Like everyone else on the internet, we’d like to take this opportunity to reflect on the ups and downs of the year that was, and look ahead at the year to come. From the continued construction push through changing market conditions to a surprise World Series run, 2022 was certainly an exciting one for the city of Philadelphia. When we looked back to check on our predictions from last year, we were pleasantly surprised by our prescience when it came to things Philly.
As expected, the construction boom continued as a follow-up to the extreme permitting that took place at the end of 2021, before the changes to the tax abatement. We anticipated a slow-down in permitting as a result and we were correct, as the number of approved units plummeted. Key commercial corridors maintained their sub-optimal zoning as City Council continued to cause difficulties for developers through overlays and other means. N. Front Street and southern Northern Liberties kept up their momentum, though the riverfronts didn’t see as many proposals as we predicted. Broad & Washington did indeed break ground and 8th & Market is still very much a parking lot. In lieu of a case of Snapple, we landed James Harden in a trade to move on from he-who-shall-not-be-named.
As much as we’d like to continue to pat ourselves on the back for a job well done, it’s time to throw caution to the wind and make some bold predictions for 2023. To start off on a likely-successful forecast, we would imagine that the drop in permitting will lead to a drop in construction over the coming year, as interest rates and general market malaise stall or cancel some projects currently on the boards. Most projects already in process should finish up, but we would imagine that the Durst project on Delaware Ave. won’t be the only paused project in town in 2023.
Despite plenty of community push-back, we are wagering that we’ll see the first real timelines for demolition/construction for 76 Place, the proposed Sixers arena that would take the place of part of the Fashion District. We expect demonstrations, chaotic community meetings, and who knows what else, but our bet is that plans for moving forward firm up before we reach 2024.
In a prediction based on the situation referenced above, we expect we won’t see any additional progress on the Durst Organization’s stalled waterfront project, nor do we expect them to break ground on anything else this year in Philadelphia. We might even be in store for the sale of part of their holdings, or perhaps the Delaware River Waterfront Corporation will revisit their decision to give Durst the rights to develop a mixed-use project along the riverfront adjacent to the planned Park at Penn’s Landing.
To turn to a more positive direction, we expect to see one more groundbreaking at Schuylkill Yards, with one additional proposal to be announced by the end of the year. Look for the bold red building at 3001 JFK Blvd. to start work as its partner at 3025 JFK Blvd. finishes up over the next year.
In other mega-development prognostications, we expect the Bellwether District in South Philadelphia to start construction on their first ground-up project (our guess is a warehouse/distribution facility). This site has been undergoing remediation and we would guess that there will be an announcement sometime in mid-year.
Some other quick hit predictions:
- The Roosevelt Boulevard subway will continue to get more attention as public figures start to weigh in
- The University City Townhomes sale will remain in limbo
- The Mayoral race will end in a four-way tie, with each “winner” taking office for a single year
- One of the several proposals along S. Delaware Ave. will start to see work on-site
- The forever-infamous Disney Hole at 8th & Market will stubbornly remain a surface parking lot
- University City will see at least one new major lab proposal
- Southwest Philadelphia will see a rush of new proposals
- The Cecil B. Moore corridor between the Riverwards and Temple will continue to see dramatic changes
- Chinatown will see more and more in-fill developments
- At least one 30+ floor residential proposal will seemingly come out of nowhere
- The Eagles will reach the Super Bowl and the Phillies will return to the World Series. The Sixers will face another frustrating 2nd round playoff exit and the team will look very different next season. The Flyers will play exactly 82 games of mostly terrible hockey
What we do know is that Philadelphia will continue to be the best city in the world — and we can’t wait to see what’s in store for the coming year. Here’s to a safe, happy, and healthy 2023 to you and yours!