RFP issued for Pier 53

Dec. 22, 2009

By Thomas J. Walsh
For Plan Philly

The Delaware River Waterfront Corporation has issued its official request-for-proposals for improvements to Pier 53, seeking “qualified design/build consultants to prepare a design and construction plan” for the pier and its surrounding area.

There will not be a separate competitive bid process for construction.

It appears the area will include little of the existing pier – only the “upland” section is usable. According to the RFP, the “pier structure would need to be entirely rebuilt,” but adds that it is “not economically feasible” to do so. Instead, the re-do will take on a more distinctly ecological flavor, geared around the public’s access to the riverfront trail.

Total design and construction costs are not to exceed $570,000. That’s in addition to separate funding coming from the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society to conduct civic engagement and outreach efforts specifically for Pier 53’s design process.

The project “will occur on an aggressive schedule,” with meetings planned for January and construction beginning in the late winter or early spring of 2010, with the stated goal of developing the Pier 53 area into a “simple and attractive green, public space with active programming to bring people to the riverfront.”

The DRWC would like to have a new Pier 53 area open by this coming summer.

Once complete, the thinking is that it will enhance the interim trail and will run from Mifflin Street north to Lombard Street. “In addition, the project design is intended to facilitate immediate and future investments in ecological improvements, both aquatic and riparian,” the RFP states.

Some firms might be working through Christmas: Sealed proposals, and 15 hard copies and 15 CDs, are due in to the DRWC by Jan. 8 at 5:00 p.m.

Pier 53 is a one-acre parcel behind the Sheet Metal Workers building on the river side of Delaware Avenue at Columbus Boulevard. To the immediate north is the Coast Guard headquarters.

“The DRWC has agreed to allow the Center City District to construct the interim trail on this land,” the RFP states. “This area could become a highlight of the interim trail – providing Philadelphians with a green, public space where they are able to enjoy the riverfront in a new way.”

The project will also be a bookend of sorts, to the Pier 11 project (now re-Christened the “Race Street Pier”) happening on the small finger pier on North Delaware Avenue, at the foot of the Benjamin Franklin Bridge. The two represent the beginning of a 30-year effort by the DRWC, the city and Cooper, Robertson & Partners to craft a plan that will guide the long-term redevelopment of Philadelphia’s Central Delaware Waterfront. 

A pre-proposal informational meeting was to have been held this morning at the DRWC offices, 121 North Columbus Boulevard.

Contact the reporter at thomaswalsh1@gmail.com.


Pier 53 RFP

DRWC main page

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