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  • Our Shared Waters

Mapping the Delaware River Waterfront’s building boom

This article was originally published on the Curbed Philly. Check out the original article for an interactive map.

Big changes are coming to the waterfront.

Big changes are coming to the Delaware River Waterfront. Everything from an 11-acre park at Penn’s Landing to six-building mixed-use complex have been proposed up and down the river in recent years. Since we last published this map in September 2018, many of the original projects have moved forward, others have been tossed aside, and most of them have changed in some way.

Here are 15 projects in the pipeline. While many of them are still in the early planning stages, it’s astonishing to imagine what the waterfront could look like down the road if or when all of the projects come to fruition.

The following projects are listed geographically, from south to north. Know of another project that’s not on this list? Hit the tipline.

1. Port of Philadelphia

3501 S Christopher Columbus Blvd Philadelphia, PA 19148

Big changes are coming to the Port of Philadelphia, after receiving $300 million in cash from the Governor Tom Wolf administration in November 2016. That money will go toward improving the port’s infrastructure, warehousing, and equipment, through 2020, and it’s already been put to use. They celebrated their most recent milestone last summer with the arrival of two new cranes

Some of the major changes include deepening the Delaware River’s main navigation channel to allow more ships to pass through and creating another 155 acres of lots to store more auto imports. 

2. Liberty on the River

1375 S Christopher Columbus Blvd Philadelphia, PA 19147

This major multi-phase project has been in the works for some time by developer K4 LLC and architect Barton Partners. It covers 18 acres and brings six buildings with senior living, multi-family living, retail, and open public space. 

The developers have applied for $44 million total in RACP state grants for the project.

Most recently, the heads of the project went in front of the CDR for feedback on the first building, which includes three towers of residential space, along with retail.

3. Waterfront Boulevard

1499 S Christopher Columbus Blvd Philadelphia, PA 19148

After purchasing eight acres of land from developer Bart Blatstein, US Construction originally proposed a 214-townhouse development called Waterfront Boulevard at Dickinson and the Delaware Waterfront.

But they’ve substantially changed their project since then.

In March, the group came back in front of the CDR with a new plan for 92 townhomes on the north end of the property and a mixed-use development with retail and multi-family living on the south end.

4. 735 S Christopher Columbus Blvd

735 S Christopher Columbus Blvd Philadelphia, PA 19148

Developer Ensemble Investments has plans to build a 22-story tower at 735 S. Columbus Boulevard, next to the Residences at Dockside. Along with 308 apartments, the project would include a market-restaurant, a new public park along the waterfront, and a river deck and beer garden on Pier 35. The project, designed by Digsau, is still in the beginning stages, and has been praised by the Inquirer’s architecture critic Inga Saffron, who called it an example of ‘progressive thinking’ in a column last year.

5. Camden Waterfront

Across the Delaware River in New Jersey, Camden’s waterfront is also undergoing a transformation that—up until recently—was led by developer Liberty Property Trust. The $800 million master plan will bring 1.7 million square feet of commercial retail space, 211 residential units, a 180-room hotel, and 4,000 parking spaces to 26 acres of land along the river. Construction wrapped up last year on the American Water Works headquarters, and an 18-story office tower is planning an official opening by the end of of the summer or the fall, though much of the construction is complete. Work also just started on the hotel, wrote this week.

6. Penn's Landing

Penn's Landing Philadelphia, PA

A vision to bring 11 acres of public green space to Penn’s Landing became a reality last year after Mayor Jim Kenney, the William Penn Foundation, PennDOT, and the state announced that they would help fund the $225 million project. The project will bridge the divide between Center City and the river by capping I-95 between Walnut and Chestnut Streets. It will also include 1,500 new housing units, 500 hotel rooms, and more than 100,000-square-feet of retail, restaurants, and entertainment. 

Most recently, the Delaware River Waterfront Corporation received a $4 million grant, which will—at least partly—go toward a city-wide engagement project to get Philadelphians’ input on the public space.

Construction could begin on the park in 2021, and would continue for three years, according to Philly Business Journal.

7. Cherry Street Pier

121 N Christopher Columbus Blvd Philadelphia, PA 19106

This is one project we can definitively cross off this list. Cherry Street Pier, the long-abandoned pier underwent a massive $4 million makeover, transforming it into a creative community space with a garden, food vendors, a market, and shipping container workspaces for 14 local artists.

