A development team plans a sprawling complex of apartment buildings and rowhouses on the vacant 30-acre waterfront lot straddling Fishtown and Port Richmond where a Wynn Philadelphia casino had been proposed.
The Concordia Group and D3 Real Estate Development are proposing about 850 apartment units spread across four seven-story buildings and almost 250 rowhouses at the former shipyard property along Beach Street, near East Cumberland Street. The team’s other projects include the Southwark on Reed townhouse complex where the Mount Sinai hospital once stood in South Philadelphia.
The structures are to be arranged along a new grid of streets to be built at the site, around a broad central greenway.
The proposal stakes out a new northern frontier for the residential development that’s been creeping up the Delaware River’s banks and could aid efforts by the Delaware River Waterfront Corp. (DRWC) to extend its walking and bike trail into new neighborhoods.
“Transforming a vacant, formerly industrial parcel into a dense, active development, the project will create a new center of gravity to the DRWC plan at the north, encouraging linkages along the entire waterfront,” the developers wrote in a presentation prepared for Philadelphia’s Civic Design Review (CDR) board.
The property — bounded by Schirra and Cumberland Streets, between Beach Street and the river — sits just south of a cluster of industrial buildings on the other side of I-95 from the Port Richmond Village shopping center, soon to be renamed Fishtown Crossing.
It was once part of the vast William Cramp & Sons Shipbuilding Co., which operated from 1830 until the end of World War II, producing battleships and naval cruisers.
Steve Wynn, who has since left his company in the wake of sexual misconduct allegations, had sought permission to build a $926 million casino at the site in 2013, pitting himself against others vying to build Philadelphia’s second gambling resort. He withdrew his proposal from consideration before a decision on the license was made.
Since then, development has accelerated in the nearby residential areas of Fishtown, Kensington, and Port Richmond, and along the waterfront.
From the rowhouse complex under construction about a mile to the south beside Penn Treaty Park, near SugarHouse Casino, down to the vacant tracts beside the big-box shopping district in Pennsport, the waterfront is dotted with development sites, including those controlled by real estate giant Durst Organization.
Concordia and D3 are also working to provide the DRWC with a 50-foot strip of land along the water’s edge, so the waterfront agency can build an extension of its trail on the property, D3 managing partner Greg Hill said by email. Under its current phases of construction, the DRWC’s trail only goes as far north as Penn Treaty Park.
Hill said his group has a deal to buy the property from New Hope builder James Anderson and hopes to present the project to the CDR board in July. The CDR panel offers nonbinding suggestions on Philadelphia’s biggest development proposals as part of the city’s building-approval process.
The developers said in their presentation that the project aims to link the waterfront with the Fishtown and Port Richmond rowhouse communities opposite I-95.
“Our project proposes to straddle this boundary with a uniquely hybrid community referencing the city’s urban rowhouse heritage while opening access to its historically closed riverfront — both for residents and the general public,” they wrote.