SEPTA Unveils Spruced-Up Center City Concourse
The leaky ceilings are gone from the first revamped stretch of the city’s underground city.
SEPTA leadership on Tuesday officially unveiled the first phase in the transit authority’s long-overdue renovation of Center City’s dingy and dilapidated underground concourse system.
With ceiling leaks plugged and the smell of urine scrubbed away, SEPTA’s newly rechristened “Downtown Link” serves as a gateway to the public transportation mode of your choosing, as well as the various retail options and office building entrances located below street level. Fresh tile and concrete line 22,000 square feet of tunnels that all converge at a redesigned circular space that funnels pedestrians to their destinations.
SEPTA is paying for its ambitious $59.65 million “Center City Concourse Improvement Program” with state dollars disbursed through Act 89, Pennsylvania’s comprehensive transportation funding plan. After years of ignoring the blight of the concourse, the city of Philadelphia signed over operations to SEPTA in 2014. That year, construction began on the project’s first phase, which cost approximately $10 million to complete.
“This project is aimed at making the concourse more inviting for everyone,” SEPTA general manager Jeffrey Knueppel said in a statement. “With the revitalized Downtown Link, we are investing in making the SEPTA system more accessible, and we believe this new environment will entice businesses and retailers to take a fresh look at re-entering this space.”
SEPTA is now responsible for the upkeep of the entire concourse, which spans from JFK Boulevard to Spruce Street and from 8th Street to 18th Street. The complete rehab of the concourse’s 500,000-plus square feet is expected to take at least a decade. Transit officials say the next phase will remodel the corridor that runs from Juniper Street to 11th Street, and then the stretch below the Municipal Services Building and LOVE Park.
You can check out photos of the renovation below.