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Philly's Trump Tower site is For Sale

Colliers seeks buyer for 2-acre Pier 35-1/2

The vacant site of the 45-story "Trump Tower" project, approved for the Delaware River waterfront at 709-717 North Penn St. north of Center City Philadelphia but never built, is for sale, by U.S. Bank and other disappointed lenders who hoped to finance the project. Broker Michael Barmash at Colliers International, Philadelphia, has the listing. "A call for offers is due by March 2," Barmash told me. "We don't have an official asking price."

The two-acre site, formerly the city's Pier 35-1/2, "is zoned CMX-3, Community Commercial Mixed Use District, suitable for a variety of uses, most notably: multifamily, retail, office, medical or hotel," though Colliers says apartments are still the most likely use for the site.

The Trump-brand project was one of the grand high rise proposals killed off by the financial crisis of 2008 and the following recession. "However, the project's approvals may still be valid until 7/2/2016 based upon subsequent legislation (Pennsylvania's Development Permit Extension Act) which was passed in July of 2013," according to Colliers.

A new building would also qualify for Philadelphia's real estate tax abatements, under city policy that favors the builders, landlords and tenants of new construction over existing property owners.

Question: is Penn Street and the riverfront at the pier site part of "Fishtown" or "Northern Liberties"? I think of it as Fishtown since it's close to Penn Treaty Park. But Bardash tells me that it's now considered Northern Liberties, which old maps show did indeed reach the Delaware at that point, back in the days when it was a separate municipality of Philadelphia pre-1854.

UPDATE: The site is officially "Northern Liberties," says Matt Ruben, president of the Northern Liberties Neighbors Association. "On the waterfront the North-South dividing line between Northern Liberties and Fishtown is Laurel Street. This is the official border in our Bylaws, and is recognized" by Fishtown and the city, too, "as far as I know."

Ruben adds, "While Laurel doesn't actually run across Delaware Ave, if it did it would cross somewhere through the southern portion of SugarHouse, which is north of the Trump site (and of Waterfront Square, which is also in N.L., and many of whose residents are active parts of our neighborhood and the NLNA). Hope this helps!"