ULI Philadelphia: Building in Brewerytown - Balancing Business, Community and Development


Tuesday, October 6th, 2020
9:15am - 10:30am EDT




Pricing Members Non-Members
Private $15.00 $25.00
Public/Academic/Nonprofit $10.00 $15.00
Retired $10.00 N/A
Student $10.00 $15.00
Under Age 35 $10.00 $15.00
Online registration is available through October 5, 2020.
Refunds can be processed up to 48 hours before the event.
With community focused design and development at the forefront of the conversation in real estate, we turn to one developer’s work in Brewerytown to examine how business, community and development organizations look to revitalize their neighborhood through thoughtful and intentional partnerships. This community’s ongoing transformation will be investigated through a candid discussion with:
  • Aaron Smith, MMPartners
  • Mino Nguyen-Cruz, 2637brew
  • Sarajane Blair, Fairmount CDC
  • Tawfeeq Gaines, Search + Rescue Drygoods
To provide an understanding of the vibrant history of Brewerytown’s past, present, and future, our panelists will engage with and dive into the following questions:
  • How to strategize a multi-year development plan to make long-term impactful growth in a neighborhood
  • How to engage with the community to earn trust and support
  • How to reinvest wealth back into the communities and lessons learned through this process
  • How to address the issues of gentrification and equity as growth occurs



Mino Nguyen-Cruz

Owner, 2637brew

Mino Cruz is an active resident, business and property owner in Brewerytown since 2000. Mino is co-owner of 2637brew, a full service bar and restaurant on Girard Avenue. Mino plans to continue to advocate for and participate in the purposeful development of Brewerytown. University of San Diego is where both a BBA and MBA was earned. Mino is also co-owner of a real estate development company and has consultanted to multi-use commercial and residential real estate developers as well as individual and corporate restaurant groups in PA, NJ, NY and CA. Don't be surprised if after just one encounter, she remembers your name, picks up the conversation exactly where you left off, no matter the length of the initial exchange or the time lapse in between.


Tawfeeq Gaines

Owner, Search + Rescue Drygoods

Tawfeeq Gaines is a father, entrepreneur, and truth seeker. Naming Philadelphia as his home and the beginning of his professional career, Gaines started his entrepreneurial journey at the early age of 21 with his first retail store. Through that retail experience, he began to attend fashion tradeshows like MAGIC and PROJECT where he learned the ins and outs of the fashion industry through a buyer’s perspective. This opened different lanes of opportunity for Tawfeeq and shaped him into a pioneer of storytelling in retail spaces. Today, we know Tawfeeq as “Coach,” owner of Search + Rescue Drygoods. Located at Pyramid Lofts in the Brewerytown neighborhood of North Philadelphia, the Search + Rescue garage doors lift up to a space that is curated with found objects, midcentury furniture, toys of the past, kung fu posters, vintage clothing, and more. In the words of Coach, the practice of searching and rescuing is a lifestyle. To search is to be a student, a seeker, a truth-seeker. To rescue is to be able to identify and obtain a better quality of life. You’re upgrading yourself and filling your voids. Through this continual, perpetual search and rescue, is how you get your “one, two-step” ..." search and rescue, search and rescue, search and rescue." Metaphysically or physically seeing the value in things that people overlook. First, you rescue yourself, and then if you can transfer that to someone else, you've completed the process of search and rescue.


Aaron Smith

Partner and Founding Member, MMPartners

Aaron Smith is a Partner and Founding Member of MMP, responsible for construction management for both residential and commercial ground-up development and fit-out rehabilitation assets. Prior to MM inception, Mr. Smith was part of Switzenbaum & Associates, where he provided consultation for real estate development and management specializing in garden style multifamily and hospitality assets. Additionally, Mr. Smith serves as the CEO of MMP Homes, a subsidiary of MMP, solely specializing in residential ground-up development and rehabilitation homes. Mr. Smith graduated from Muhlenberg College with a B.A. in Political Science and has retained his general contractor’s license since 2015.


Sarajane Blair

Fairmount CDC

Sarajane Blair currently serves as the Executive Director for Fairmount CDC. She is also a consultant for Mt. Airy CDC, acting as the Director of Strategic Initiatives. Sarajane has a diverse background in nonprofit work. Her experience includes teaching and organizing ESOL and Adult Literacy classes, managing collaboratives and business associations, and planning and implementing large scale neighborhood events. She has a Masters in Public Administration from the Fels Institute of Government and a B.A. in Human Development from Colby College. Sarajane enjoys hiking, travelling and cultivating her small city garden.

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