On October 15, 2013, DRWC held a public meeting to introduce the in-process work of Hargreaves, the design firm chosen to refine the concepts of the Master Plan for the Central Delaware, to members of the community. Hargreaves was contracted to examine the engineering, programming options, development scenarios, potential phasing, and cost estimates of creating a new Penn’s Landing Park that is realistic and achievable. The design firm was tasked with developing a plan based closely on the Master Plan, which was developed after two years of public input, and adopted by the city in 2012. The team was hired to move the Master Plan concept forward, not create a new one.
Unlike previous Penn’s Landing projects, this plan starts with investment in the public realm. The plan calls for public spaces framed by private development sites that are responsive to market realities in Philadelphia. These private development sites will provide the necessary investment and density to support the public investment and vibrant and well-used public spaces. Previous failed projects for Penn’s Landing relied on proposals for large-scale private development projects where public space was an after-thought, and too-often presented whole-cloth without meaningful public input. DRWC was created specifically to reverse this formula by investing strategically in high-quality public spaces (like the Race Street Pier) and by ensuring that waterfront development is open, transparent and benefits from public input.
The purpose of this first public meeting was to provide an update to the hundreds of people interested in the Penn’s Landing plan at the halfway point of the Hargreaves contract. It was also meant to keep the public informed and to receive input for possible course corrections. Feedback received at the meeting and through ongoing outreach was helpful in providing the designers context for further refinement, but please note that Hargreaves’ work is far from finished. At the public meeting in January, DRWC will have complete renderings, more finalized market and development analyses, and better answers to those questions about cost and financing.
In the meantime, Hargreaves’ team of structural, civil, and traffic engineers, urban designers and architects, and economic advisors are all working on each component of the project. This includes assessments of the I-95 bridges and caps to determine whether they can be reused or replaced; evaluation of potential design elements based on structural, financial, and aesthetic concerns; meeting with developers to gauge market interest; and engaging numerous city agencies and stakeholders (including PennDOT, SEPTA, Planning Commission, and PWD) to ensure that the final product of this work is a plan that we can begin to implement right away. This work will continue through the next public meeting in January, with a date to be determined.
In the interim, we encourage public comment, and hope to build civic interest in this project. We also encourage Philadelphians to stay updated on our planning efforts across the Central Delaware waterfront by following us on Twitter, Facebook, and signing up to receive our email newsletter.
Thanks for following our ongoing efforts to help transform Philadelphia’s Delaware River waterfront.