SIGN UP for the Upcoming Cleanup of the Delaware River bank at Pier 68 (the fishing pier behind Walmart).
Riverfront land near Penn Treaty Park to be auctioned
A 1.5-acre property on the Delaware River waterfront just southwest of Penn Treaty Park is to be auctioned for at least $3.6 million, according to Harleysville-based auctioneer Tranzon Alderfer, which is handling the sale.
Bids on the property at 1143 N. Delaware Ave., which is zoned for community-serving mixed-use development, are due on May 11, Tranzon Alderfer president Sandy Alderfer said Friday.
The land is being sold by banking giant BB&T Corp., which inherited the property through its just-completed acquisition of Allentown-based National Penn Bank, Alderfer said.
Planners of a riverfront biking and walking path previously secured an easement through the property to accommodate the project.
K&T Trail segment in Lardner’s Point Park, Tacony.
City Council adopted two bills authorizing the city to acquire property for recreational trails along the Delaware River waterfront.
One bill would allow the city to condemn a portion of industrial waterfront property between Penn Treaty Park and Sugarhouse Casino, which is not currently in use. The Planning Commission approved the acquisition at its meeting last month. Commission Chairman Alan Greenberger said that the City had tried negotiating with the owner to get an easement on the property, but those negotiations haven’t gone anywhere.
The bill, introduced by Councilman Mark Squilla, is the only instance in recent memory of the city resorting to eminent domain to develop the Delaware River Trail. So far, the Delaware River Waterfront Corporation has worked with property owners on the Central Delaware to get use of the various bulkheads and banks that the city is hoping to connect to each other and the East Coast Greenway, the whole length of the eastern United States. DRWC has so far been successful at piecing the trail together on a voluntary basis. Greenberger said that condemnation is the last resort for the small segment of waterfront between Penn Treaty Park and Sugarhouse. The public has already secured trail access for one of two properties between the park and the casino. The acquisition would complete the connection of that segment of the trail.
The other bill, introduced by Councilman Bobby Henon, allows the city to acquire either by purchase or condemnation land along a former Kensington & Tacony Railroad right-of-way. The city and the Delaware River City Corporation have been working to establish the K&T Trail for years. At a Planning Commission meeting on Tuesday, Alan Greenberger said the city is still negotiating for a purchase or lease of the property in question and doesn’t expect to use eminent domain.
The Waterfront + Southern Delaware Trail
|Following the recommendations of the Master Plan for the Central Delaware, the Delaware River Waterfront Corporation is focused on systematically building public realm improvements and encouraging private development on the waterfront. The Delaware River Waterfront Corporation recently acquired land in South Philadelphia and is building new parks and a trail system in the area. Read more on DRWC’s website: One step closer to a brand new bike trail.|
Please join us for the second annual Central Delaware Advocacy Group Award Ceremony
at the Independence Seaport Museum on October 8, 5:30 – 7:30 p.m.
We invite you to enjoy drinks and butlered hors d’ouevres
while we honor two distinguished Philadelphians.
Harris M. Steinberg
For the award-winning Civic Vision for the Central Delaware and the public planning process that engaged more than 4000 Philadelphians over 200 meetings.
Mark Squilla, First District Councilman
For his tireless work in crafting legislation designed to shape future development along the Central Delaware according to the City’s long-range plan for the waterfront.
We look forward to seeing you on October 8th!
Tickets ($55/person) available at:
Free onsite parking is available
Rendering of PMC’s One Water Street apartment building.
PMC Property Group plans to add ground-floor retail to its One Water Street residential project near the Benjamin Franklin Bridge amid increasing pedestrian traffic along the Delaware River waterfront, the company said.
“The sense is that there is considerable activity there, and we are going to try to accommodate some retail,” PMC executive vice president Jonathan Stavin said in an interview.
The 250-unit project – consisting of separate 13- and 16-story sections – is being constructed at 230 N. Columbus Blvd., near the recently landscaped Race Street Pier and the historic building that now houses the FringeArts theater and restaurant complex.
One Water Street also is close to the Race Street Connector, an underpass beneath I-95 that is in line for $1.3 million in new lighting, walkways, and other upgrades starting next year.
Toll Brothers quarterly home orders rise 12 pct
The connector links the waterfront to Old City, which has been seeing a spate of new development proposals, including a 10-story apartment building planned by PMC beside a historic cobblestone lane known as Little Boys Court.
The Philadelphia Historical Commission’s architecture committee voted Tuesday to endorse that development at 218 Arch St., setting the project up for consideration by the full commission at a later meeting.
PMC, among Center City’s biggest residential landlords, began work on the $50 million One Water Street project in November 2014 and plans to have it completed in April 2016.
