As we make the shift from summer to fall, we try to appreciate the remaining warm, sunny days before the inevitability of cold, dark, rainy evenings enter our day-to-day lives. And what better place to do that than along the glorious Schuylkill Banks? We are apparently not alone in that thinking, as huge projects are popping up all along Center City’s western waterfront.

One such project is proposed at 2301 JFK Blvd., where we reported back in 2020 there were plans for a mixed-use project on a wedge-shaped parcel squeezed between JFK and the MFL tracks to the north. After hearing next to nothing about this for the last two years, a reader reached out saying they saw some action on site, so we went to check it out ourselves. For those who aren’t familiar with this parcel, it sits in an unusual spot, with rail tracks to the north and to the west, JFK Blvd. to the south, and tiny frontage along 23rd St. between two bridges. But when we went to scope out the site, it was readily apparent that things are indeed happening.

View as we approached the site, looking east on JFK Blvd.
Like a bridge over dirty water...checking out the future 2301 JFK Blvd. from the other side of the Schuylkill River
View approaching the site, looking east on JFK Blvd.
A closer look at the formerly overgrown site
View looking west shows the fenced-off site recently cleared of trees and other debris

While not exactly thrilling at the moment, the future plans will more than make up for it. An undulating, rounded massing from developers PMC Property Group and architect SCB will fill the site and will feature 287 apartment units over two floors of office space. The frontage along JFK will consist of floor-to-ceiling glass, with further glazing on the upper floors above the office podium. Access to the 44 parking spaces will be front 23rd St., keeping JFK clear for pedestrians (even if it’s not the most walkable area currently). This building was originally planned to be strictly office space, so we are thrilled to know that even more people will be living in this area, which is currently a bit of a dead zone.

View from 23rd St., looking up at the property
A view of the JFK-facing facade, with soaring ceiling heights on the first two floors
View looking west down JFK
Glassy curves on display from the Schuylkill River Trail

This project is a homerun from our perspective, and thankfully it has both zoning and construction permits already in hand. Not only would we have not expected such a gleaming design, we couldn’t even imagine that anything could be built on this tiny sliver of land. However, once completed, this is going to be hugely popular we’d imagine for both office and residential interests. The location is just a short walk to 30th Street Station and Center City and sits right next to the aforementioned river trail. Additionally, steps connecting JFK to the street below – 22nd St. in this case – sit just to the east of the planned project. This is especially important as just across the street from this site, there are plans for the Trader Joe’s busy parking lot.

A look down the steps connecting the north side of JFK to 22nd St. below
Current view across the street of the Trader Joe's parking lot

While there were no signs of action as of yet, plans for this parking lot project sure are exciting as well. Brought to us by the same PMC/SCB team that’s taking on 2301 JFK, look for another 341 apartments here over some JFK-facing commercial space. This tower will mimic the glass facade of 2301, but this time with a boxier approach. We love the clean look of the project, and it will obviously have a massive impact on foot traffic in the area. TJ’s might be a bit more crowded in the future, but we are happy to make that trade off.

A look at the plans for the parking
View of the street frontage along JFK

Pretty amazing, if you ask us. After the long, long road construction along JFK that wrapped up a couple years back, it’s nothing short of incredible to see multiple proposals along this formerly bleak stretch. We’ve made this walk from 30th Street Station to Center City numerous times and we certainly won’t be upset to see a bit more action here beyond people racing towards/away from the train station. Let’s hope we see some action here sooner than later, as these projects would add over 600 more apartments to the neighborhood and would nicely complement the Riverwalk Apartments just to the north.