Yesterday, Amtrak announced that they're looking for a master planner who can help them connect 30th Street Station to surrounding neighborhoods. Does this mean that they're one step closer to developing over the railyards?
Last June, Amtrak and Drexel teamed up to do a feasibility study on the possibility of developing a cap over the railyards, and building on it. Though Drexel's president suspected (at the time) that the study would prove development would be possible but prohibitively expensive, this most recent press release from Amtrak might be a sign that railyard development is inching closer to becoming a reality.
The press release isn't even a little coy: it specifically says that the master planning process will include "the potential development of air rights above the rail yards." Potential doesn't mean definite, but since Amtrak was in on Drexel's study, and Drexel will be included in Amtrak's planning process, the inclusion of solid language around railyard development seems to be a sign of some kind of progress.
Amtrak also says they're looking to connect 30th Street to surrounding neighborhoods, and it's easy to see why: the station's location between a river and a tangle of highways does isolate it pretty effectively. Perhaps the railyard cap (and the development on the railyard cap) will be just the draw that the 30th Street area needs.
· Would Anyone Live Over a Railyard? Drexel Wants to Find Out [Curbed Philly]
· Making Plans For 30th Street Station [The Inquirer]
· Drexel, Amtrak to study expanding university and other development over rail yard airspace [Plan Philly]