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 press release June 14

In an evening meeting yesterday, the Delaware River Waterfront Corporation (DRWC) presented the final draft of the Master Plan for the Central Delaware:  Transforming Philadelphia’s Waterfront to members of the public and community and civic leaders. 

CLICK HERE to download an Executive Summary of the Plan

With opening remarks from Mayor Michael A. Nutter, presentations from board members                                                    Penn's Landing Site 
Marilyn Jordan Taylor, Dean of the University of Pennsylvania School of Design and chair of the DRWC Planning Committee and Alan Greenberger, Deputy Mayor of Planning and Economic Development and DRWC’s consultant team, the audience of over 500 received detailed proposals for strategic investment and phasing for future waterfront development. 

Mayor Nutter stated, “The Master Plan for the Central Delaware is a comprehensive roadmap for the city and developers as we begin the next generation of waterfront development. I would like to thank the DRWC and the greater Philadelphia community for their energetic commitment to a transparent, deliberate and engaging process. Redevelopment of the Delaware River waterfront is a fundamental component of city’s future. This plan charts the future of a more vibrant, green and integrated waterfront.”

The presentation of the plan was led by lead planning consultant Alex Cooper of Cooper Robertson & Partners, who provided an overview of the opportunities the plan provides over the next 30 years. He was followed by Cindy Sanders of The Olin Partnership and James Timberlake of KieranTimberlake, who presented the physical plan and focused on improving public spaces and catalyzing development of priority sites at Spring Garden Street, Penn’s Landing and Washington Avenue. The final section of the presentation was given by Candace Damonof HR&A Advisors, who explained the economic assumptions and investment strategy which make this plan implementable.

Marilyn Jordan Taylor, in describing the foundational principles which underpin the plan, said, “With its formula of parks every half mile, meaningful connections to neighborhoods and cutting edge urban design, this plan responds to the goals of the Civic Vision and makes them realizable.  It will be a waterfront with a myriad of opportunities for developers and entrepreneurs of all scales, which meets our obligation to make the Central Delaware a city and regional asset.”

The plan includes:

·         A network of civic and public spaces developed as distinctive public amenities supported by a public financing strategy focused on initial public investments in basic infrastructure (streets, utilities and public parks and trails) to serve as catalysts for high-quality private development on priority sites in supporting Philadelphia's transformation to a twenty-first century lifestyle city.

Spring Garden Site 

·         An increased program of free and sponsored events that bring people to the waterfront, enhancing the current program and expanding to additional locations on the waterfront.

·         Accommodations for diverse land uses along the waterfront, including the working port, hotels, commercial, retail and flex office/light industrial.  The plan envisions the development of primarily dense low to mid rise residential neighborhoods with service retail, cafes, bars and restaurants, entertainment venues, and other uses that support year-round activities.

·         New development which maintains a character consistent with current Philadelphia building vocabulary and quality of adjacent neighborhoods and also matches near-term market conditions.

·         A detailed strategy for wealth building to create opportunity for MBE, WBE, DSBE and individual investors

·         A multimodal transportation and transit plan that includes facilities for streetcar/transit, vehicles, bicycles, and pedestrians that shapes and serves walkable communities and links waterfront destinations to each other, connects waterfront residents to employment centers, provides at-grade service to Center City, and is an integral element of the regional transportation network.

·         A phasing strategy which concentrates initial public funding and therefore development on nodes of public land near transit and other assets in order to generate a critical mass of activity in key locations as well as to pace development so that it corresponds with projected absorption rates. Four specific nodes, called “Priority Sites” have been selected:

o        Washington Avenue

o        Penn’s Landing                                       
                                                                                                                                    Priority Sites                                            
o        Spring Garden/Festival Pier

o        Penn Treaty Park Area

A question and answer session from the audience followed the plan.  An Executive Summary of the Plan was released and the full draft plan will be posted online on the DRWC website by mid-July, beginning the final opportunity for the public and stakeholders to provide feedback within a 30 day period expected to end in late August.  After feedback is incorporated, the Master Plan for the Central Delaware will be finalized by DRWC and submitted to the Philadelphia City Planning Commission for consideration and adoption.

Of the upcoming process, Alan Greenberger, DRWC Board Member and Deputy Mayor for Planning and Economic Development, said, “The timing of this plan gives us an opportunity to coordinate with the recently unveiled Philadelphia2035, the city’s comprehensive plan, and the modernization of the zoning code currently being evaluated by City Council.  We are setting the table to make a series of strategic public infrastructure improvements that will encourage high quality development on the adjacent sites as the real-estate development market recovers; aligning the actions and interests of the public sector with those of private landowners and developers.”

At the conclusion of the presentation, DRWC President Thomas Corcoran detailed a series of short term initiatives that DRWC will implement in the first five years of the plan which included plans for new connector street projects, new parks, water taxis, traffic improvements and the continuation of the waterfront trail adding, “Much of the funding for these early action projects has already been secured.  Not only will these projects stimulate economic development within priority sites but will also serve to create momentum to propel this waterfront forward.”