300 N. Columbus Blvd. has, somehow, been sitting undeveloped for about a century. The property covers about an acre and a half and has been used as a surface parking lot for decades. Before that, it was used a rail yard for the Reading Railroad, dating back to the early 20th century. It wasn’t so long ago that its continued use as a surface parking lot made some modicum of sense, while waiting for the Delaware Waterfront to take positive steps such that redevelopment would actually make sense from both a planning and a financial sense. Though it took a little longer than we might have hoped, we are happy to say that we’re finally at that point.

View of the property

Perhaps the construction of One Water Street a few years back was the true indication that 300 N. Columbus Blvd. could finally get developed. This project included a couple hundred rental apartments in a building with easy waterfront access and tremendous Ben Franklin Bridge views, and essentially served as proof of concept for a potential project next door. And indeed, the proposal from the Durst Organization takes the One Water Street plan and kicks it up a notch or three.

One Water Street, seen from the south

Next month, at Civic Design Review, we will see a presentation for a new project at this address which will offer a little bit more than its neighbor in a few different ways. First, it will stand 26 stories high, several stories taller than One Water Street. As you might expect, it will also offer more density, with 360 units. With the density, the building will offer a decent amount of parking, with 116 spots which will clearly not be located underground, given the location of the water table.

The project calls for 10K sqft of retail space, while its southern neighbor has no commercial element. It will be interesting to consider, in the years after this building gets built, just how much traction the retail tenants get at this location, but with 500+ units between the two buildings, at least there’s a decent sized customer base in the immediate area. The people living in these buildings will also enjoy the benefit of some public space associated with the new development, on the northern side of the site. Not only will the project include green space, but it appears the developers are also planning a playground, making the building that much more family friendly.

The CDR packet is currently online and includes renderings from Handel Architects. Check ’em out!

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Rendering from the north
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View from the north, also aerial
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Rendering from the south
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Rendering from Water Street
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Seen from the west, looking toward the river

For years, we’ve lamented the Delaware Waterfront as one of the great untapped resources in Philadelphia. This project won’t suddenly flip that script, but it’s certainly a step in the right direction. We will say, we have a great degree of confidence that this project will indeed move forward, given the identity of the developer and their stake in the area. Remember, DRWC tabbed the Durst Organization last year to redevelop a huge stretch along the Delaware, where Penns Landing is currently situated. We’re not ready to rename it the Durstaware River, but if all their plans move forward in the coming years, that name might start feeling appropriate.