The Bourse Enters Its Fourth Phase

What the new Bourse food court should look like when finished. | Renderings: Eddie Kulczyki, Minds Eye Studios

In case you haven’t heard yet, the second-most-popular tourist attraction in Philadelphia after the Liberty Bell/Independence Hall duo is the Reading Terminal Market, our homegrown, fresh-and-local food emporium that’s been a favorite with locals since 1893.

MRP Realty executives must have had more than a few lunches in the RTM’s Center Court as they figured out what to do with their newest asset, the historic Philadelphia Bourse.

If they didn’t, they at least read up on what makes food markets such visitor magnets in cities like Seattle, Los Angeles and now even New York in addition to here, for they’re betting that a unique, (mostly) local food experience will bring visitors and residents alike to the Bourse’s former trading floor. They’re also betting that this amenity will make the office space above it that much more attractive.

And with this bet, MRP and its leasing partner Cana Development send the Bourse into the fourth phase of its existence, this one a slight but significant evolution from its third.

What are those four phases? Glad you asked. Read more »

The Big Reveal: First Designs of the Ridge Avenue Pocket Park

Groundeswell Design Group | Courtesy of Roxborough Developer Corporation

Groundswell Design Group | Courtesy of Roxborough Development Corporation

The landscape design gods at Groundswell Design Group are working their magic in Roxborough and the proof is in the first designs of the proposed Ridge Avenue Pocket Park, unveiled last week during a community meeting with local residents. Check ’em out in the gallery below and be sure let us know what you think in the comments!

According to a press release from the Roxborough Development Corporation, the neighborhood group working in tandem with Groundswell on the project, the park is set to have stadium style seating, a wall mural, movie area, and an “artistic entrance.” A rain garden boardwalk is also in the works, with the aim of allowing pedestrians “to experience unique moments” as they make their way through the park. Gardens and circulation paths “that create feelings of smaller spaces at the site” will also be incorporated.

What’s more, integral to the design of the pocket park are elements of sustainability. Aside from the rain garden boardwalk, Groundswell has proposed including native trees, perennials, shrubs, and grasses as soil-water-plant systems. These would be used purify potential storm water runoff from the Schuylkill.

Read more »

Groundswell to Unveil Schematic Design for Ridge Avenue Pocket Park

Images courtesy of the Roxborough Development Corporation

Images courtesy of the Roxborough Development Corporation

Mark your calendars, Roxborough denizens: Groundswell Design Group has set a date for the unveiling of the Ridge Avenue Pocket Park schematic design!

As previously reported, Groundswell was tapped to come up with a design concept for the proposed pocket park at 6170-72 Ridge Avenue, currently a vacant lot. The design is just about done and a recent press release from the Roxborough Development Corporation announced it will be unveiled to neighbors Wednesday, August 5th.

According to the release, the meeting will be held at 6:00pm inside the formerly vacant Allison Building, an adjacent structure that was rehabbed and now has two tenants. It’s worth noting the soon-to-be-made-public preliminary schematic design was shaped by neighbor feedback through a survey taken at the first community meeting and an online questionnaire.

Read more »

Headlines: Groundswell Design Group Entrusted with Next Phase in Proposed Pocket Park Project

Image via Google Street View

Image via Google Street View

Are you a fan of Spruce Street Harbor Park? Apparently, Groundswell Design Group, the firm responsible for the popular outdoor space, has been hit up by the Roxborough Development Corporation to come up with design concepts for the proposed Ridge Avenue Pocket Park, a hoped-for neighborhood green space at 6170-72 Ridge Avenue.

The site consists of parking lot and the formerly vacant Allison Building, since redeveloped by RDC and now occupied by two upper floor tenants.

PlanPhilly’s Alan Jaffe has the scoop:

Taking on the next phase of the park plan is Groundswell Design Group, a firm whose recent projects have included Spruce Street Harbor Park, Winterfest, The Porch @ 30th Street Station, and portions of Dilworth Plaza. At the meeting, Groundswell designer Rob Brady, who lived in Roxborough for three years, said the firm would bring its experience in creating “activation spaces” to the Ridge Avenue project. He and Groundswell colleague Kyle Blackwell said their goal is to gather the “needs, likes and desires” of the community and return with design concepts.

Emphasis ours.

The meeting Jaffe is referring to is the “informal community meeting” that took place this past Thursday. According to him, residents presented their vision for the proposed space so that the Groundswell team might be well informed as to the desires of the neighborhood when going about this next phase. He adds that an online survey that gauged park ideas from some 200 residents was also conducted prior to this gathering. The concepts, as well as neighborhood feedback, are expected for the next meeting.


