Since merging with the Reading Viaduct Project earlier this year, Friends of the Rail Park has begun taking steps to expand its board of directors. Our first new addition to the board is long-time Rail Park supporter, Michael Garden. His years of dedication to the organization; his business, event planning and fundraising experience; and his passion for seeing the Rail Park’s success make him an invaluable asset to the organization.
An award-winning real estate professional with the brokerage CITYSPACE, Michael works with developers, investors, home buyers and home sellers in Center City, its surrounding neighborhoods, and the communities along the Wissahickon. Prior to moving to Philadelphia in 2005, Michael was an art and antique dealer in NYC. During that time he served as general contractor for the development of three art galleries and two sculpture gardens in Manhattan. He then gutted a small commercial building in the Park Slope neighborhood of Brooklyn and converted it into a residential space, which marked the beginning of his foray into real estate.
After moving to Philadelphia and establishing his real estate practice, Michael sought out new ways to engage the cultural community. For the last six years, Michael has hosted cultural events in spaces associated with his real estate practice, including art exhibitions, fashion shows, dance performances and film screenings, primarily in properties he was offering for sale, as well as the historic mansion that is now home to the offices of CITYSPACE. He has raised awareness and funds for organizations such as The Print Center, PSPCA, Olive Prince Dance, and numerous fashion designers and artists. After being introduced to the idea of a rail park in Philadelphia at a DesignPhiladelphia event in 2011, Michael began hosting events and fundraisers promoting the Rail Park. In April of 2013, Michael was invited to be part of the rail park's Phase One Leadership Team with whom he worked to organize the Rally for the Rail Park; hosted the DesignPhiladelphia Closing Party: A Fundraiser for the Rail Park; and was chair of the host committee for a memorable fundraiser at Union Transfer last December. In early 2014, he joined Friends of the Rail Park's newly formed Fundraising Advisory Committee and, most recently, served as a co-chair of the host committee which organized a benefit for Friends of the Rail Park on October 9th. Michael’s office is near Rittenhouse Square, and he currently lives in Northern Liberties.
We are grateful for Michael's past contributions and look forward to continuing to work with him in the years to come.