Philadelphia/ Real Estate & Development
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Published on April 19, 2024
University City District Unveils $60M Initiative to Revitalize West Philadelphia Waterfront along Schuylkill RiverSource: Google Street View

A sweeping $60 million vision to transform the Schuylkill River's west bank into a bustling hub of recreation and leisure was unveiled by the University City District (UCD), featuring a public pool, a beach, and an entertainment venue. Straddling the river between Market and Chestnut streets, the two-tiered West Philadelphia Waterfront project aims to bridge the gap between Center City and the flourishing University City, according to the Philadelphia Business Journal.

The ambitious undertaking will introduce an overhead structure easily accessible from Schuylkill Avenue. The top floor is poised to feature a plush promenade and a deck offering panoramic views of Center City, while the lower deck promises to quickly become the focal point with its near Olympic-sized pool and shaded spaces designed to host a variety of events, as reported by the Philadelphia Inquirer. Patrons will be able to effortlessly slide from the upper to the lower level using a unique, fun slide, in addition to conventional stairs and a ramp.

Conceived in the wake of the pandemic, UCD's project evolved from a vision into a viable proposal, complete with a feasibility study and input from acclaimed consultants. The project has been vetted by key stakeholders, including the Coast Guard and Pennsylvania's Departments of Transportation and Environmental Protection, ensuring a comprehensive approach to the development. "The time is right for a bold vision to further enhance our connection to the Schuylkill River," UCD President Matt Bergheiser stated in a release covered by CBS News Philadelphia.

The envisioned park is set to complement other major developments in the vicinity, such as the Schuylkill Yards mixed-use project and the extensive redevelopment of 30th Street Station. This project is expected to not only enliven the area but also to potentially attract tourists and locals, while bolstering local businesses. "Now is the time to think with great aspiration about a new iconic space to connect the waterfront to the dynamic growth of University City, and to make it accessible for all Philadelphians," Bergheiser told CBS News Philadelphia.