Not River City, Not River Walk, But Something Big is Coming to 23rd & Cherry

The huge surface parking lot at 23rd & Cherry has always struck us as a little odd, considering its prime location on the western side of the Logan Square neighborhood, with easy access to the Schuylkill River Trail. The site has been subject to a few development proposals over the years, the most ambitious of which was the River City project, which would have meant ten new towers, 3,700 apartments, two hotels, and an office building spread over this parcel and several others to the east. That project, if it ever had a chance, went down in flames about a decade ago. More recently, we told you about the proposed River Walk project, which would have meant three towers, 665 condos, and a supermarket. Alas, the site still looks like this:

Current view at 23rd & Cherry

Finally, it appears that a project will actually happen here. Compared to previous proposals, the latest plan seems a bit tame, but it’s objectively quite ambitious and would be a game changer for this part of town. Thanks to their CDR submission, we now know that PMC Property Group will look to build two mixed-use buildings on this site, with one building on the northern end of the property and one on the southern side, close to JFK Boulevard.

The northern building will rise 28 stories, and will include 291 apartments, 180 parking spaces, and a very large retail space (roughly 73K sqft!). The southern building will go a little higher, up to 32 stories, with 321 apartments, 97 parking spaces, and a much smaller retail space, just over 2,000 sqft. Unfortunately, because of the Septa tracks, this building won’t reach JFK Blvd., maintaining the pedestrian unfriendly status quo. Given the complications that would have come from getting air rights though, we can understand why the developers didn’t want to take on that challenge.

Here are a bunch of renderings of the project, with a h/t to Gensler for the design work.

Aerial view
View at 23rd & Arch
Aerial view, looking west
Rendering at 23rd & Cherry
View from JFK Blvd.
View from the river
View from the Schuylkill River Trail

It’s a big deal every time Philadelphia gets a new tall building, and as this project will entail a pair of tall buildings it’s obviously quite significant. The views will be great, and the location is fantastic for people working downtown or in West Philadelphia, so we believe the demand will be high for these units. We’d be remiss though, if we don’t start the speculation train on the retail tenant in the northern building.

As we said, there will be a huge retail space in that tower, and about half of the parking in the building will be reserved for retail customers. Could this space be reserved for a single business? If so, what tenant could take up that kind of space? A supermarket? Seems unlikely. A Target? Probably not, with Target coming soon to the former Callowhill Whole Foods space nearby. Does anyone out there have any insight into what tenant or tenants we can expect here?

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