New renderings of the project released this week showed an updated color scheme, with its metal facade set into a grid of silver and bronze panels with randomly placed rust-colored highlights.
The complex’s lowest stories, originally designed just for parking, are already under construction, so PMC needs to figure out how to reconfigure the space to allow for retail, Stavin said.
“It’s one of the things people have criticized, that there is no retail,” he said. “So we are looking at the first floor again.”
Just in time for summer, the Delaware River Waterfront Corporation is starting, re-starting, or advancing a handful of construction, infrastructure and transportation projects to help connect Penn’s Landing to the rest of Philadelphia: Spruce and Callowhill will soon be two-way streets near the river, the Race Street Connector’s north side will get an uplift to match the south, and work on converting Pier 68 into a park could wrap up by Labor Day.
Complementing improved access to the Philadelphia waterfront will be better access to the Camden waterfront: the RiverLink Ferry will begin operating again soon. The DRWC recently finalized the legal details for assuming ferry operations from the Delaware River Port Authority. The RiverLink will start limited operations in mid-May during major concerts at the Susquehanna Bank Center in Camden and will begin a regular schedule over Memorial Day weekend, DRWC’s Vice President of Operations and Development, Joe Forkin, said in an interview with PlanPhilly.
Forkin also said that the DRWC will be looking to incorporate its small fleet of water taxis into the RiverLink ferry system. Back in 2003, the DRWC purchased three water taxis, which have gone unused since. Ten years later, the DRWC said it was planning to use the 22-passenger boats to run between four stops: the marina at the Penn’s Landing Basin, near the RiverLink dock at Walnut Street, next to Dave & Buster’s at Pier 19 and Festival Pier. However, Forkin said that the DRWC was taking a fresh look at the service, so plans may change. It wouldn’t be the first time, after all – the taxis have been “planned” to being operations “next summer” a handful of times already, but funding issues and more important priorities (the Spruce Street Harbor Park didn’t build itself, y’know) have delayed the launch.
CONSTRUCTION JUNCTION WHAT’S YOUR FUNCTION? BETTER ACCESS TO THE WATERFRONT
Pending PennDOT approval, DRWC will take its first step next month in a project to remove the underused “scissor ramps” that currently connect Chestnut and Market Streets to Columbus Boulevard. DRWC will make the eastern-most sections of Spruce Street and Callowhill Street two-way, allowing for more direct access to Columbus. “The improvements are impactful but fairly simple,” said Forkin.
To be clear: the Chestnut and Market Street bridges over I-95 and Columbus won’t be going anywhere, and the elevated loop used primarily by SEPTA as a bus turn-around will also remain. The project is one of the first steps in the Penn’s Landing Feasibility Study, which hopes to see a park capping I-95 and Columbus from Chestnut to Walnut.
The DRWC will start by converting Spruce into a two-way street from Columbus to 38th Parallel Place, which sits between 2nd Street and Front Street along the Korean War Memorial. Forkin said he hopes to finish work on Spruce Street by Memorial Day.
Once Spruce Street is finished, the DRWC will begin work on making Callowhill two way between Columbus and Second Street. If all goes according to plan, construction at Callowhill should finish by the end of the summer.
All told, the $1.4 million project will bring new turn lanes to Columbus, new traffic signal masts, and recalibrated traffic signals.
DRWC sees this as a prerequisite to removing the “scissor ramps” that currently allows northbound traffic to travel from Columbus onto Market, and to get from Chestnut on to Columbus. Assuming there are no major traffic issues, the ramps would be removed to make way for new development opportunities.
SLOW AND NOT-SO-STEADY WINS THE RACE?
It looks like the third time will be the charm for finishing the Race Street Connector, a streetscape, lighting and accessibility project along Race Street under I-95. The south side of the Race Street Connector was completed in 2011, but funding for completing work on the north side fell through, twice. But on Thursday, the Delaware Valley Regional Planning Commission authorized $1.3 million in state funds to finally finish the project. Construction is expected to begin late summer or early fall. The project will widen the sidewalk for pedestrians and bicyclists, mount new lights and signs, add new planters and install metal fencing and bollards to match the south side.
PEERING INTO THE FUTURE OF PIER 68
Construction on turning Pier 68 into a $1.7 million park with a hammock grove, sloping lawn, picnic area and fishing area should wrap up late this summer. Pier 68 sits behind Pier 70 shopping center parking lot, next to the Walmart. Pier 68 will be the second anchor park for the DRWC’s plans to create a contiguous wetlands park along the water’s edge. Pier 53, which was turned into the Washington Avenue Green last August, was the first anchor.