Our Small Business Snapshot series features photos that represent, in just one image, what the small businesses we feature are all about. Dan Biederman, president of Biederman Redevelopment Ventures, explains how this image represents his business.
Biederman Redevelopment Ventures takes dangerous, dull, or non-existent public spaces and turns them into community assets that greatly increase the value of surrounding real estate. We generally do this without recourse to public funds, and use techniques common in the private sector, like paying market prices and seeking diverse revenue sources other than philanthropic support. BRV saves our clients millions in unnecessary capital expenditures that landscape architects often load onto the job.
In 1999, I had exhausted my opportunities in Manhattan. I had turned a dangerous and drug-ridden space, Bryant Park, and set up the nation's largest complex of Business Improvement District at the Grand Central and Penn Station neighborhoods. People, including the Mayor at that time, were beginning to resent the scope and growth of my little empire. But I was getting a huge number of visits from the rest of the 49 states asking how to do the same in their cities, so instead of constantly giving out my secrets for free, I decided there was a business, resulting in my small consulting firm, Biederman Redevelopment Ventures.
Now, Bryant Park in midtown Manhattan has become a town square for its surrounding business community, jammed at almost all times of day with tourists, office workers, shoppers, and library users.
The biggest challenge for BRV has been selling what started as an unfamiliar niche product to people who are used to doing things the old-fashioned way—relying on government action that never comes, and spending too much money on fancy architecture that doesn't draw in the needed visitors.
The future of BRV looks very bright. People all around the country are discovering our projects, and hiring us. We're designing and programming new spaces, or have already opened them, in Boston, Green Bay, Buffalo, Houston, Atlanta and Los Angeles.
Edited for length and clarity by Jennifer Post.