hour broadcasted on WPEB 88.1 FM and 96.1 FM every two weeks and was honored to serve the City of Philadelphia and PIDC as its Moderator for its “Resources for Neighborhood Development” seminars in 2017. Because of his community development efforts, Ryan was a guest speaker at the New Gravity Housing Conference for Green Building, the National Vacancy Land Conference in Philadelphia, the National Code Enforcement Conference in Dallas, TX, and the Philadelphia Poverty Conference. His work has also been featured in publications such as Philadelphia Daily News, Grid Magazine and on FlyingKite.com as can be found here: (link to press). As a result of his creative solutions to resolving distressed property, Ryan won the University City Historical Society’s “Outstanding Preservation Award” three times for his work on developing Project Rehab (2012), for his integral part in saving St. Peter’s Church (2013) and as a member of the Spak Group Team for its renovation of Larchwood Flats at 501 S. 52nd Street (2016). Spak Group’s Larchwood Flats property has also won the 2016 Extreme Makeover Award presented by the Design Collaborative / Commerce Department; and the Preservation Alliance Grand Jury Award for 2017. Within Spak Group, Ryan focuses on property acquisition, joint venture partnerships, construction management, tax strategies and financing for Spak Group. Over the past four years, Spak Group has organically tripled in size with 100+ residential units under management and another 104 units under construction, in development or planning. Ryan loves being a resident of West Philadelphia, but even more, he loves being married to his wife, Jessica and being a father to his daughter, Charlotte. When not engrossed in matters of brick, Ryan is a fanatical basketball enthusiast, bleeds “Flyers” orange, loves saving animals from a cold Philly night, and is quite nuts over ‘80’s memorabilia – especially movies and television shows!