8. Philadelphia Piers

221 N Christopher Columbus Blvd Philadelphia, PA 19106

In March 2017, the New York-based Durst Organization bought the Philadelphia Piers for $21.4 million from Brandywine Realty Trust. The 4.3-acre property is a collection of four piers (12, 13-15, 19 and 24) just north of the Benjamin Franklin Bridge. While there are no definite plans yet, the developer did say that it is considering an apartment complex down the road.

9. 709 N Penn Street

709 N Penn St Philadelphia, PA 19106

Just last fall, the 2.13-acre parcel on the Delaware River at 709-717 North Penn Street was bought by Philly developer Carlos Herrera, after years of being on the market. Along with the property, Herrera bought the plans and permits for a 41-townhouse development called Pier 35 1/2. 

The land has changed hands a lot in the past few decades. It was first owned by Donald Trump, who proposed building a Trump Tower on the space in 2004. Then it was sold to Shovels Ready Projects, who worked with architecture firm Cecil Baker + Partners on the townhouse development plan. They finally listed both the property and plans for $12.3 million last year.

10. Views at Penn Treaty

1143 N Delaware Ave Philadelphia, PA 19125

After listing for $6.5 million, NY-based developer Gotham Bedrock LLC bought this 1.5-acre property next to Penn Treaty Park for $7 million. Like with Pier 35 1/2, this project came with permits and plans for 19 four-story townhouses with two-car garages, elevators, and roof decks. Multiple townhomes have already sold.

Last spring, developers announced plans to wrap up construction at the end of the summer, with a total completion date planned before the end of the year.

11. PECO Delaware Station

1325 Beach St Philadelphia, PA 19125

Just north of Penn Treaty Park is the historic Delaware Station of the Philadelphia Electric Company (PECO). Developers Joe Volpe and Bart Blatstein have long had plans to redevelop the massive 223,000-square-foot concrete behemoth into an events space with a banquet hall, restaurants, guest rooms, and parking. The latest news on the space came last summer, when Volpe asked the Fishtown Neighborhood Association for support in a bill rezoning the lot to allow alcohol and food sales, Inga Saffron wrote.

12. Petty’s Island

Petty Island Pennsauken Township, NJ

After serving as an industrial site for some 100 years, Petty’s Island, situated between Camden and Philadelphia on the Delaware River, is on track to become an urban nature preserve, once CITGO officially hands the 500 acres over to the New Jersey Natural Lands Trust. Work is still being done to. clear the footprint left by CITGO, but that should be complete around 2021, according to

13. Bridesburg Park

4625 Richmond St Philadelphia, PA 19137

Plans to build an 10-acre park in Bridesburg are in the works, spearheaded by the Philadelphia Parks and Recreation Department and the Delaware River City Corporation. Renderings were revealed in December 2015. Officials are in the final design stage for the park, which includes terraced seating, event space, and play areas, and parking, all connected to an 11-mile stretch of bike trails that runs along the Delaware River.

Most recently, it was announced that the park got $2 million in grant funding from the William Penn Foundation. Once they receive more funding, they can begin construction, which—if everything goes according to plan—will wrap up in 2021.

14. MaST II Community Charter School-Tacony Campus

6501 New State Rd Philadelphia, PA 19135

Tacony is bringing a MaST II Community Charter School to the edge of its neighborhood on the Delaware River. Design plans cleared the Civic Design Review process in March 2016, revealing two school buildings connected by an elevated bridge, as well as softball and baseball fields. The project will be built in phases and just broke ground in late 2017.

In a November article, wrote that students would begin moving into the building this year.

15. Greenway Plan

5001 Grant Ave Philadelphia, PA 19114

The Greenway Plan for the North Delaware stretches from Pulaski Park in Port Richmond to Glen Foerd in Torresdale. The ongoing project calls to transform 11 miles of mostly industrial land into connecting trails and waterfront park space as part of the larger Circuit Trail and East Coast Greenway, a 3,000-mile multi-use trail that runs from Maine to Florida.

The city announced the completion of the first, 1.2-mile phase of the Frankford Creek Greenway last year.


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