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Big changes are coming to the Delaware River waterfront.
Courtesy of Sean Pavone/Shutterstock.com

Mapping the Delaware River Waterfront’s building boom

Big changes are coming to the waterfront

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Big changes are coming to the Delaware River waterfront.
| Photo by Courtesy of Sean Pavone/Shutterstock.com

Big changes are coming to the Delaware River Waterfront. Everything from an 11-acre park at Penn’s Landing to a bike trail in Port Richmond have been proposed up and down the river in recent years. Since we last published this map in January 2018, many of the original projects have moved forward.

Here are 17 projects that are 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.

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1. Port of Philadelphia

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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 this 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

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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—almost all of the land between Washington Avenue and Reed Street—and will bring over 2,000 residential units, a hotel, ground-level retail, and open public space (including a walking trail).

The developers have applied for $44 million total in RACP state grants for the project. During their planning process, they’ve run into some issues over the proposed height of the buildings, which are higher than zoning in the area currently allows, but city councilman Mark Squilla has proposed a bill that would change the area’s zoning (allowing for the higher structures). Most recently, the heads of the project met with community members of the Pennsport Civic Association. .

Rendering by Barton Partners

3. Waterfront Boulevard

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1499 S Christopher Columbus Blvd
Philadelphia, PA 19148

After purchasing eight acres of land from developer Bart Blatstein, US Construction has a proposal to bring a 214-townhouse development called Waterfront Boulevard to the waterfront. The design proposal went through the Civic Design Review process this spring, with plans that call for 45 of the total homes on Pier 60, along with a “waterfront plaza” that will connect to a waterfront trail according to WHYY.

Rendering by Atrium Design Group

4. 735 S Christopher Columbus Blvd

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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 earlier this year.

Rendering by Beauty and The Bit for Digsau

5. Independence Seaport Museum

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211 S Christopher Columbus Blvd
Philadelphia, PA 19106

The Independence Seaport Museum is situated right next to the future 11-acre park that will cap over Penn’s Landing and I-95 (#7). With its prime spot on the waterfront, the museum is looking to take advantage of what’s happening around it and undergo its own makeover, its first since moving into its current spot in the 1990s. Expect much more glass, for one: CEO John Brady says the building’s redesign will “make it more friendly and allow people to see in and out—we obviously have fantastic views of both the river and the park, and we would really like to make changes to the building that play to that.”

Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

6. Camden Waterfront

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Across the Delaware River in New Jersey, Camden’s waterfront is also undergoing a transformation, led by developer Liberty Property Trust and architect Robert A.M. Stern. 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 has already begun on the American Water Works headquarters, and an 18-story office tower is in the works next door.

The group recently ran into a snag in their plans, when they had to cut down the value of the project by $26 million, saying there just wasn’t as much demand for the office space as they initially thought there would be, according to Philly.com.

Renderings courtesy of Conner Strong & Buckelew, NFI, and TMO

7. Penn's Landing

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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. Then, a pair of highway ramps by Penn’s Landing were dismantled. 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.

Renderings by Hargreaves Associates

8. Cherry Street Pier

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121 N Christopher Columbus Blvd
Philadelphia, PA 19106
(215) 629-3200
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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.

It’s opening up in mid-October with a multi-day festival.

Renderings by Groundswell

9. Philadelphia Piers

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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.

Google Earth

10. Festival Pier

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121 N Christopher Columbus Blvd
Philadelphia, PA 19106

Also part of the Master Plan for Central Delaware is the redesign of Festival Pier at Spring Garden Street. In 2015, The Delaware Waterfront Corporation picked Jefferson Apartment Group and Haverford Properties to develop the 11-acre site to include 550 residential units and 30,000 square feet of retail. Architecture firm Cecil Baker + Partners and landscape architecture firm Olin are leading the design of the $8 million project.

Rendering courtesy of DRWC

11. 709 N Penn Street

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709 N Penn St
Philadelphia, PA 19106

Just this month, 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.

Rendering by Cecil Baker + Partners

12. Views at Penn Treaty

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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 (#11), this project came with permits and plans, and work has already begun on the 19 four-story townhouses with two-car garages, elevators, and roof decks. Multiple townhomes have already sold.

This 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.

Rendering by Abitare Design Studio

13. PECO Delaware Station

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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 earlier this 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.

Courtesy of Flickr user Eli Pousson

14. Petty’s Island

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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. It will still be a few years until the island reopens to the public.

Photo by Melissa Romero

15. Bridesburg Park

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4625 Richmond St
Philadelphia, PA 19137

Plans to build an 8.2-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, with plans for a great lawn, a stage, an upper and lower meadow, a rain garden, a boardwalk, an event plaza, picnic pavilions, and a river overlook area. It is current in the middle of its final design phase. An estimated $5 and $7 million is needed for the project, and construction is estimated to take 1 to 2 years.

via Google Earth Pro

16. MaST II Community Charter School-Tacony Campus

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6501 New State Rd
Philadelphia, PA 19135

Tacony is set to bring 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. The school should be fully operational by 2023.

Rendering by Ewing Cole

17. Greenway Plan

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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 earlier this year.

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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 this 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.

3501 S Christopher Columbus Blvd
Philadelphia, PA 19148

2. Liberty on the River

1375 S Christopher Columbus Blvd, Philadelphia, PA 19147
Rendering by Barton Partners

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—almost all of the land between Washington Avenue and Reed Street—and will bring over 2,000 residential units, a hotel, ground-level retail, and open public space (including a walking trail).

