If you’ve found yourself at the intersection of Delaware Avenue & Spring Garden Street over the last decade or so, Festival Pier was likely the reason why. The long-time home to the Roots Picnic served as a waterfront concert venue for years before closing for good back in 2019. But if you went back a bit further to the late 1980s, you would have found yourself looking up at a state-of-the-art garbage incinerator. While we’ve felt like hot trash here before, that is a level a bit beyond our liking. On the other hand, Garbage Incinerator was our band’s name in high school, and we were as terrible as the name suggests. Ah, memories.
Back in the 1960s, Philadelphia had a trash issue, and the solution was simple: burn it! An ultra-modern facility saw up to 200 trucks per day dump their contents into the fire. Thankfully, everyone realized this was a terrible idea, the building was demolished, and concert-goers had an outdoor venue for a while. For the last several years, we’ve had a vacant lot.
You may have heard that plans have been in the works for years to redevelop the site. We are pleased to report that the Bernardon-designed project is moving forward, as we saw major action on a visit to the site recently. Two mid-rise buildings containing approximately 550 apartments will rise on the northern end of the site, with a public park holding down the southern end. Ample retail will make up the base of both buildings and the entire site will be bordered by a walking path connected to the on-going Delaware River Trail construction. A recent post by the Delaware River Waterfront Corporation confirms that things are indeed set to begin. But enough talk, let’s check out the current progress.
So, what lies ahead for the site? From our perspective, a pretty awesome upgrade to this stretch of decrepit fencing. Let’s check the snazzy renderings to see what’s in store for this important riverfront project.
Like we said: just a bit of an upgrade. As we’ve recently reported, this is just one of several projects getting kick-started this spring on the city’s eastern edge. Just across the street, two other large proposals are waiting in the wings. The proposed DeSimone car dealership/residential tower is just across the way where Delaware Ave. hits Fairmount. Immediately to the north, a large proposal for the former Phlirt dance club/bus parking lot is waiting for next steps. This parcel recently changed hands and closed in November for over $17M, so we hope to see things move forward soon.
All told, we could see a thousand units rise just along these couple of blocks. The riverfront is seemingly transformed more and more each passing day, and we can’t wait to finally see the potential of the area become reality.