Roughly three years ago, we considered the case of 1401 S. Columbus Blvd., wondering how the site would be redeveloped after plans for a casino were officially 86-ed. Two years later, we confirmed that Tower Investments had purchased the property and Bart Blatstein was considering a plan for a shopping center, some apartment buildings, and a bunch of townhomes and stacked condos on the waterfront. If you pass by this address today though, you'll see that nothing has actually changed.

View of the site

Here's a look at the plan that we published last year, which calls out a Wawa gas station and an Aldi supermarket. We got a number of comments on the project, with some people generally in favor of the plan, and a greater number of people disappointed with the proposal.

From about a year ago

Last week, provided an update on the project, sharing the news that Tower had subdivided the property and pulled permits for the supermarket. Aldi is no longer the tenant, and Tower isn't commenting on which supermarket operator will be taking over. Also, based on the newest brochure from MSC Retail, we see that a number of retailers have signed on to join the new shopping center. We also found that the layout of the shopping center has changed while the plan for the stacked condos, townhouses, and pier townhomes remains the same.

New site plan for the project

Closer look at the retail aspect

For those complaining that this was pretty much a suburban shopping center dropped onto the Philadelphia waterfront, we don't imagine that this tenant list will do much to change your perspective. On the other hand, we can wrap our minds around the idea of people wanting to live in mid-rise buildings in this shopping center, with river views and a mildly harrowing walk across Columbus Blvd. to get to town. We're even more convinced that the residential units behind the shopping center will be a success, and though we'd prefer a tower we don't believe that it would be financially viable.

What do you think? Is another shopping center on the Delaware waterfront an acceptable project, especially in light of the fact that it will come with almost 700 new residential units? Or do you believe that this plan too suburban for this location, and think there should be some residential towers here, a la Waterfront Square? Or might there be some kind of compromise concept that most people could get behind?