Top left, bottom right: Pop-Up Pool Project; center: Wikimedia Commons; top right: Neighborhood Conservation Kit; bottom left: Next Stop: Democracy! The Voting Signage Project
Along with the boom in office and residential construction, Philadelphia has had civic-minded projects blossoming here and there. Just off the top of our head, there’s the Urban Arboreta, the Pop-Up Pool Project, South Philly’s Stoop project, Rail Park, and many more.
But what else do these projects have in common besides bringing neighborhoods together and promoting better quality of live within those communities? Each has received funding from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation by having been, with the exception of the Rail Park, recipients of the Knight Cities Challenge. (See past winners here.)
Established in the last few years, the Challenge is a competition seeking to find the biggest ideas that will help Knight Communities (yes, Philadelphia is one of them) attract and keep talent, expand economic opportunity, and create a vibrant culture of civic engagement within said area. Its goal, essentially, is to see a city succeed by giving a boost to those projects and ideas looking to find innovative ways of making the aforementioned traits happen in a given community. Now, the Challenge is back in town.
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The Manayunk Bridge will soon connect both sides of the Schuylkill River | Photo: Liz Spikol
The connection of Schuylkill River Trail and Cynwyd Hertiage Trail will soon be complete, as the Bicycle Coalition of Greater Philadelphia announced that the $4.12 million Manayunk Bridge Trail project will be unveiled at a ribbon cutting scheduled for 11 a.m. on October 30.
So runners, bikers and photographers, you better have your gear ready, because this one looks like it’s going to be a go-to spot for all of your routines.
The ambitious project will transform the iconic Manayunk Bridge, which owner SEPTA closed in 1986 due low ridership of the Ivy Ridge regional rail line, into what amounts to a Northwest Philly Highline-esque park, featuring dedicated running and biking lanes and a central walking/leisure area. Of course, all of these zones will get to experience sweeping views of the Schuylkill River.
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Images courtesy of the Delaware River Waterfront Corporation
It’s official: Pier 68 is now open!
In a ribbon-cutting ceremony that took place Wednesday, October 1st, Mayor Michael Nutter cut the symbolic cord of a newly transformed pier that had at one time functioned as the site of raw sugar warehouse. According to a press release from the Delaware River Waterfront Corporation, the public Pier 68 park allows fishing – with a proper state fishing license, of course – and features an aquatic cut in the pier that gives you a cool view of the water and plant life living underneath.
Situated at the end of Pier 70 Blvd (the exact address is 1751 S. Columbus Blvd.), the Pier 68 park includes a tree canopy, angled lawn, solar light poles, and wave-shaped benches whose design was inspired by the mustaches worn by Philadelphia sailors from the 19th century. Salvaged granite benches from Penn’s Landing are also here and come capped with cumaru slat seats that have specially bored holes to be used as fishing pole anchors.
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The construction site at One Riverside | Photo: James Jennings
Here’s a brief update on the One Riverside project. Hot off the heels of the kid-oriented (and immensely successful) construction site festival, Dranoff Properties has told us that the large concrete pour will take place in the wee hours, starting at midnight on October 9th and stretching into the day of October 10th.
It’s probably better described as an event, as the pour will mark the beginnings of the new foundation for the luxury condo building. That means it can’t be interrupted in the least.
“It will involve approximately 300 concrete trucks as the tower mat foundation is 4’-6” thick and the building core is 10’-6” thick,” said Marianne Harris of Dranoff Properties, in an email. “It should be completed by mid-day on Saturday.”
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Renderings via Southern Land Company
It seems like not a week goes by that we’re not talking about another major development happening on Market Street at the University City Science Center.
3601 Market, a 363-unit apartment building developed by Southern Land Company, will officially open its doors to residents on September 30.
We got a closer look at the the 28-story building during the announcement for uCity Square, a new tech-centric neighborhood adjacent to 3601 Market, and it looked like some early residents had already gotten comfortable inside the high-end high-rise. The developer broke ground on the project in February 2014, and Southern’s CEO Tim Downey said at the time, “the building will be a modern jewel for West Philadelphia.”
