Final Countdown: LOVE Park Redesign Revealed, Readied for Approval

Aerial view of the new LOVE Park | Renderings: Hargreaves and Associates, KieranTimberlake and Philadelphia Parks and Recreation

Aerial view of the new LOVE Park | Renderings: Hargreaves and Associates, KieranTimberlake and Philadelphia Parks and Recreation

The team behind the overhaul of LOVE Park presented their final plans at a meeting on Monday night, and there are a few key tweaks to the design that was originally released in May.

According to Ashley Hahn of PlanPhilly, the construction budget has been upped from $11.2 million to $16.5 million in order to create a higher-quality space, and one of the more noticeable additions to the refined plans by Hargreaves Associates is a whole lot of color throughout the park.

The new LOVE Park will ditch much of the unwelcoming hardscaping and clunky access for a vibrant and more engaging experience where visitors can enjoy seasonal gardens, sit beneath shade trees or take in the sights of the city from the deck of the new dining area. Whimsical tones of pink, green and grey granite will further highlight each space and a metallic mural will be installed on the ceiling of the Saucer, also known as the Fairmount Park Welcome Center.

Oh, and don’t worry, the beloved LOVE sculpture is staying put, albeit slightly repositioned for optimal sight lines through to the Parkway.
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POLL: Which LOVE Park Redesign Do You Prefer?

After several meetings wherein officials heard out Philadelphians about what they envisioned for the new JFK Plaza / LOVE Park, the folks over at Hargreaves Associates sat down and incorporated the ideas into the soon-to-be redesigned space. Here are the four design concepts they came up with– what do you think?:

Images: Hargreaves Associates via

Yes, no, maybe so? Perhaps you should take a look at the more in-depth JFK PLAZA/LOVE PARK Improvement Project presentation before voting on either the Square 1, Square 2, Bow-tie 1, or Bow-tie 2 plans. Make an informed decision, yah know? However, should none of the concepts be to your liking, feel free to leave a comment telling us why! (Although for the love of Ben Franklin, please don’t suggest an Applebee’s take its place.)

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Morning Headlines: Is It Sayonara for LOVE Park’s Saucer?


Image from Fairmount Park archives via Preservation Alliance website.

Image from Fairmount Park archives via Preservation Alliance website.

LOVE Park has been in the news quite a bit recently, with what the redesign led by Hargreaves Associates and KeiranTimberlake moving forward and the dude who started a wacky petition to trade it to Camden for an Applebees. With the former being far–like miles–more serious than the latter comes the news that Preservations Pennsylvania has listed the iconic Fairmount Welcome Center–aka “The Saucer–atop their list of most threatened buildings in the state. It’s not the only one from the region, either.

Designed by architect Roy Larsen and built in 1960, it’s not yet known whether the building will be incorporated into a revamped LOVE Park–leaving its future very much up in the air (no pun intended). Here’s more from the report (click here for the .pdf):

[T]he iconic Fairmount Park Welcome Center is an important one-of-a-kind building whose rehabilitation and creative reuse as part of LOVE Park’s redesign could be a model project involving innovative midcentury modern architecture. Without a public understanding of the Welcome Center’s architectural and cultural significance and a strong show of public support for its rehabilitation, the redesign of LOVE Park may result in the unnecessary loss of this unique historic resource.

The West Chester Post Office at 101 East Gay Street also made the list. While it’s not threatened with demolition, the USPS doesn’t need 17,000 square-feet of space and relocated to a smaller facility. “Disposal of the building by the USPS raises significant concerns not just about the loss of postal services, but also for the preservation of the historic buildings, the continuing vitality of a facility that generates foot traffic downtown, and a diminished federal government presence as part of the community fabric.”

Welcome Center listed as imperiled [The Inquirer]
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What Do You Think the New LOVE Park Should Look Like?

Photo credit: Jeff Fusco

Photo credit: Jeff Fusco

JFK plaza is getting a top to bottom redesign and you have a say in the matter.

According to CBS Philly’s Mike Dunn, officials “will be all ears” when it comes to hearing out residents’ ideas for the renovation.  The meeting is set for 6:00pm at the Central branch of the Free Library of Philadelphia. Sign-in starts at 5:30pm.

Open Call For Ideas on Love Park Redesign [CBS Philly]

Morning Headlines: Nutter and Clarke Make Plan for LOVE Park

After months of discussion, an accord has finally been reached for how to refurbish of JFK Plaza. According to the Inquirer’s Troy Graham, Mayor Nutter and City Council President Darrell Clarke signed a document “that outlines their ‘shared vision'” for the park. Compromise from both parties is evident in the new plan, which includes information about what would be retained, what would be added, and how it would all be funded.

To avoid dipping into the city’s reserves, the renovation project would funded by the sale of the garage beneath the plaza, and Liberty Property Trust would offer free planning and design services.

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Morning Headlines: Why Restaurants in LOVE Park Isn’t Such a Great Idea

Today the Daily News’ Jenny DeHuff takes up the question of Darrell Clarke’s … intriguing plans for LOVE Park. As Property author Sandy Smith noted when Clarke first proposed putting restaurants in the park to generate revenue, “We should take Clarke’s proposed design as the start of a path to a new and livelier LOVE Park, not as its final form…it could stand some refinement.

DeHuff notes that Smith isn’t alone in that assessment:

“Critics of the proposal agree that revenue-generating is necessary for the city to pay its bills, but not by way of building up what’s intended to be open space, something already lacking in Center City.”

Indeed, a park-land ordinance from 2011 requires that developers who build on existing open space replace it with equivalent open space elsewhere. (This ordinance is what stymied Temple University’s boathouse proposal, now a moot point anyway.) In this case, any new commercial developments at LOVE Park would have to undergo state and federal review.

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