Penn's Landing Feasibility Study: ECONOMIC IMPACT AND BUDGET
Over the past five weeks, we have demonstrated the depth of analysis and creativity that has gone into the design of the Penn’s Landing redevelopment project. This work includes an engineering analysis, solutions to connectivity issues, open space planning, and recommendations for the height and density of the surrounding residential and commercial uses. We hope you agree that the result is a proposal for Penn’s Landing that is both exciting and realistic! As well as proposing innovative design solutions, an equally important goal for the project was determining the probable cost of these improvements. It wasn’t until DRWC had an accurate understanding of the price tag that we could begin began discussions with possible funding agencies about making the project a reality.
As part of the Hargreaves team, the cost estimating firm Becker Frondorf analyzed the proposed public improvements and determined estimates for their construction. The initial public investment in the site will cost approximately $250 million. That cost includes the following infrastructure elements:
- Complete cap over I-95 and Columbus Boulevard between Chestnut Street and Walnut Street: $125 million
- Construct tilted park from Columbus Boulevard to the River: $100 million
- Complete Delaware River Trail from Washington Avenue to Spring Garden Street along Columbus Boulevard: $10 million
- Extension of South Street Pedestrian Bridge to Penn’s Landing Marina: $15 million
A project of this magnitude requires funding from a variety of sources, including local, state, and federal governmental entities, philanthropic organizations, and private businesses. A public investment of $250 million will not only realize the most important infrastructure and public realm improvements, but also set the stage for private development. Contributions from the City of Philadelphia and the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania will generate larger returns, magnifying the impact of their initial investments. This “return on investment (ROI)” can be used as an overall framework for the project, which the public sector can use to evaluate and prioritize their funding. ROI in the public sector can be more complex than in the private sector, because returns may include not only ones financial in nature, but also other outcomes that benefit citizens, such as job creation, environmental stewardship, and quality of life.
To complement the design solutions outlined by Hargreaves and to provide insight on the overall impact and return of the $250 million project, DRWC hired Econsult Solutions, Inc., a Philadelphia-based economic consulting firm. Their final report on the economic impact of the Penn’s Landing redevelopment is included below. The overall findings of the analysis overwhelmingly concluded that the $250 million public investment will generate a substantial return for both the City and the Commonwealth.
These benefits come both from the upfront economic and fiscal impact of the construction of the project itself, as well as the anticipated private development that would follow. Econsult concluded that an investment of $250 million in the construction of the highway cap and park, the Delaware River Trail, and the South Street pedestrian bridge will lead to a one-time creation of 2,780 new construction jobs and $176 million in additional economic activity in the area.
Millennium Park, Chicago
- Cost: $475 million ($270 million from the City)
- Size: 24.5 acres
“The park is responsible for $1.4 billion in residential development and increasing real estate values in the area by $100 a square foot.” – The New York Times
“All of Millennium Park mirrors the rebirth of Chicago, not just the robustness of the real estate market, but the ambition of its patrons, the creativity of its artists and architects, and the ongoing miracle of its ability to transform a no place into a someplace that's extraordinary.” – The Chicago Tribune
Corktown Common/Don River Park (part of the West Don Lands), Toronto
- Cost: $135 million CN (about $100 million US)
- Size: 18 acres
“This $135 million structure… has paved the way for more than $2 billion in public- and private-sector investment in the vicinity of the West Don Lands.” The Toronto Globe and Mail
Schuylkill Banks, Philadelphia
- Cost: $60 million (for current extension projects)
- Size: 1.2 miles
“Investments made by SRDC were therefore partially responsible for an increase of over 150 percent in residential property value near the Schuylkill Banks since 2000.” Plan Philly