The Delaware waterfront was once a hub of industry, as ships delivered raw goods, factories produced stuff while belching waste into the river, and other ships collected the new stuff and took it away. That’s not the case anymore, at least not in the vicinity of Center City. Still, we’ve maintained some relics of those long lost days, like the impressive and vacant Municipal Pier No. 9. This old warehouse is an extension of Cherry Street into the water, running roughly the same depth as the adjacent Race Street Pier. Municipal Pier No. 9 is owned by the Delaware River Waterfront Corporation, and after achieving great success at Race Street, DRWC is looking to transform it into the Cherry Street Pier.

Current view

According to a press release, they’ve got some bold plans in store. While Race Street Pier is a lovely outdoor space used in a passive way, the vision for Cherry Street Pier is much more active. DRWC will reuse the existing building and divide the space into four separate concepts under one “roof.” The Hub, a food and beverage space, and the Garage, a collection of reused shipping containers used as coworking and studio space, will be located near the entrance to the pier. In the middle of the pier will be the Platform, an open event space with a variety of purposes. At the end of the pier, the plan calls for the removal of the rooftop and the creation of an outdoor space called the Garden. Check out this site plan, to give you a sense of what we’re talking about:

Cherry Street Pier_Site Plan
Site plan

And ooh boy do the renderings look sweet.

Cherry Street Pier_Garage Rendering
Interior rendering of the Garage
Cherry Street Pier_Platform Rendering
Rendering of the platform
Cherry Street Pier_Garden Rendering
Tables and a food truck in the Garden

Okay, all of this looks amazing. And the $4M price tag actually seems to be quite reasonable, given the extent to which this plan will transform the pier. We do wonder though, whether the plan is particularly practical. Race Street Pier is quite successful as far as we’re concerned, but it’s a public green space and the number of daily visitors doesn’t especially matter. Cherry Street Pier, as proposed, would be a very different animal. Will people want to rent space to work in this building? Will little stores and food vendors want to set up shop here? Will the building get enough foot traffic that businesses will consider it? Will it be a sustainable location, where businesses are successful in year one and still doing well in year five? The list goes on.

We honestly have no idea how to answer any of these questions, but we’d have to think that DRWC is optimistic on all fronts. We certainly hope they’re right, because this project is very exciting and would add a new dose of energy to the Delaware waterfront. And with plans moving forward for a new Penn’s Landing just a couple blocks to the south, this part of the waterfront is in for a double dip of improvement in the next few years.