Thursday, September 15, 2016

Liberty on the River

Last night was the first presentation, of many, from K4 Associates to Pennsport Civic Association in regards to their mega project on Columbus Boulevard (which including its newly appointed name, has entirely too many AKA's in my opinion) between Washington Avenue and Reed Street.  They met previously in February with the Central Delaware Advocacy Group, which was covered by Jacob Adelman from in this article.  He was also present at last night's meeting, so expect a more thorough recap from him at some point soon.

I was not able to get any pictures last night, but here are the highlights:

  • Barton Architects is doing the design, presentation last night was by Seth Shapiro (they've done 1919 Market and are working on the National in Old City and the SOKO project in Kensington)
  • Gilbane was mentioned as the contractor
  • They gave 9.5 acres to the DRWC, so that the river trail may be maintained.
  • Looking to create multiple connector pathways along the Columbus Blvd face.  These pathways would not cross the Blvd, but they are meeting with Penndot about creating better walkways.
  • Overall project looked to have 10 towers total including four towers on the two piers that are on their property
  • Will be a phased project, with the first phase including a rental tower of approx 268 units, a hotel, and most importantly in my opinion most of the open space entrance they presented which connects at the off ramp from 95.
    • From the renderings that main connector will be a plaza with first floor retail that opens into the river trail
    • Additional phases depend on absorption of the units
    • They currently do not have possession of the sheet metal building itself, which from the renderings would be townhomes along Del Ave.
  • All of the towers have above ground parking that doesn't impede on the open areas, the renderings showed residential/retail along the facade faces and they made note of parking being behind it.  They are shooting for a .5 parking ratio, which exceeds the .3 in the code.  Also noted they are exploring mechanical parking options as well.
  • They are looking to go for a zoning ordinance to get relief on zoning height, which they plan on doing by creating a new overlay for their property.
  • Pending zoning approval, they hope to start within a year.
General consensus from the people who saw the presentation was positive, however the biggest issue that kept coming up was how to connect the neighborhood of Pennsport to this new project with the barrier that is 95 and Columbus Blvd.  PCA offered to give assistance and K4 seemed amenable to multiple avenues.  Hopefully they are true to their word and help us create a project that we want to come to but also don't have to risk our lives to walk to.