Camden To Finally Get Its Gondola

 

Camden skyline, circa 2015 | Photo: Bradley Maule, plus rendering of Skyview by Herschend Family Entertainment

Camden skyline, circa 2015 | Photo and composite by Bradley Maule, rendering of Skyview by Herschend Family Entertainment

Big changes are coming to the Delaware Riverfront–Camden’s Delaware Riverfront. The Adventure Aquarium announced plans this week for the construction of a 300′ observation tower that will at once change Camden’s skyline and provide Penn’s Landing visitors with a new focal point.

It’ll also provide Camden at least a version of its long planned gondola. In its failed competition to redevelop Penn’s Landing ten years ago, the Delaware River Port Authority famously required the proposals to include an aerial tram connecting the Philadelphia and Camden riverfronts, with ski-lift-like gondolas carrying visitors between the two. That idea got as far as a giant concrete pi on the Philly side, and rubber-rimmed foundations on the Camden side. With the Skyview Tower, a gondola will at last elevate Camden riders some 25 stories in a contraption that resembles the Zoo Balloon in a tube.

Zoob in a Tube | Rendering by Herschend Family Entertainment

Skyview mockup, installed at a mockup city | Rendering by Herschend Family Entertainment

And much like the Zoo Balloon, Skyview will be part of a larger tourist attraction (Adventure Aquarium), but accessible to the general public. Positioned at the south end of the aquarium, adjacent to the Riverlink Ferry terminal and Wiggins Park, it will easily allow casual visitors to take in the view on their way to the USS New Jersey or Susquehanna Bank Center.

At 300′ and right on the river, it will instantly alter the form of Camden’s tiny skyline, which otherwise includes the iconic 12-story RCA Nipper Building (Dranoff’s condo The Victor) designed by Ballinger in 1909, Michael Graves’ 11-story headquarters for DRPA One Port Center from 1994, the two 20-story, 1960s-era Northgate apartment towers, and of course Camden City Hall, opened in 1931 with a design by Edwards & Green. At 371′, City Hall is the only Camden building which will surpass Skyview in height. (The Ben Franklin Bridge’s towers are 380′ to the top.)

Skyview Tower will be privately funded by Herschend Family Entertainment, Adventure Aquarium’s parent company which also owns other entertainment outfits such as Dollywood in Tennessee and the Harlem Globetrotters. The design and construction come from London company Tower Systems Ltd., whose logo is seen on the ‘balloon’ part of the renderings. The tower will be programmed to change colors according to seasons and special events.

About the author

Bradley Maule is co-editor of the Hidden City Daily and the creator of Philly Skyline. He's a native of Tyrone, Pennsylvania, and he's hung his hat in Shippensburg, Germantown, G-Ho, Fishtown, Portland OR, Brewerytown, and now Mt. Airy. He just can't get into Twitter, but he's way into Instagram @mauleofamerica.



2 Comments


  1. Ugly color and materials. Out of scale with its surroundings.

  2. Well written and informative article Brad.

    It is absolutely amazing that so much investment is happening 400 ft across the river in Philadelphia yet Camden is almost devoid of any type of development. It’s almost unbelievable that they build this 300 foot amusement ride in part to catch a glimpse of Center City. Why not build 300 foot apartments or office buildings there and try to recruit some of the residents/businesses back to Camden from places like Cherry Hill,Marlton,Washington Township etc etc..

    Campbells just invested $100 M in a new HQ in eastern Camden that would have
    made much more sense along the riverfront where it could have been showcased. There is story there for Camdens self inflicted dysfunction. By accident due to its location next to Center City there should have already seen some signs of gentrification in Camden.

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