As you may have seen with our recent coverage in West Philly and East Kensington, there are some pockets in Philadelphia where there’s so much development ongoing that it makes sense to zoom in on a small area to provide some quick updates on numerous projects. So let’s do it again on Delaware Ave.! Back in April, we provided a video update on a number of projects along the Delaware River waterfront, and today we are going to revisit three of those projects while adding a new one to the mix.
These projects are all along Delaware Ave. between Vine Street to the south and Frankford Avenue to the north. While all the projects are still in the early stages of construction, it’s already beyond exciting to imagine the drastic change to this stretch in the very near future. And we aren’t even touching on other nearby projects, as there are almost too many to count. However, if we consider only these four projects that are already in progress, over 1,700 units and nearly 20 retail locations will be added along this half-mile stretch of the waterfront. Whoa. Let’s start at Vine Street and work our way north.
At 300 N. Columbus Blvd., the Durst Organization is now well underway on their first Philadelphia project. After a long process of archaeological excavation, it appears things might be getting closer to building up instead of digging down. In a very cool twist, the development team has created a website that discusses the history of the site and provides updates on the current work. This has provided wonderful insights as to what was taking place here, dating back to the late 17th century. As you can see, there’s been plenty of digging going on for this mixed-use project designed by Handel Architects that will bring 360 apartments and some retail to the site, along with a public park on the north end of the property that will feature some artifacts from the dig.
Heading north a couple blocks to the former Festival Pier site at 501 N. Columbus Blvd. shows things well underway here. This massive site will consist of two buildings, 470 units and 11 retail spaces, anchored by a Sprouts. Jefferson Apartment Group has teamed with Haverford Properties on this Bernardon-designed project, which is now called Riverview, and is not to be confused with the shuttered cinema about three miles to the south. Site work has been on-going for quite some time, but it’s easy to see all of the progress now.
Jumping back to the west side of the street and north a block or so sits 700-30 N. Delaware Ave., where plans for a large mixed-use project have been in play since we last checked in back in 2020. The site has since changed hands, but it appears that the plans are still the same, with new owners Saxum Real Estate moving forward with the design from JKRP Architects. This project saves the row of historical rowhomes on the southern end of the site, while adding two buildings containing 466 units and a retail walkway along Beach St. that bisects the two buildings. Demo is now fully underway for the site, so look for more progress soon.
The last stop on our trip to the waterfront today is at 918-80 N. Delaware Ave., where a six-building project is now above ground. We reported back in March that the site was cleared and that there were new signs of life for this HDO Architecture-designed project. After digging deeper into the zoning documents after some previous confusion, we confirmed that all buildings did indeed have all necessary permits, so game on! Look for 462 units and four or so retail spaces across the six structures, which will sit at the base of Northern Liberties and Fishtown.
If you’re feeling a bit overwhelmed, we can’t blame you. The scale and pace of projects here and across the city show no signs of slowing down, and in many of the places we’ve covered, this is most definitely a good thing. We are once again trumpeting our highest-and-best use song far and wide, as these underutilized or vacant lots are turning into residences, businesses and leisure destinations for folks across the entire city and region. We aren’t thrilled that nearly 700 car parking spaces will be spread out across these projects, but the thousands of new people living here in the future should still give an important boost to the foot traffic in the area. Even a few years ago, this type of development would have been almost unimaginable. But as more and more developers bet on Philly (and win!), it’s amazing to watch as this portion of mini-highway slowly turns into a major mixed-use corridor.