The 30th Street Station area master plan laid out a fantastic vision of a second downtown for Philadelphia in University City. Only money stands in the way of realizing it, with the public sector as the weakest link. | Rendering by Skidmore, Owings & Merrill, courtesy Amtrak
The figure was tossed out rather casually in the course of yesterday’s formal unveiling of the two-years-in-the-making master development plan for the area surrounding 30th Street Station in University City, but it represents the largest single bet yet placed on the future of Philadelphia.
The parties involved — Amtrak, Brandywine Realty Trust, Drexel University, PennDOT, SEPTA, and a slew of elected officials and community groups — have put their chips down on a project that has many moving parts and will play out over the course of decades.
As we’ve seen plans almost as ambitious as this one go up in smoke (anyone here remember River City?), it’s only logical that we should ask what its chances for completion are. Herewith are my own odds for the plan’s key components and the overall chances that the plan will be fully realized sometime in our or our children’s lifetimes. Read more »
A renedering of what the area around 30th Street Station would look like when all the projects envisioned in the development plan are completed. | Renderings by Skidmore, Owings & Merrill, courtesy Amtrak
This morning, Amtrak, SEPTA and Drexel University officials unveiled plans for a massive transformation of the area around 30th Street Station.
The massive, multi-decade 30th Street Station District Plan would, when completed, turn the area around 30th Street Station into a second downtown for Philadelphia focused on the second-busiest station in the Amtrak system. That station, transformed into a multimodal transportation hub for the region, would serve as the linchpin of the planned development.
New office, retail and residential buildings containing 18 million square feet of total space and 40 acres of open space would be created under the plan, with most of the development privately financed. A total of $2 billion in public investment would leverage an additional $4.5 billion in private investment. These figures are on top of the $3.5 billion Drexel University and Brandywine Realty Trust have already pledged to see the Schuylkill Yards development, which Drexel President John Fry described as “a down payment” on the plan at this morning’s public unveiling, to completion. Read more »
The Porch 2.0 | Photo by HughE Dillon
One of the more contentious events of last spring was the debut of the Porch 2.0 at 30th Street Station without its lineup of rotating food trucks. The food trucks were a big part of making the University City District’s placemaking experiment a success in 2014. But last year the improvement district decided to give exclusive vending rights to Michael Schulson who set up a rotisserie food and beer truck at the space. But now, as Danya Heninger reports, the rotating cast of food trucks will return.
Look for a breakfast truck and two lunch trucks on weekdays with the possibility of a dinner truck as well. Look for more details to (ahem) roll out in the next few weeks.
As for how the food truck community views the return of food trucks to 30th Street and the Porch, vocal opponent of the 2015 plan, Spot Burger’s Josh Kim called it, a “big win for the little guys.”
Food trucks will return to 30th Street [Billy Penn]
The Porch at 30th Street Station [University City District]
A rendering of what the 30th Street Station area should look like by 2050 from the draft district plan
On the heels of Drexel University and Brandywine Realty Trust announcing their joint plan to redevelop the area just west of 30th Street Station comes a draft plan for the larger area surrounding the station.
The 30th Street Station District Plan is the product of a coalition that includes not only Drexel and Brandywine but also Amtrak, PennDOT and SEPTA. Like Schuylkill Yards, the larger plan envisions a totally new urban core district emerging around Amtrak’s third-busiest intercity railroad station over the next 35 years. Read more »
Amtrak is beefing up its service into Philadelphia for the pope’s visit, the agency said Friday, but there will also be temporary restrictions on travel, and the ripple effect is expected to be felt throughout the Northeast Corridor between New York and Washington D.C..
Also, they’re closing the bathrooms at 30th Street Station that weekend. (Don’t worry: There’ll be some portable facilities positioned outside.)
According to Amtrak: Read more »
Sandwich of the Month: JG Domestic BLT with 1732 Meats Jalapeno Bacon
JG Domestic is now pairing with Fair Food Philadelphia to celebrate local produce and purveyors in a new summer menu. The partnership aims to support local farmers and celebrate the region’s bounty of produce.
JG Domestic especially showcases the local farmers in its $12.50 Blue Plate Specials, which vary with the day of the week.
Blue Plate Specials and the rest of the menu »
30th Street Station. Photo | Jeff Fusco
After the planning process for the 175-acre area surrounding 30th Street Station officially kicked off in January, the Philadelphia 30th Street Station District Plan is starting to take shape.
A team lead by Amtrak, Brandywine Realty Trust, Drexel University, PennDOT and SEPTA (plus additional public stakeholders) will release three conceptual diagrams at an open house scheduled for tonight from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. at 30th Street Station.
Each one is an ambitious view into what one of the busiest transportation hubs in the nation could look like in the not-too-distant future. Amtrak gave PlanPhilly’s Jim Saksa a sneak preview of the trio of concepts, which call for capping parts of the railyards or the highway in some fashion.
Read more »
The Porch 2.0 | Photo by HughE Dillon
Michael Schulson’s food truck and booze wagon are now set up at the Porch next to 30th Street Station. Rotisserie at the Porch will serve lunch seven days a week. Wednesday through Saturday, a beverage trailer will offer beer and liquor from 4 p.m. until 9 p.m. On those days, the Rotisserie at the Porch will serve food till 9 p.m., Sunday through Thursday lunch will be served til 2 p.m.
The Porch 2.0 solidifies an experiment to breathe life into what was a parking lot next to 30th Street Station. The University City District teamed with Groundswell Design Group and Gehl Studio to enhance the space with new planters, seating and lighting. The UCD also partnered with Michael Schulson as the food purveyor.
Read more »
Rendering of the Porch 2.0
When the Porch opened at 30th Street Station in late 2011, it was designed to be a low-cost test run at place-making. Could some colorful chairs, planters, shade, and a rotating cast of food trucks convert what was a blah parking lot, into a gathering place where people would linger? Turns out that the answer was a resounding yes.
And now the Unviersity City District has announced plans for The Porch 2.0. With commitments from Groundswell Design Group (Spruce Street Harbor Park and Independence Beer Garden), Gehl Studio and a new food and beverages partnership with restaurateur Michael Schulson, the new Porch will make permanent the ideas tested over the previous couple of years.
Read more »
Photo by B. Krist for GPTMC
The revamped West Plaza at one of Philadelphia’s busiest–as a matter of fact, one of the country’s busiest–stations was only a taste of the larger transformation planned for 30th Street Station, as the Inquirer‘s Paul Nussbaum reminds us. Senator Bob Casey, Nussbaum reports, recently pointed to Union Station in Washington D.C. as an example of what 30th Street could be, calling on the upcoming papal visit and Philadelphia’s selection as the next city to hold the Democratic National Convention in 2016 to inspire “new urgency into planners’ visions for it and its University City environs.”
Read more »