Former Trump Site Becomes Turnkey Development Opportunity

A local firm specializing in assembling development deals has put together a doozy on the Delaware riverfront. $12 million says it's yours, and you can start work the day after closing.

Aerial view of Pier 35 1/2, looking towards Center City

The ready-to-build development at Pier 35 1/2. | Rendering: Cecil Baker + Partners via Shovel Ready Projects LLC

Attention, developers! Shovel Ready Projects LLC has such a deal for you.

It’s 2.13 acres of prime Delaware waterfront property just north of Delaware Avenue and Spring Garden Street in the Central Waterfront District. Pier 35 1/2, where Donald Trump had announced plans for a high-rise condo tower several years before he became President, is now available as a ready-t0-build 41-unit townhouse development.

Shovel Ready has done all the prep work: preliminary engineering, zoning permits, site acquisition and preparation, and design by noted local starchitects Cecil Baker + Partners. It took them two years and $5.5 million to put it all together.

They’re offering it for $12 million — and, they say, the buyer will make a 40 percent return on investment easily.

Shovel Ready spokesperson George Polgar said this development is better suited to the waterfront than the tower Trump had proposed.

“It’s a much more accessible plan, more in tune with what’s happening in the area, and it’s the first townhouse development in the Central Waterfront District,” he said.

Nearby high-rise developments, he noted, have gone in and out of bankruptcy. That, he said, wouldn’t happen here.

“These are 2,800-square-foot townhouses, four stories, with roof decks, great amenities, and a great view of the river,” he said. “At $1 million plus, they should sell. I live nearby” in Northern Liberties, and “I bought my home for about $100,000 some years ago. There are now $900,000-plus homes around me, and the only view they have is of me getting dressed in the morning.”

Polgar said Shovel Ready has already discussed this project with possible investors, including some from abroad. He also added that the company is also willing to consider other development proposals: the lot is zoned CMX-3, which allows for the construction of mid- to high-rise hotel, apartment, condo or mixed-use residential/commercial buildings with up to 400,000 square feet of interior space. (The turnkey townhome project being offered has 114,800 total square feet of space.)

“The Chinese love big towers, and we could do one — the zoning’s still there,” he said. But building tall buildings on a pier costs much more because of the additional engineering and prep work required, he continued. “We think this is the highest and best use for the land today.”

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