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Waterfront View of the Camden Waterfront – copyright Volley for Robert A.M. Stern Architects
You know what’s cool? A billion dollars.
The famous line from The Social Network seems apropos today, as the City of Camden has officially announced an ambitious plan to completely transform 16-acres of prime waterfront land between the Ben Franklin Bridge and the Adventure Aquarium.
Liberty Property Trust, the mega-developers behind the Navy Yard and Center City’s Comcast towers, will spearhead the $1 billion proposed development, the largest ever private sector investment in the city’s history.
If realized, the project will (largely) swap what seems like miles of surface parking lots for a live/work/play mix of glitzy office towers and low-rises, a residential component, lively restaurants and retail and even a hotel.
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You could probably get used to this penthouse view atop Two Liberty Place | Photos: James Jennings
You know, it’s interesting. With all of the attention being paid to the new condo towers going up around the city, specifically 500 Walnut and One Riverside, it’s kind of incredible that more attention hasn’t been paid to the one that’s right in front of us. As in, the one taking place in the existing gem that is Two Liberty Place, one of Philadelphia’s skyline defining buildings.
In fact, more attention has been paid to the upcoming observation deck at its sister tower, the spire-topped One Liberty place, than this impressive project that will transform a former office space into luxury condos with observation deck-like views from floors 48 through 57.
But the project is more than just about the breathtaking views of the city. “We’ve always been known for great views here,” said Cynthia Tucker, senior vice president with iStar Residential, the development arm of iStar Financial, the project’s owner. “That’s a story everyone knows – the view – but we wanted to redevelop the property to where it wasn’t just about the views. The layout and the finishes are really high end … we wanted to make sure the living spaces were comfortable, peaceful and sort of zen-like.”
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Rendering courtesy of Studio Bryan Hanes
DesignPhiladelphia, the city’s best known architecture and design festival extending for up to nine days, kicks off in about two weeks, but we’ll get to that in a minute. Instead, let’s bring your attention to one of the events included in the DesignPhilly itinerary: the Rail Park Tour.
According to DesignPhilly, these walking tours – scheduled for October 10, 11 and 14 – will be held at street level by Rail Park board members and will be designed to “deliver an understanding of possibilities of the entire proposed 3-mile linear park and recreation path.” What’s more, a Rail Park spokesperson tells us the tour will include access to the entrance of Phase One at 13th an Noble Streets. Ticketing and event info here.
Relatedly, the spokesperson said construction of Phase One, anticipated to take 12-18 months, is expected to begin in 2016. The Center City District will manage the Phase One project.
Construction has been humming along at Pier 68 to transform an all-but-abandoned pier that sits deep inside the parking lot at a bustling shopping center in Pennsport into a public park used for fishing, relaxing and enjoying the scenes around the mighty Delaware River.
The new Pier 68 will open to the public on October 1 at 2 p.m., when the Delaware River Waterfront Corporation (DRWC), along with Mayor Michael Nutter, will officially cut the ribbon on the long-planned park. It will be the southern trailhead of the Central Delaware trail, which spans from South Philly at Pier 70 (map) to Penn Treaty Park in Fishtown.
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The Pep Boys Site at 41st and Market, 2.0 University Place in background | Google Street View
Philadelphia’s new boom – in population, jobs, housing, restaurants, retailers, and office space – is well documented. But if you thought Center City was the only one of Philly’s hot areas leading the way, here’s a reminder: University City is putting in its fair share of work too.
It’s next development gearing up for a launch? 3.0 University Place, a proposed LEED Platinum-certified office complex planned for the corner of 41st and Market, formerly the site of a Pep Boys. According to PlanPhilly, a bill proposing to rezone the property for high-density commercial mixed-use designation was introduced to City Council last week. It’d also touch on surrounding sites:
The bill also rezones a number of blocks surrounding the 3.0 University Place site, affecting the area bounded by 40th, 44th, Ludlow, and Powelton Ave.
In fact, 3.0 University Place is part of a larger plan by University Place Associates (UPA) to build a “Platinum Corridor” in West Philadelphia. Read more »