Plus, Northeast Philly is getting…

Northeast Philly is getting what?? Yes, folks, we’re getting two (hey, it’s a start) protected bike lanes! From Citified:

Read more »

How You’ll Spend Your Summer: Spruce Street Harbor Park

 Art Place at Penn's Landing

Today, the Delaware River Waterfront Corporation has shared the details for its Spruce Street Harbor Park. The pop-up waterfront park will bring a boardwalk, urban beach, fountains and misting areas to the Penn’s Landing Marina and for two months.

The pop-up park, which will feature floating barges complete with lily pad water gardens, restaurant and bar kicks off on June 27th and run through August 31st.

Groundswell Design Group, Interface Studios and Digsau combined to create the plan for the space. Groundswell’s David Fierabend says “We’re involved because we believe iterative placemaking is the future of urban development and city renewal. By creating these moments along the waterfront we’re reconnecting the city to this long forgotten asset. Not only are these spaces amazing, they’re cost effective and immediately attainable. Their ephemeral quality keeps us intrigued and our attention focused on what’s next.”

More details on the Spruce Street Harbor Park »

Winter Wonderland and Restaurant Coming to Penn’s Landing

George Sabatino and Avram Hornik are creating a winter wonderland on the Delaware.

This winter there will be a lot more than just a ice-skating rink. | Photo by G. WIDMAN FOR GPTMC

The Blue Cross RiverRink on the Delaware Riverfront is turning twenty years old this year and the Delaware River Waterfront Corporation has some great sounding plans for the rink this year. Between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Eve the waterfront will be hosting a pop-up holiday village. The grounds will be designed by David Fierabend  of Groundswell Design (Morgan’s Pier, PHS Pop Up Garden) and will feature a 400-person warming tent. The tent will house a temporary bar and restaurant by Four Corners’ Management (Avram Hornik) and chef George Sabatino. Sabatino will be serving up a menu of “winter favorites” in a restaurant surrounded by garden grounds of pine trees, fire pits and the ice rink.

So basically, what they’re creating is a winter equivalent to the PHS Pop Up Garden. Complete with the same designer and operator. Sounds good to us.

One More Way to Get George Sabatino’s Food This Summer


George Sabatino will be in the kitchen at Morgan’s Pier when it opens this Thursday, May 9th but that won’t be the only place you can get his food this summer. Groundswell Design Group is collaborating with The Pennsylvania Horticultural Society, University of the Arts, and Avram Hornik (4 Corners Management) to create a “Pop Up Garden” at 313 S. Broad Street, across from the Kimmel Center.

Beginning on Thursday, May 16th, the pop-up garden will transform a vacant lot into a community space. Locust trees will provide shade for visitors who stop in for a drink and bite of food after work. Repurposed shipping containers will be used to serve the food and drinks. Vintage metal rocking chairs, a sculptural wall constructed from old shipping pallets and strings of market lights will warm the lot.

The garden will offer three varieties of craft beer, sangria and casual food by Sabatino.

The pop-up garden hours:

Monday through Thursday; 5 p.m. to 10 p.m.
Friday and Saturday; 1 p.m. to 11 p.m.
Sunday 5 p.m. to 10 p.m.


Accolades: The Award Winning Morgan’s Pier

Landscape designer Groundswell Design Group is the recipient of The 2012 Excellence on the Waterfront Honor Award for Commercial Design for their work on Morgan’s Pier. The Waterfront Center helps communities worldwide enhance their urban waterfronts and at their annual conference, they award prizes for excellence in waterfront design.

The attractive Morgan’s Pier, which opened in May on the Delaware River united urban materials, salvaged wood and vintage tables with leafy linden trees and other greens just below the Ben Franklin Bridge.

Groundswell’s work can also be seen in the garden at Talula’s Garden.

As for Morgan’s Pier, the outdoor bar and restaurant is closed for the season. They promise to reopen next April.

Morgan’s Pier [Official Site]
Groundswell Design Group [Official Site]



Details on Waterfront Drinking Spot, Morgan’s Pier

Ground has been broken on Avram Hornik’s riverfront beer garden, Morgan’s Pier. The open air seasonal venue adjacent to the Benjamin Franklin Bridge is aiming to open by Thursday, May 24th. The spot will feature live music, dancing and food reminiscent of a backyard picnic-and barbecue. Landscape architect, Groundswell Design Group ,whose work you may have seen in the exterior area at Talula’s Garden, is working on the project. The firm is bringing in large Linden trees, repurposed and reclaimed elements and lighting to make for a welcoming and relaxing Delaware riverfront spot.

Groundswell Design Group [Official Site]