Philadelphia is one step closer to getting a master plan for the central Delaware riverfront. But this million dollar vision for a seven mile stretch of land between South Philadelphia and Fishtown faces some real challenges.
Eight lanes of interstate highway lie between the city and the Delaware River. About 95 percent of the land to be covered by the master plan is privately owned. But architect Alex Cooper is optimistic. He says the first step is reaching out to all the stakeholders.
Cooper: You don’t draw first, you go out and talk to people and find out what their interests are and that’s true for the neighborhoods as it is for the stakeholders on the waterfront.
The Delaware River Waterfront Corporation chose Cooper’s firm, Cooper Robertson, to create the master plan. Cooper says a solution to the barrier formed by I-95 is simply to extend roadways either over or under the highway. Cooper says the privately owned land is more of a challenge. So he added an economic development adviser to his team.
Marilyn Jordan Taylor is a member of the Waterfront Corporation. Taylor says the economic advisor put Cooper Robertson over the top.
Taylor: Their ability together to both advocate the public interest in the plan and work cooperatively, with private landowners and developers who ultimately might enter into deals with those who own the land. That’s what really made this team stand head and shoulders above the others.
Cooper Robertson designed the waterfront at Battery Park City in New York.