Back in September, we told you about plans to convert Lot #8, an unattractive parking lot at HUP’s front door, into a landscaped public green space. Earlier this month, the fences came down, and the Spruce Street Plaza opened its “doors” to the public at last.

In the past

As you can see below, the $2.5M project was a huge success. As expected, the plaza includes benches, new lighting, decorative paving, landscaping, and a (still to come) small lawn area. Matthews Nielsen Landscape Architects and Urban Engineers were the designers behind the project, which really changes the feeling of the streetscape for pedestrians and drivers alike.

Entrance to the plaza

Path and benches

Looking toward Franklin Field

And more plantings to come in the Spring!

In some ways, this little oasis feels like an extension of Penn Park, the 24-acre green space that was established a little over a year ago on the far eastern end of Penn’s campus and about a block away from the new plaza. For this new and considerably smaller space, one other notable difference is just how easy it is to find a way in. But beggars can’t be choosers, it’s great to have even more public green space on this side of West Philly, and to see a surface parking lot utilized for the greater public benefit.