UPDATE: July 23, 2021: The COVID-19 pandemic and other factors have delayed the completion of a highway overpass park that is part of Philadelphia’s Penn’s Landing project.
Groundbreaking on the highway cap over Interstate 95 has been pushed back two years to 2023, PennDOT spokesperson Brad E. Rudolph told WHYY. Developers had originally planned for the project to begin this year.
State officials expect to put the project out to bid late next year, Rudolph said, and the park is now slated to open in 2026.
“The delay can be attributed to COVID and complexities of lease and property rights that go back many decades as well as engineering complexities that only come into focus during final design,” Rudolph told WHYY
- New York City-based developer The Durst Organization last week unveiled plans for a mixed-use project on the Philadelphia waterfront that blends new housing and retail with the preservation of some of the city's most historic locations.
- The 26-story project, designed by Handel Architects, will include 360 apartments, 10,000 square feet of ground-floor retail, a new park and improved connections to the historic Wood Street steps and Delaware River trail, according to a press release emailed to Construction Dive. A Durst spokesperson told Construction Dive that the company has not disclosed the project cost.
- The development, which will be constructed on a 1.6-acre parcel that Durst purchased from the Delaware River Waterfront Corporation in 2019, is a critical component of the DRWC's master plan to revitalize a 6-mile length of Philadelphia's Central Delaware River waterfront.
The project, slated for LEED-Platinum, is also being built to withstand increasing flooding and severe storms caused by climate change. More than a third of the parcel will be set aside as open green space, which will include gardens to capture rainwater runoff, as well as a playground.
The park will preserve historically significant portions of the West Shipyard, which is buried beneath the parking lot currently located on the site. It contains some of the most complete archaeological resources documenting shipbuilding and waterfront activities in the city from the late 17th century through the middle of the 19th century, according to the release.
Those artifacts include a slipway thought to be the only example of its kind on the East Coast, according to The Philadelphia Inquirer. The project team will work to limit impact on the shipyard, which is on the Philadelphia Register of Historic Places, and is working with an archeological team from AECOM to advance research on the site.
The project is also oriented to improve access to the historic Wood Street steps and allow views to the water from the steps. Located between Water and Front streets directly west of the development parcel, the steps are among the oldest relics of Philadelphia's colonial past. Their construction was mandated by William Penn to ensure public access to the waterfront.
As part of Philadelphia's civic design review process, Durst is presenting this proposal to a meeting of the Central Delaware Advocacy Group, which will provide its feedback on the project. After that meeting, Durst will present its plans to the city's civic design review board.
Because the project is being built within the area's land-use limitations, the presentation to the board would be the final step toward zoning approval, according to the Inquirer.
Durst was selected last year to redevelop Penn's Landing, winning the job over a competing bid by the Philadelphia 76ers to build a basketball arena. Under its $2.2 billion plan, the developer has proposed 12 new towers of homes, shops and offices on either side of the four-acre park being planned over I-95 between Chestnut and Walnut Streets.