NP International's 'RiverWalk Philadelphia' project cleared its first big hurdle last week when the Philadelphia City Planning Commission (PCPC) approved the plans for this truly mega-development along the Schuylkill River. The plan, which still needs to be approved by council and go before the Civic Design Review committee, calls for three mixed-use towers of varying sizes chock full of 665 residential units, a hotel and stores to be built on a large vacant space between 23rd Street and the Schuylkill River in the east and west and JFK Boulevard and Race Street to the south and north, respectively. The approvals from the PCPC call for zoning relief in the form of new (taller) height allowances throughout the lot as well as a major upgrade in zoning classifications to make way for the retail component — which, at this point, includes a supermarket and a "promenade" on Arch Street. Could this thing actually be built? The scale and logistics of this project deems it worthy of the phrase "mega-development." First, it's dynamic — the lot is split by the SEPTA tracks that flow into 30th Street Station and sits on multiple street levels. NP is proposing a 42-story, 446 foot mixed-use tower in the lot between JFK Boulevard and the train tracks. What makes this even more stellar is the base of this tower hopes to house a hotel and retail, enlivening a drab section of Center City that connects to its main transit hub.
The other two towers are much shorter but look to fill in the empty parking lot between Arch and Race Streets and finally connect the neighborhood to the Schuylkill River. These will also be a mix of residential and retail but the killer aspect lies in the "Arch Street Promenade," a design element that extends Arch Street into the footprint of the complex for a shopping and residential district with public space. Townhomes would face the interior of the promenade and "mask" the large parking structure that looks to be housed on the Race Street side of the complex. As you can see from the rendering, it would also offer some amazing views of the Cira Center, which sits across the Schuylkill River to the west. Again, this project still has at least two giant hurdles to clear in the form of City Council and the Civic Design Review committee before we get our hopes up. But hey, it's certainly fun to dream, at least for now.
· Planning Commission OKs RiverWalk proposal on Schuylkill waterfront [Philly Living]
· River Walk Would be a Huge Improvement to Western End of JFK [Naked Philly]
· NP International [Official]