Ken is an active entrepreneur and real estate developer in the Philadelphia area. He serves as President of Philly Office Retail, which has renovated and restored more than 300 vacant and deteriorated commercial and residential units in the Philadelphia region during the past 30 years. Philly Office Retail currently owns and manages more than 800,000 square feet of commercial and residential space in the Philadelphia region and has received four Preservation Alliance Awards for its adaptive reuse projects.
Ken founded and operated Cresheim Cottage Cafe from 1996 until 2004, Trolley Car Diner, Deli and Ice Cream Shoppe in Mt. Airy from 2000 until 2019 and Trolley Car Cafe, serving breakfast, lunch and parties in East Falls since 2010.
Previously, Ken served as Chief of Staff for Philadelphia City Councilwoman Happy Fernandez from 1991-1995 and currently serves as President of the Philadelphia Housing Development Corporation (PHDC), as a Mayoral appointee, and Chair of the Mt. Airy Business Improvement District which he co-founded in 2007. Ken is Founder of the Trolley Car Teacher’s Fund, which contributes $25,000/year in grants to public school teachers and Trolley Car Table Tennis Club, the only full time table tennis club in the Philadelphia region. Ken was an Organizer/Board Member of Valley Green Bank for 8 years until it was sold to Univest Bank in January 2015.
Ken regularly lectures on subjects ranging from real estate development to entrepreneurship to social impact investing and taught a graduate level class, entitled “Empowering Communities Through Real Estate Development,” at University of Pennsylvania’s Fels Institute of Government. In 2015, Ken founded Jumpstart Germantown, an award winning community development program that works to revitalize the Germantown section of Philadelphia, and surrounding communities, through training, mentoring, networking and providing financial resources to local aspiring developers. Now with seven Programs throughout the City of Philadelphia, Jumpstart has graduated more than 1,000 mentees from its training programs and made hundreds of loans to its participants.
In 2004, Ken was awarded the Business Leader of the Year Award by West Mt. Airy Neighbors, in 2005 was given the Community Service Award by the Center City Proprietors Association, in 2006 was named one of Philadelphia’s 101 Connectors by Leadership Philadelphia, in 2009 received the Distinguished Leadership Award by Community College of Philadelphia, in 2010 received the My Block, My Business Award by the Empowerment Group, in 2011 was awarded the Edgar Baker Community Service Award by East Mt. Airy Neighbors, the 2012 Retailer of the Year Award by the Philadelphia Chamber of Commerce and was honored by the Philadelphia Parks Alliance in 2013. In 2015, Ken received honors by the Waldorf School of Philadelphia, the Wissahickon Charter School and the Philadelphia Business Journal as “Do Gooder of the Year.” In 2018, Ken was honored by Mt. Airy USA and Historic Germantown as a community champion, by the Commonwealth Youth Choirs with its Founder’s Award, by SustainPHL with its Social Impact Award and by the Chamber of Commerce of Greater Philadelphia with its ImpactPHL Award.
Ken’s mission is to revitalize neighborhoods by renovating vacant, deteriorated properties along Philadelphia’s commercial corridors. He believes that you can do well by doing good.