The current draft of the Lower Schuylkill Master Plan calls for developing the 3,700 acres along the river into three distinct areas:
The Innovation District. These 500 acres nearest University City would take advantage of that proximity with development focused on research and development.
The Energy Corridor. This 1,700 acre section would be home to energy companies and heavy industry. It actually already is. When planning started a year ago, it looked like the former Sunoco Refinery would be shuttered. It has instead become Philadelphia Energy Solutions.
Logistics District: This 1,500 acre section, which is closest to the airport and I95, will focus on traditional manufacturing.
The plan was presented to the Planning Commission Tuesday by Philadelphia Industrial Development Corporation’s Thomas Dalfo. Dalfo said making better connections between the area and the rest of Philadelphia is one of the most important goals of the plan. A new roadway, called River Road, would run its entire length, connecting University City with the airport. The road would also open up additional development sites that are now fairly unaccessible.
Other east-west connections would better connect the area to I95 and I76. One east-west connection would be a lot more complicated to achieve now that the refinery is staying, Dalfo said. The plan calls for a bridge to the city right through the refinery.
The plan also calls for the creation of additional green spaces and trails. Some of the green space would be linear, along the new roadway, and would also help manage stormwater, Dalfo said.
The green space will also be an amenity for the future industry the plan hopes to bring to the area, he said.
Dalfo said the plan area contains 20 to 25 percent of the city’s industrial land, and nearly 70 percent of its vacant or underutilized industrial land.
The 25-year plan was presented Tuesday for information only, but is expected to come before the PCPC for action in January or February.