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Why Real Estate Developers Should Throw Music Festivals

By Joshua Pollard, Omicelo Cares Chairman

Residential real estate developers and home builders are consistently fighting for a limited pool of qualified buyers. Given the current strength of the real estate market a fierce amenity battle is being fought in which rooftop swimming pools, dog parks, workout facilities, billiards room, tanning beds and indoor basketball courts are weapons developers are utilizing to win the war for initial deposits and sales. And rightfully so.

62% of homebuyers would prefer a smaller house with higher quality amenities over a bigger house with fewer amenities according to a National Association of Homebuilders’ survey. But why do developers focus so much of their time and capital on amenities that do not scale?

An amenity, like a pool, can only impact one building or one new home community. The marketing of these types of “unscalable” amenities, which are a major sales team focus, only attract buyers to a singular building or community. Do scalable amenities exist?

Omicelo, a mission-driven real estate investment company, believes that music festivals can scale and support an entire market or city. The Omicelo mission is to gentrify neighborhoods with the people who live in those neighborhoods – to catalyze wholesale economic change without unnecessary displacement. Omicelo’s for-profit real estate development arm is developing real estate in neighborhoods that are on the cusp of significant change. Omicelo Cares, its non-profit affiliate, is entirely focused on education that should result in higher incomes for existing residents in these changing neighborhoods.

Omicelo Cares organizes the DreamOn Festival - a two-day event in Pittsburgh, PA that brings together Grammy-award winning talent alongside the best local acts. This sets the stage for a family-friendly, fun-infused ice cream & music extravaganza. Best of all, Omicelo Cares uses the 7 Pillars® of Sustainable Business to teach students from Pittsburgh’s toughest high schools how to run their own businesses using the festival as a platform. These students are the DreamOn Festival’s co-producers alongside volunteer staff from Omicelo and many other supporting companies. The students are responsible for operations, marketing, design, and social media. Over the last 3 years our high-school aged students have produced nearly 5 million social media impressions in a total of 6 festival days. In 2016, the DreamOn Festival was the #4 trending topic in Pittsburgh on Twitter as a result of the genius and execution of these 15-19-year-old students.

Music festivals are scalable amenities because, when done right, they can both shift sales from inferior products and increase the size of the buyer pool in a market. Festivals have the ability to be a point of attraction for not just one community, but for many when executed strategically. Omicelo and Omicelo Cares firmly embraces the idea that music festivals and the arts, at-large, have unique power in the development of communities and spaces.

That said, it requires treating a traditional cost, such as marketing, like a future revenue item while shifting attitudes about “inner-city” kids from a mindset that sees them as liabilities to an outlook that sees them as a community’s best assets.

If you are a new homebuilder and your number one focus is the bottom-line, consider hosting a music festival when you open a new large community. Ensure it is headlined by a well-known artist that, from a data-driven standpoint, is attractive to your sales demographic and ensures your other communities can tie into the event in a way that supports the company at-large.

If you are a mission-focus developer that ties community building into your profit model, consider a local music festival that allows students or young adults to participate entrepreneurially. You will likely find that they are bright, have great talent, and because of your invested time will likely become a future buyer of your product.

If you would like to support the efforts of Omicelo Cares, please consider one of the following:

  1. Make a charitable donation to Omicelo Cares so that it can continue providing practical education to students who need it most,
  2. Attend the Omicelo Cares VIP Event on August 3rd at the August Wilson Center in Pittsburgh’s Cultural District,
  3. Come to the 4th annual DreamOn Festival on August 4th and 5th from 12-9pm in Market Square (Pittsburgh’s most heavily trafficked square) and enjoy great music, tasty ice cream and a fun weekend in America’s Most Livable City.

Visit www.DreamOnFest.com for more information about how you can support our mission.

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