While much of the development boom along the Delaware River Waterfront has taken place north of Market Street, there have been some teases of development on the southern edge of the riverfront as well. The former Foxwoods Casino site has been one of the key areas for proposals, with the Giant supermarket the only piece of which has actually moved forward to date. Despite lack of major construction progress, however, there are some intriguing developments afoot. Let’s check out an aerial of the site to get the lay of the land.
We start today with 1505-25 S. Columbus Blvd., which has had plans for pad retail for quite a while at this point. Currently nothing more than an overgrown field, there were past plans for a Super Wawa with a gas station, which were thankfully nixed due to its incompatibility with the master plan for the area. Follow-up plans were proposed for strip mall-type retail, though nothing had been confirmed before. After checking out a listing from MSC Retail though, it appears there’s been plenty happening in the background. Leases have been signed by a number of retailers, and we now have a better idea of what the final product will look like too, thanks to some renderings.
This isn’t ideal, from where we sit. The waterfront should be actively moving away from auto-centric uses, as the area has been choked with massive shopping centers and parking lots for the last several decades. We’d almost rather see the Super Wawa here than the less than exciting retail options that are likely to come. While they may have some utility, these are businesses that could have easily found retail space in some of the empty storefronts nearby.
Thankfully, those two other proposals we mentioned earlier are a bit more in line with what we would hope to see along an active, pedestrian friendly waterfront. Just behind this retail site, there is a large mixed-use proposal that would bring 800+ units and commercial space across two buildings. There have been several changes in plans here as well, before finally settling on the current two-building approach. While there would be plenty of parking for those who would live here, this type of residential mass (and better trail connectivity, too) would be a big win for the area.
That’s not the only big news in the immediate vicinity, however. Just to the north at 1341 S. Columbus Blvd., Silverstein Properties just pitched a new tower proposal for the site of the former pipe dream that was Liberty on the River. This 612-unit proposal would also add commercial space and some trail upgrades, further tying together this patchwork of properties that has caused some difficulties in tying together the loose ends of said trail.
Conflicted feelings? You betcha! But despite the disappointment around more car-centric retail lining the water, we’ll take the glass-half-full approach here. If the residential projects move forward as we hope, we’re looking at literally thousands of new people potentially living east of Columbus Blvd. where previously zero lived. As such, the area would inevitably change, with more and more people and liveliness along this currently underutilized stretch.