The Delaware River waterfront has been one of the busiest places in the city the last few years development-wise. The central part of the Delaware River Trail is now complete, and projects are sprouting up and down the banks of the river. Back in March, we told you about one of the most exciting projects, the 360-unit tower rising at 300 N. Columbus Blvd., brought to us as the NYC-based Durst Organization‘s first development foray into the city of Philadelphia. It appeared that this was full steam ahead, with site digging progressing rapidly along with all of the archeological work necessary, as this site was once used to build boats back in the Colonial days. The design from Handel Architects included a contemporary glass tower on the south end of the property, with a new public park on the north end.

A closer look at the finished foundations looking shockingly neat
A view of the 28-story tower planned for the site

This news was obviously exciting, as the riverfront has had a long history of starts and stops. After rumors online of a possible slowdown, we decided to check things out for ourselves. The site had been remarkably quiet over the last several days, and was oddly clean and organized for a building that has already completed major foundation work. The concrete has been poured and rebar is sticking out, but the remainder of the site is now filled-in with loose gravel – something we hadn’t seen on an active job site, especially one that was as consistently busy as this one has been since the spring. It was just yesterday then that the construction pause was confirmed by Durst, citing rising construction costs and difficulties with financing as rationale, despite already sinking $40+ million into the archaeological and construction work thus far.

The staging area, mostly empty of cars, equipment and materials
300NColumbus Park
The park planned for the north side of the site
Another look from last week of the suspiciously quiet site
An even more recent view shows a similarly empty site

So, what’s going to happen? We have no idea, but we certainly hope this isn’t a sign of things to come for the other major property that Durst controls along the Delaware River. We’re referring, of course, to the massive Penn’s Landing development that Durst won the rights to proceed with in the fall of 2020. This project is contingent on the Park at Penn’s Landing getting started, but it doesn’t bode well that so much prime real estate is being held by a group that is in no hurry to build. It will be interesting to see if these properties eventually change hands or – gasp – if the DRWC would re-release an RFP for this important site. Either way, we hope that conditions change and we see this move forward soon so that we can avoid yet another scar to the prime real estate along this evolving waterfront.

Durst's grand plans for Penn's Landing - will we ever see this happen?