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Developer wants to break height limit on Philly's Delaware River waterfront

Artist's rendering of Liberty on the River proposal as seen from planned central driveway.
Artist's rendering of Liberty on the River proposal as seen from planned central driveway.Read moreBarton Partners

The developer behind the most ambitious proposal yet for Philadelphia's Delaware River waterfront wants to get high with a little help from City Council.

To seek support for an ordinance that would shatter the waterfront area's building-height limits, executives with developer K4 LLC visited a South Philadelphia community near its proposed complex of townhouses and residential high-rises, called Liberty on the River.

"There's a financial threshold that we need to meet," Kozero said in an interview Wednesday after the first of what is expected to be several presentations to Pennsport Civic Association members. "For us, going higher is better than going squatter."

The proposal calls for 10 residential high-rises and about 100 townhouses encompassing up to 2,000 units around a broad throughway that originates on Columbus Boulevard, across the street from an I-95 ramp. Two narrower east-west throughways to the north would provide more links for the public between Columbus Boulevard and the river. Shops and restaurants are planned for the ground floor of each residential tower, with several decks of parking on the floors immediately over that retail space.

During Wednesday's Pennsport meeting, which lasted well over an hour, community members seemed noncommittal about the plan, asking pointed questions about construction timing, parking quotas, traffic management, and benefits for the surrounding neighborhood.