Housing Affordabilty and Its Role in Employee Recruitment

Housing Affordabilty and Its Role in Employee Recruitment

Please join us on Thursday, April 6, 2023 as we welcome Denise Kelly, a Certified Economic Developer / Urban Strategist to BPW/St. Petersburg-Pinellas. Kelly is with Stoneweg US, a real estate investment firm, in St. Petersburg, specializing in the acquisition and development of multifamily assets. Denise’s areas of expertise include neighborhood and workforce development, commercial and mixed-use real estate development, business development, public-private-civic partnerships, and community revitalization utilizing Smart Growth strategies. We welcome her to BPW to discuss the connection between talent acquisition and housing affordability in St. Petersburg. One solution could be found in connecting apartment developments with our healthcare and education employers who need housing that is affordable for teachers, nurses, and other staff in these fields which tend to employ greater numbers of women.

Denise’s career in commercial development included projects spanning Philadelphia,San Jose, San Francisco, and Hawaii. Those projects, including Oakland’s first LEED certified, mixed-use residential community designed using Smart Growth strategies and TOD incentives, and with both Tax and Bond affordable units, piqued an interest in Urban Planning. Through one of the largest Public Private Ventures in the country, she was honored to have served Navy and Marine Corps families through a partnership with the Department of Defense when military housing was privatized, and her company was awarded contracts in Hawaii, the Pacific Northwest and the Southeast. In Hawaii, she and a small team transitioned more than 10K homes into the portfolio and subsequently, built thousands more to replace WWII era housing.

It was while living in Hawaii and watching growth patterns island-wide that she decided to pursue a master’s in urban studies. She returned to her hometown of Philadelphia in 2017 to attend a multi-disciplined program at Drexel University and graduated in 2020 with a Master of Science in Urban Strategy. The Urban Strategy program was a multi-disciplined program in planning, design, policy, health, and business, with electives in Environmental Engineering.

While attending classes at Drexel, she was offered a position at Drexel’s Lindy Institutefor Urban Innovation as a Research Analyst for Bruce Katz, Executive Director of the Nowak Metro Finance Lab. Under the mentorship of Bruce, an innovative globalthought leader in economic development strategies, Denise concentrated studies and research on community and economic development strategies, opportunity zones,research and data analysis, public policy, diversity, equitable planning practices, and sustainable development. Denise conducted research and engaged more than 65stakeholders to create an Investment Prospectus around the 46th & Market St. corridor in West Philadelphia. In partnership with The Enterprise Center and a Grant from theEDA, the prospectus is framed in equitable and inclusive development, employing a Smart Growth Strategy, and using various federal, state, and local incentives. The Prospectus will serve as a model for other cities in their future planning efforts to attract private investment in historically marginalized communities employing a multi-stackcapital strategy.

Denise acquired her Certified Economic Developer (CEcD) designation in 2021 and iscurrently studying for the AICP exam with the American Planning Association. She is personally interested in the Arts, yoga, walking/hiking/biking, and her two “girls” –Lili, a little poi dog, and Maili, a wiley cat – both from Hawaii.