Many of you may have noticed that the PCPC adopted a plan last week that focuses on a particular corner of the Central District. For those who haven’t gotten a chance to read it yet, here’s a bit of background on how we came to focus on this area and why.
When we talk about the Central District we usually mention the many nationally-known cultural venues, great restaurants, gleaming office towers and vibrant neighborhoods. What usually doesn’t come to mind is industry, when in fact it’s been part of Center City’s history from the start. That’s understandable since many of the industrial powerhouses, like Baldwin Locomotive Works and Packard Car Company, are long gone.
Currently 14% of all land in the Central District is zoned for industrial use; however only 6% is still used for industry – think the Federal Mint on 5th Street or the East Asia Noodle Company in Chinatown or the design/construction companies on Washington Avenue. A large concentration of the industrially zoned land can be found in the former Callowhill Industrial District. This area between Old City and Northern Liberties, stretching from 2nd Street to Broad Street, was envisioned as a 20th century industrial complex to serve Center City, with 19th century industrial buildings at the western end (Hey Eraserhood!) and the superblocks created at the eastern end in the late 1960s. While it was moderately successful as an industrial center in the early years, many other uses have now started to come into the area and the industry has been transitioning out.
To determine the future of this area our office hired URS Corporation (in conjunction with Studio Bryan Hanes, McMahon Associates and BAE Urban Economics) to create a Strategic Plan for the area, which the Planning Commission adopted at its meeting last week. Future zoning, transportation, stormwater management, and overall development were all evaluated and we have some exciting recommendations: READ MORE