A Peek Into Penn’s Landing’s Future

 

Model of future Penn's Landing Park

Model of future Penn’s Landing Park

With a scaled model and slide show presentation detailing both vision and process, the Delaware River Waterfront Corporation and Hargreaves Associates laid out their initial plans for redeveloping Philadelphia’s central riverfront last night at Festival Pier. The presentation was followed by a Q&A with the public.

Arch pedestrian bridge over Columbus Blvd at South Street, which Deputy Mayor Greenberger describes as the "gateway to the riverfront district"

Arch pedestrian bridge over Columbus Blvd at South Street, which Deputy Mayor Greenberger describes as the “gateway to the riverfront district”

The pedestrian bridge at South Street over I-95 will be extended over Columbus Boulevard via a curving, arched path that will place users at the pier where the Chart House restaurant currently resides. Options for developing the plot of land currently a parking lot between Market and Chestnut Streets were intentionally vague, with taller buildings closer to Center City and shorter buildings toward the river, and reprogramming the green space around the marina (next to the Hyatt and Seaport Museum) envisioned new connections between South Street and Penn’s Landing proper. But it was the latter, Penn’s Landing, that was the star of the presentation.

A new Penn’s Landing Park would replace the Great Plaza, building up from the parking between Walnut and Chestnut Streets, and completing the cap over I-95 between those two streets and extending it across Columbus Boulevard, creating a sectioned, landscaped, sloping park in the process. “Our first goal is to bring downtown to the river’s edge,” Mary Margaret Jones, senior principal at Hargreaves, told the crowd.

Potential site plan, Penn's Landing | Image: Hargreaves Associates

Potential site plan, Penn’s Landing | Image: Hargreaves Associates

To do this, Hargreaves extended the grade of Old City across the cap, and on the river side, sloping the land upward with open space, forming an upper park and a lower park, connected by a series of grades and slopes. The upper park will feature a series of “outdoor rooms” framed by trees; the lower park will have an amphitheater style open space or lawn, with the capacity for small gatherings and large festivals and views of the river and Ben Franklin Bridge. Through the center of the two portions, a promenade will run north-south, carrying the Delaware River Trail. “This is the jewel in the crown,” Jones said of the new Penn’s Landing Park.

Additional possibilities for new features include a “pool barge”—an actual floating barge with a public swimming pool docked in the river; a new pier park at South Street, where a restaurant/café will be retained (whether or not it will be Chart House, which is already there, will be determined later); space for a water taxi, slightly relocated from the Riverlink Ferry’s location to a more central site between Walnut and Chestnut; and the repositioning and reprogramming of the ships that form the maritime presence at Penn’s Landing: tall ship Gazela, tugboat Jupiter, Moshulu, USS Olympia and Becuna, etc. The giant concrete pi, once intended to carry a tram across the river, will be removed. Public art will be discussed at the next public meeting, in January.

Certainly, the massive overhaul is in no way set in stone and financing it will be its greatest challenge, as all of the speakers acknowledged. But it’s the next step, as Deputy Mayor for Economic Development Alan Greenberger said. “This is a step along the way—it’s not the end result,” he said. More importantly, he noted, “this has the capacity to incentivize private development and create a spectacular new park.”

To view the full presentation, including renderings, visit the DRWC’s web site HERE.

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.



1 Comment


  1. Too much zig-zag gardens. I worry about the lack of activity oriented spots. Not that this would be ideal, but something akin to a basketball court or two, or a tennis court or two, or just a more “active” mix would seem better to me.

Leave a Reply

Comment moderation is enabled, no need to resubmit any comments posted.

Recent Posts
Vitality Of Immigration Lives On In The Italian Market

Vitality Of Immigration Lives On In The Italian Market

January 22, 2019  |  Last Light

The Historical Society of Pennsylvania gives us a glimpse into the origins of the Italian Market, an evolving immigration legacy that is alive and thriving today > more

New Museum In The Works For America's First Male Saint

New Museum In The Works For America’s First Male Saint

January 18, 2019  |  News

The Shrine of St. John Neumann on Girard Avenue is a melting pot brimming with religious devotion. It's also a destination for curious tourists looking to get a glimpse of the saint's body enshrined in a glass casket. A museum dedicated to the life and work of the famed Philadelphia bishop will open this spring. John Henry Scott has the story > more

Op-ed: Balance Lost Buildings With Those Saved In 2018

Op-ed: Balance Lost Buildings With Those Saved In 2018

January 15, 2019  |  Soapbox

Paul Steinke of the Preservation Alliance offers a counterpoint to our Lost Buildings of 2018 list with this opinion piece > more

Jefferson Makes Room For Modernism With New Preservation Program

Jefferson Makes Room For Modernism With New Preservation Program

January 4, 2019  |  News

Jefferson University brings Modernist architecture to the forefront with their new historic preservation program and center for studies. Michael Bixler has the news > more

House Museum In North Philly Plans Monument For Former Slave

House Museum In North Philly Plans Monument For Former Slave

January 3, 2019  |  Vantage

Stenton, the former plantation house in Logan, prepares to honor Dinah with their new project, Inequality in Bronze. Keshler Thibert has the details > more

Lost Buildings of 2018

Lost Buildings of 2018

December 27, 2018  |  News

Philadelphia's preservation crisis reached a critical high in 2018 with a record-breaking number of demolition permits approved by the City. Here we highlight some of the biggest loses to our built environment in our annual end-of-year list > more