The Durst Organization, the New York company selected last year to redevelop Penn’s Landing, is nearing final land-use approvals for a nearby 26-story apartment building that would be its first Philadelphia project.
Durst submitted project plans on Thursday to Philadelphia’s Civic Design Review board, which offers nonbinding suggestions on the city’s biggest development projects.
Durst’s project would rise at a longtime parking lot beside the waterfront north of the Benjamin Franklin Bridge. The building will have 360 apartments, with 10,000 square feet of shops and restaurants and a 116-space parking garage on its lower floors, the company said.
Because the project is being built within the area’s land-use limitations, the presentation to the Civic Design Review board, or CDR, would be the final step toward zoning approval. The CDR board is likely to review the proposal in the coming months, Durst spokesperson Anthony Campisi said.
Durst earned “density bonuses” — the right to build more apartments than otherwise allowed by zoning — by committing more than $2.5 million to the Philadelphia Housing Trust Fund to support affordable housing across the city and setting aside more than a third of the parcel as open space, Campisi said.
“We look forward to receiving feedback from our neighbors and partners on this exciting new project for the riverfront,” Durst president Jonathan “Jody” Durst said in a release. “Our goal is … to deliver a series of projects that continue the revitalization of the Delaware River waterfront and make it a true destination for both area residents and the broader region.”
Durst bought the 1.6-acre, formerly city-owned lot between Vine and Callowhill Streets on North Christopher Columbus Boulevard, for $10 million in January 2020 in a deal with the Delaware River Waterfront Corp., or DRWC. The quasi-governmental agency oversees publicly owned land along central Philadelphia’s eastern waterfront.
The property, which had long been run as a public parking lot by the DRWC, entombed intact structures from its time as a shipyard starting in the late 17th century. Those artifacts include a slipway thought to be the only example of its kind on the East Coast.
The parcel section slated as open space, which includes gardens to capture rainwater runoff and a playground, was located to avoid disturbing the most historically significant portions of the West Shipyard, as the archaeological site is known, Durst said.
The project is also oriented to improve access to the historic Wood Street steps, the only surviving example of 10 passageways to the waterfront commissioned by William Penn in the early 1700s, the company said.
The release did not include dates for when construction is scheduled to begin or when the building is to open.
The site is directly across the street from the assemblage of piers that Durst acquired in 2017, which it has yet to begin developing. Those piers currently house waterfront restaurants including Dave & Buster’s and Morgan’s Pier.
Last year, Durst was chosen to redevelop Penn’s Landing, winning the job over a competing bid by the Philadelphia 76ers to build a basketball arena.
Under its $2.2 billion plan, the family-run development group proposes 12 new towers of homes, shops, and offices on either side of the four-acre park being planned over I-95 between Chestnut and Walnut Streets.