A longtime resident of Eastern Pennsylvania with decades of experience in land development, capital markets, and structured finance, Martin J. Stallone applies his extensive expertise through his role as Metropolitan Development Group’s executive vice president of development. Mr. Stallone oversees several key aspects of the company’s operations, including the management of corporate functions, finance, risk management, and cash-flow analytics.
- In your own words what do you do?
As executive vice president of development for Metropolitan Development Group, I’m responsible for managing our key corporate functions, all of which are absolutely critical in executing our preferred land development strategies. In addition to managing our corporate functions, I’m also responsible for overseeing other critical areas such as risk management, finance, and cash-flow analytics.
- What led you to your current business?
The development model we utilize at Metropolitan Development Group (MDG) was something I found intriguing and unique, and I recognized that my prior experience could be of significant benefit in achieving the ambitious development goals outlined by MDG.
- Could you walk us through your process of developing your business?
The key component of the developmental process was quite likely the decision to operate according to a specific development strategy primarily focused on the acquisition of raw land in conjunction with a versatile approach regarding the direction taken in each individual development project, which might involve commercial office buildings, single-family residences, industrial tracts, or multi-family market apartments.
- Did you encounter any particular difficulties in the beginning?
Arriving at the decision to focus solely on raw land acquisition was somewhat difficult, but MDG’s reliance on thoughtful, analytics-based decision making surely played a critical role in highlighting the rationale for targeting raw land while still incorporating a diverse approach featuring all kinds of residential, commercial, and industrial development projects.
- What is your long-term plan?
MDG’s current development focus is still very much centered in the Eastern Pennsylvania region, but our continued success has allowed us to seriously consider expanding to other areas of the state and beyond. Our current plan involves the possibility of widespread expansion, and we also intend to lead the way forward with regard to future sustainable development projects.
- Could you share with us some industry insights?
One of the most fascinating challenges facing our industry revolves around the increasing demand for sustainably designed development projects, with the most obvious challenges arising out of the fact that so much of the country’s infrastructure will eventually require retrofitting to ensure peak energy and cost efficiency is achieved. Working with raw land — which is essentially a blank canvas — is fairly straightforward; retrofitting, on the other hand, will require a tremendous amount of creativity and imagination to yield the desired results made possible through the use of sustainable design principles.
- What are some important lessons you’ve learnt about entrepreneurship?
Entrepreneurs tend to be perceived as one-of-kind “dreamers” who dare to “think big,” but imagination and creativity can only take an entrepreneur so far; every aspiring business owner has to possess a practical understanding of finance as well as risk assessment if he or she is to be truly successful while pursuing any entrepreneurial endeavor.