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Camden unveils plans for mixed-use development along the Delaware

10/24/2015 | Real Estate Blog

For years, Philadelphia’s neighbor across the river, Camden, has suffered from unprecedented levels of urban blight, poverty and, of course, crime. Indeed, the city was named the most violent in the U.S. in the not-so-distant past.

As discouraging as this has been, the good news is that things finally appear to be on the upswing in Camden, as violent crime has dropped by 7 percent in 2015 and the last two years have seen double-digit declines. Furthermore, the city has taken steps to shutter failing public schools and saw its poverty rate decline by 6.1 percent in 2014.

While everything from enhanced law enforcement efforts to demolition programs have helped drive this revival, experts are also pointing to recent corporate relocations and commercial real estate development made largely possible by tax incentives offered by the New Jersey Economic Development Authority.

In fact, a group of developers, and both local and state officials gathered just a few weeks ago to announce plans for what they are calling The Camden Waterfront, an ambitious undertaking that they said would not only bolster the local economy, but also serve to expand Philadelphia’s central business district across the water.

Reports indicate that construction on The Camden Waterfront would commence in the fall of 2016 and be completed by 2019. The project, which will be built on 16 acres of what is now a parking lot located south of the Benjamin Franklin Bridge, would measure 1.7 million square feet, and include four office towers, a 120-room hotel, parking garages, 27,000 square feet for retail establishments and 325 residential units.  

According to the developer behind the project, which would be accessible via the Patco rail line, investors have yet to make any firm financial commitments. However, several have already expressed interest and are waiting to learn whether the Economic Development Authority would approve the necessary tax credits before proceeding.

It’s highly encouraging to see Camden continue its resurgence. Here’s hoping this massive plan to restore the city’s waterfront proves effective.