Final presentation for the Master Plan for the Central Delaware: Transforming Philadelphia’s Waterfront

The Delaware River Waterfront Corporation (DRWC ) will host the final presentation for the Master Plan for the Central Delaware:  Transforming Philadelphia’s Waterfront for the public on June 13, 2011 at 6:30 PM in the Pavilion at Festival Pier, located on Columbus Boulevard  at Spring Garden Street.  The plan will include detailed proposals for strategic investment and phasing for future waterfront development.  This presentation will begin the final period of opportunity for the public and stakeholders to provide feedback to the plan.  After public feedback is incorporated, the Master Plan for the Central Delaware will be finalized by DRWC and submitted to the Philadelphia City Planning Commission for consideration and adoption.

With opening remarks led by Mayor Nutter, DRWC board members Marilyn Jordan Taylor, Dean, University of Pennsylvania School of Design and Chair of the DRWC Planning Committee and Alan Greenberger, Deputy Mayor for Planning and Economic Development will host the this event to provide the public with an overview of the advancements of the planning process since the last public meeting in October of 2010.  The presentation will include an overview of the plan’s recommendations for economic development guidelines, open space, investment and phasing by the principal consultants who created the plan:

·         Alex Cooper, Cooper Robertson Partners, lead planning consultants

·         John Alschuler, HR&A Advisors, economics and investment strategy consultants

·         Cindy Sanders, Olin Partnership, landscape architecture

·         James Timberlake, Kieran Timberlake, architecture


Other members of the consultant team included: 

·         Parsons Brinckerhoff, Transportation Engineering 

·         Hurley Franks & Associates, Public Outreach 

·         Urban Affairs Coalition, Wealth Building 

·         Toni Griffin, Public Policy

·         Emily Cooperman PHD, Historic Preservation

·         Katherine Woodhouse-Beyer PHD, Archaeology

·         Karin Bacon Events, Public Art and Programming

·         KS Engineers, Civil Engineering

·         CH Planning, Land Use Planning

·         BlankRome, Zoning Counsel

·         Kelly/Maiello, Architectural Design Guidelines

The Master Plan for the Central Delaware creates a detailed framework for growth on the riverfront that utilizes the core principles set forth in the 2007 document A Civic Vision for the Central Delaware. The overarching goal of the plan is enhance the value of vacant and underutilized waterfront parcels by investing in targeted public infrastructure projects such as streets, parks, and trails to incentivize economic development.  Simultaneously, these public improvements are also designed to reconnect the waterfront to the adjacent neighborhoods and to the city as a whole. Specifically, this master plan furthers the goals of the Civic Vision by setting forth a public realm plan along the six mile waterfront with public parks every half mile connected by a waterfront trail as well as esthetic improvements to important East/West connector streets that lead from adjacent neighborhoods under I-95 to the waterfront. Additionally it recommends public policy in the form of zoning and design guidelines which promote a dense, walk-able extension of the city to the water’s edge. Lastly, the plan includes cost estimating for public improvements and a thoughtful investment strategy intended to catalyze the development market with incremental improvements to key riverfront parcels.  Other topics expected to be addressed in this meeting include an explanation of recommendations for transportation, waterfront recreation, public art, preservation and reuse of historic assets, and conservation and enhancement of ecological resources.

The Master Plan for the Central Delaware provides specific proposals for achieving the goals of a high-quality waterfront on the Central Delaware by aligning the actions and interests of the public sector with those of private landowners and developers.

Also expected to be announced at the presentation will be a detailed list of projects which DRWC intends to complete within the next five years.  

Key elements of the plan include:

·         A network of civic and public spaces that are distinctive public amenities as well as catalysts for private development

·         Increasing free and sponsored events that bring people to the waterfront, enhancing the current program and expanding to additional locations on the waterfront

·         Accommodations for diverse land uses along the waterfront, including the working port, hotels, commercial, retail and flex office/light industrial.  The plan envisions the development of primarily dense low to mid rise residential neighborhoods with service retail, cafes, bars and restaurants, entertainment venues, and other uses that support year-round activities

·         New development which maintains a character consistent with the character and quality of adjacent neighborhoods and also matches near-term market conditions.

·         A detailed strategy for wealth building to create opportunity for MBE, WBE, DSBE and individual investors

·         A multimodal transportation and transit plan that includes facilities for streetcar/transit, vehicles, bicycles, and pedestrians that shapes and serves walk-able communities and links waterfront destinations to each other, connects waterfront residents to employment centers, provides at-grade service to Center City, and is an integral element of the regional transportation network

·         A phasing strategy which concentrates initial public funding and therefore development on nodes of public land near transit and other assets in order to generate a critical mass of activity in key locations as well as to pace development so that it corresponds with projected absorption rates. Four specific nodes, called “Priority Sites” have been selected:

o        Washington Avenue

o        Penn’s Landing

o        Spring Garden/Festival Pier

o        Penn Treaty Park Area

Attendees are asked to register for the event here:  


In February 2009, Mayor Nutter together with DRWC announced funding was secured for the development of a master plan for the Central Delaware from the William Penn Foundation. DRWC and the City of Philadelphia issued a Request for Proposals to provide design services for creation of the plan.  With public input and the leadership of the DRWC Planning Committee led by Marilyn Jordan Taylor, Dean, University of Pennsylvania School of Design and Alan Greenberger, Deputy Mayor for Planning and Economic Development, awarded the contract the Cooper Robertson-led team, a nationally recognized planning firm whose credits include the acclaimed Battery Park City plan in New York City.

About DRWC:

The Delaware River Waterfront Corporation (DRWC) is a nonprofit corporation organized in January 2009, exclusively for the benefit of the City of Philadelphia and its citizens. DRWC acts as the steward of the Delaware River waterfront to provide a benefit to all of the citizens and visitors of the City.  

The fundamental purpose of DRWC is to design, develop and manage the central Delaware River waterfront in Philadelphia between Oregon and Allegheny Avenues. DRWC intends to transform the central Delaware River waterfront into a vibrant destination location for recreational, cultural, and commercial activities for the residents and visitors of Philadelphia. DRWC will serve as a catalyst for high quality investment in public parks, trails, maritime, residential, retail, hotel and other improvements that create a vibrant amenity, extending Philadelphia to the river’s edge. 

DRWC is open, transparent and accountable in connection with its operations and activities with respect to the waterfront. Through the judicious use of financing, land acquisition and development capabilities, the Corporation will work cooperatively with city, state and federal agencies to ensure the realization of the City’s vision for the central Delaware River. For more information, please

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