After our lower Fishtown check-in following Part 1, Part 2, and Part 3 of our development journey, we make our way to the Delaware River Waterfront, where several projects are well underway in this rapidly changing area. After few projects over the last couple of decades, there is development everywhere along this central stretch of the Delaware River, which sits on the eastern edge of Northern Liberties.

918-80 N. Delaware Ave. now well underway

This sliver of Philly east of I-95 is being reinvented as it connects the waterfront to residential access after centuries of industry along the water. And while there are still plenty of opportunities for things to continue to fill in, the four projects we are covering today will bring hundreds of people and thousands of square feet of commercial and retail space to this neglected area.

We start the fifth leg our of journey at the northern-most project, which is stealing some parking from a familiar landmark.

933 N. Penn St. sits in an odd spot, taking up a chunk of the Rivers Casino parking lot, while sitting in the shadows of the Waterfront Square complex directly to the south. Plans from late 2021 called for 196 units over 57 parking spaces, all within an orange-forward, contemporary design from HDO Architecture. The site is now being cleared and prepped for construction for this project, which will eventually include a riverfront pathway which will integrate with the Delaware River Trail.

Jumping to the other side of the street, 918-80 N. Delaware Ave. is in full swing. At the hub of all of the activities of Fishtown, this multi-building project has been in the works since 2020, and during our update last year, site prep was making way for the future buildings. Another design from HDO Architecture, this project will bring 462 more units to the area, along with 20K+ sqft of retail space to help further activate the pedestrian experience along this auto-oriented stretch.

Continuing further south, some historic rowhomes are getting some TLC and some exciting new neighbors. Just north of Fairmount Ave., 700-30 N. Delaware Ave. is transforming from a bus depot to a 466-unit project that will include a walkable path flanked by ~15K sqft of retail space. The design from JKRP Architects touches on the industrial past, while using various facade treatments to give the appearance of a building that grew organically over time, like some of its neighbors. New windows are in on the historic homes, and all sorts of digging is taking place for the two new buildings.

The final stop on our trek today is also the largest, with a size increase tacked on last year for good measure. Formerly the home to the Festival Pier music venue, the property at 501 N. Columbus Blvd. is making a turn to 470 units and eleven retail spaces, anchored by a new Sprouts Farmers Market. Haverford Properties is the developer here, with Bernardon handling architectural duties for this project which is now called RiverMark Northern Liberties. Steel is now out of the ground and elevator towers are up, so we expect to see things continue to progress for this two-building project, which will also feature a riverfront pathway and a large public park on the south of the property.

1,594 units are being added across these four projects, which will create a residential mass east of the highway chasm that has been lacking residents for decades. Our new running tally sits at 3,962 units, and the last and largest of all of our trips is still on deck. As these projects show, the eastern edge of Greater Center City is going to look and feel very different over the coming years, and we could not be more excited for what’s to come.