A Postcard From: Amanda Xifaras ’20

Name: Amanda Xifaras
Class Year: 2020
Major: Growth and Structure of Cities
Hometown: Mansfield, Mass. 

Internship Placement: Philly Office Retail
Job Title: Real Estate Development Internship
Location: Philadelphia

What’s happening at your internship?

At my internship I worked on a variety of tasks while working for different departments of Philly Office Retail, including working for the Jumpstart Germantown Program and working with the CFO on accounting projects. While working on the Jumpstart Germantown Program, I performed loan underwriting of 25 loans, maintaining internal client databases and communicating with clients as well as facilitating site visits, settlements and draw requests. While working with the CFO, I was responsible for preparing payoff statement invoices and bank reconciliations as well as maintaining financial records in QuickBooks. In addition to working on the program and with the CFO, I conducted research on President Ken Weinstein’s properties in Germantown to reduce taxes, to request zoning changes, and to apply for grants to eliminate brownfields. I also shadowed the president in various meetings both in the office and onsite with lawyers, clients and other real estate professionals as well as attending variance and historic preservation court hearings.

Why did you apply for this internship?

I applied to this internship because I am passionate about real estate and wanted to learn more about real estate development. I’m trying to find my niche within real estate and getting work experience through internships are the best way to do so. What I liked about Philly Office Retail is that it does progressive real estate development. They try to build wealth within low-income areas through their Jumpstart Germantown Program.

Living in a new city? What has that experience been like for you?

Living in Philadelphia has been wonderful. I lived in West Philadelphia near Penn’s campus. Having a 9-to-5 schedule everyday gave me a taste of work life after college. Completely living on my own meant that I was responsible for cooking all of my meals, shopping and cleaning up after myself, which took planning in advance in order to fit everything that I had to do into my schedule. In addition, having to figure and rely on public transportation was something else to consider while planning my day. I feel that I have really increased my time-management skills this summer. I definitely feel that I have developed and matured because of my internship experience.

What is most rewarding about your internship?

The most rewarding part about my internship was all of the impacts that were made. I was proud to work for a company that invested $10 million into revitalizing Germantown. Through the Jumpstart Germantown Program, over 90 loans were granted by Philly Office Retail to first-time real estate developers who used the loans to revitalized over 90 properties in Germantown. Over the summer, I worked on 25 of these loans. When properties were first purchased, I went on initial inspections with the president. Throughout the renovation process, I would go on draw inspections with the project manager and see each property develop. Being able to see the change within Germantown was especially rewarding.