The developers have applied for $44 million total in RACP state grants for the project. During their planning process, they’ve run into some issues over the proposed height of the buildings, which are higher than zoning in the area currently allows, but city councilman Mark Squilla has proposed a bill that would change the area’s zoning (allowing for the higher structures). Most recently, the heads of the project met with community members of the Pennsport Civic Association. .

1375 S Christopher Columbus Blvd
Philadelphia, PA 19147

3. Waterfront Boulevard

1499 S Christopher Columbus Blvd, Philadelphia, PA 19148
Rendering by Atrium Design Group

After purchasing eight acres of land from developer Bart Blatstein, US Construction has a proposal to bring a 214-townhouse development called Waterfront Boulevard to the waterfront. The design proposal went through the Civic Design Review process this spring, with plans that call for 45 of the total homes on Pier 60, along with a “waterfront plaza” that will connect to a waterfront trail according to WHYY.

1499 S Christopher Columbus Blvd
Philadelphia, PA 19148

4. 735 S Christopher Columbus Blvd

735 S Christopher Columbus Blvd, Philadelphia, PA 19148
Rendering by Beauty and The Bit for Digsau

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 earlier this year.

735 S Christopher Columbus Blvd
Philadelphia, PA 19148

5. Independence Seaport Museum

211 S Christopher Columbus Blvd, Philadelphia, PA 19106
Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

The Independence Seaport Museum is situated right next to the future 11-acre park that will cap over Penn’s Landing and I-95 (#7). With its prime spot on the waterfront, the museum is looking to take advantage of what’s happening around it and undergo its own makeover, its first since moving into its current spot in the 1990s. Expect much more glass, for one: CEO John Brady says the building’s redesign will “make it more friendly and allow people to see in and out—we obviously have fantastic views of both the river and the park, and we would really like to make changes to the building that play to that.”

211 S Christopher Columbus Blvd
Philadelphia, PA 19106

6. Camden Waterfront

Camden, NJ 08103
Renderings courtesy of Conner Strong & Buckelew, NFI, and TMO

Across the Delaware River in New Jersey, Camden’s waterfront is also undergoing a transformation, led by developer Liberty Property Trust and architect Robert A.M. Stern. 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 has already begun on the American Water Works headquarters, and an 18-story office tower is in the works next door.

The group recently ran into a snag in their plans, when they had to cut down the value of the project by $26 million, saying there just wasn’t as much demand for the office space as they initially thought there would be, according to Philly.com.

7. Penn's Landing

Penn's Landing, Philadelphia, PA
Renderings by Hargreaves Associates

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. Then, a pair of highway ramps by Penn’s Landing were dismantled. 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.

Penn's Landing
Philadelphia, PA

8. Cherry Street Pier

121 N Christopher Columbus Blvd, Philadelphia, PA 19106
Renderings by Groundswell

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.

It’s opening up in mid-October with a multi-day festival.

121 N Christopher Columbus Blvd
Philadelphia, PA 19106

9. Philadelphia Piers

221 N Christopher Columbus Blvd, Philadelphia, PA 19106
Google Earth

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.

221 N Christopher Columbus Blvd
Philadelphia, PA 19106

10. Festival Pier

121 N Christopher Columbus Blvd, Philadelphia, PA 19106
Rendering courtesy of DRWC

Also part of the Master Plan for Central Delaware is the redesign of Festival Pier at Spring Garden Street. In 2015, The Delaware Waterfront Corporation picked Jefferson Apartment Group and Haverford Properties to develop the 11-acre site to include 550 residential units and 30,000 square feet of retail. Architecture firm Cecil Baker + Partners and landscape architecture firm Olin are leading the design of the $8 million project.

121 N Christopher Columbus Blvd
Philadelphia, PA 19106

11. 709 N Penn Street

709 N Penn St, Philadelphia, PA 19106
Rendering by Cecil Baker + Partners

Just this month, 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.

709 N Penn St
Philadelphia, PA 19106

12. Views at Penn Treaty

1143 N Delaware Ave, Philadelphia, PA 19125
Rendering by Abitare Design Studio

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 (#11), this project came with permits and plans, and work has already begun on the 19 four-story townhouses with two-car garages, elevators, and roof decks. Multiple townhomes have already sold.

This 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.

1143 N Delaware Ave
Philadelphia, PA 19125

13. PECO Delaware Station

1325 Beach St, Philadelphia, PA 19125
Courtesy of Flickr user Eli Pousson

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 earlier this 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.

1325 Beach St
Philadelphia, PA 19125

14. Petty’s Island

Petty Island, Pennsauken Township, NJ
Photo by Melissa Romero

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. It will still be a few years until the island reopens to the public.

Petty Island
Pennsauken Township, NJ

15. Bridesburg Park

4625 Richmond St, Philadelphia, PA 19137
via Google Earth Pro

Plans to build an 8.2-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, with plans for a great lawn, a stage, an upper and lower meadow, a rain garden, a boardwalk, an event plaza, picnic pavilions, and a river overlook area. It is current in the middle of its final design phase. An estimated $5 and $7 million is needed for the project, and construction is estimated to take 1 to 2 years.

4625 Richmond St
Philadelphia, PA 19137

Related Maps

16. MaST II Community Charter School-Tacony Campus

6501 New State Rd, Philadelphia, PA 19135
Rendering by Ewing Cole

Tacony is set to bring 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. The school should be fully operational by 2023.

6501 New State Rd
Philadelphia, PA 19135

17. 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 earlier this year.

5001 Grant Ave
Philadelphia, PA 19114

Related Maps