Major Construction Projects to be Put On Hold For Pope Francis

The General Building Contractors Association Inc. has outlined the plan for Philly worksites. We talked with INTECH's William Schwartz to see how they're handling the visit.

The Dalian on the Parkway, 22nd and Hamilton | Photo: James Jennings

Rodin Square, 22nd and Hamilton | Photo: James Jennings

Details regarding the papal visit at the end of the month are finally starting to settle into place. We have the map. We know all about the tickets for both papal appearances, and we’re starting to get concrete plans about what’s going to happen at the many work sites across Center City, specifically Old City and Logan Square, when Pope Francis makes his historic appearance in Philadelphia.

The General Building Contractors Association Inc. (GBCA) has reached a deal with labor unions and the Philadelphia Building and Construction Trades Council to account for restricted access due to heightened security measures.

According to a statement, GBCA’s co-director Benjamin J. Connors said that in order to address the “logistical difficulties” associated with the visit, general contractors have “the option to conduct four 10- hour days at straight-time on the week of the 21st and the week of the 28th. It is anticipated that working conditions on Friday the 25th and Monday the 28th will be untenable and it is recommended that any contractor with a construction site in or around the security zones pictured [within the security zones on the map] notify their signatory unions of their intention to shift to four 10-hour days for those two weeks.”

“We expect all of our projects to be shut down both Friday and Monday,” William Schwartz, INTECH Construction’s principal and co-founder, said in an email. “We will be working extended hours Monday through Thursday prior to the weekend, and Tuesday through Friday the following week to make up for lost days.”

INTECH is heavily entrenched in the construction of a few major development projects in both Logan Square and Old City, including Rodin Square at 22nd and Hamilton, Museum Towers II near 19th and Hamilton, Museum of the American Revolution at 3rd and Chestnut and 500 Walnut at 5th and Walnut, the latter overlooks Independence Mall, where Pope Francis is scheduled to speak on Saturday September 26 at noon.

Job sites might still encounter some major issues during the ramped up four-day work week. The World Meeting of Families runs from September 22 through September 25, and Schwartz mentioned that projects “closer to the action may be further impacted with major material delivery restrictions during the week preceding [the event].” INTECH is also heading up the renovation efforts at the former Four Seasons hotel at One Logan on the Parkway– what essentially amounts to the the epicenter of the Papal Mass.

Schwartz didn’t seem too concerned with the shift in work schedules and the extended shutdown over the weekend: “We view it as a minor inconvenience necessary to let our great city host an event that can only help reinforce its stature as a world-class destination!”

* This article was revised to reflect that INTECH’s construction project at 22nd and Hamilton is called Rodin Square. Only the apartment element of Rodin Square is called Dalian on the Parkway.