Update: Size Increase, More Details for Festival Pier Project

It was only several weeks ago when we shared an exciting update¬†about the redevelopment of the former Festival Pier site at 501 N. Columbus Blvd., at the intersection of Spring Garden St. and the Delaware River. Last week, we gave you the lowdown on the major construction moves under way on the site (Shameless plug here to check out our recent Instagram Reels, ICYMI). We are happy to report that we have even more exciting updates at hand, but first let’s remind ourselves what’s in store for this project that sits directly on the newly completed Delaware River Trail.

Aerial of site looking towards Center City
View looking down Spring Garden St. towards the river
Looking south down Columbus Blvd.
The future entrance to the project at the base of Spring Garden St.
The view between buildings shows how people will be greeted
A view of the completed Delaware River Trail from Cherry Street Pier at last week's ribbon cutting

A zoning permit from early this week provides some new information about this major project. First, the total square footage of the project is increasing by about 80K sqft thanks to additional parking and units on a mezzanine-type floor. Next, we now know that the project will contain 470 total units across both buildings, with 223 in the south building and 247 in the north building. A total of 313 car spaces and 181 bicycle spaces are included as well – a slight bummer given the presence of the Spring Garden El stop just two blocks to the west. Thanks to a Philadelphia Business Journal article from March, we know that a Sprouts Farmers Market will be the anchor retail tenant, taking up the largest retail space fronting Columbus Blvd. in the southern building. This new Sprouts will measure close to 24K sqft, almost exactly 75% the size of the grocer’s first Philadelphia location in the refurbished train shed at Lincoln Square we covered a few years back.

Along with Sprouts, there will be ten (!) additional retail spaces across different areas of both buildings. And while zoning documents can be a bit tricky to parse out, we’ve done the grunt work for you and have highlighted the locations for each of these yet-to-be-announced spaces – don’t say we never did anything for you. Enough with patting ourselves on the back though, let’s check out what’s coming our way.

Updated site plan shows familiar layout
Visuals from zoning documents show retail locations in blue, headlined by Sprouts Farmers Market facing Columbus in the south building

What, you weren’t expecting a brand new retail corridor out on the pier? Neither were we! But it sure looks like that’s the plan, though we are a bit confused as to placement of the stores which requires passing through parking access. These are nitpicks though, as this will fill a massive void that exists along this stretch. Currently, if you’re looking for retail or a place to grab a quick bite, this stretch of Columbus Blvd. offers next to nothing. This will certainly inspire new people to visit this part of the waterfront and stick around as well. With dirt moving all across the site, we can’t wait until we can saunter down to the river to access the public path along the water while grabbing an iced coffee on the way.