The Philadelphia waterfront has long been underutilized, which is rare as waterfront property in most cities is often the most desirable. However, Philadelphia’s waterfront has been plagued by highways and abandoned piers/warehouses. Like many things in Philadelphia, we’ve started to see that change in recent years. This Philly Mag article touches on Festival Pier, which is the newest project planned to help anchor the Philadelphia waterfront.
The field has been narrowed down from eight companies to just three for the rights to develop the Festival Pier project. Personally, I’m glad that it will be a mixed use project as the waterfront needs both residential and commercial projects to help accelerate its growth. Pier 35 1/2 (just south of Waterfront Square and the former site of the proposed Trump Tower) recently sold and is slated to be a new residential project. Pier 25, the site of Cavanaugh’s River Deck, is now up for grabs. Hopefully that results in something awesome (at the very least it gets rid of Cavanaugh’s which I think has overstayed its welcome at this point).
With the recent additions of Waterfront Square Condominiums, Sugar House Casino, Morgan’s Pier, Dockside Condos, and Spruce Street Harbor Park, the Philadelphia waterfront has definitely experienced a bit of a facelift. As Northern Liberties and Fishtown have become extremely desirable neighborhoods to live and hangout in, the waterfront’s proximity has therefore become more desirable.
Columbus Blvd. isn’t going anywhere and crossing over it to get to the waterfront will never be ideal, but as they put in more bars/restaurants/parks, then more people will want to hangout down there. As more people want to hangout by the waterfront, then more people will want to live there. I think it’s more of a question of “when” rather than “if” the Philadelphia waterfront will be one of Philly’s hottest areas/neighborhoods.