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‘Lower Schuylkill’ presents opportunities, perhaps challenges, for development

5/29/2012 | Real Estate Blog

According to Philadelphia development planners, the six miles along the Schuylkill River, from University City to Philadelphia International Airport, is valuable from a commercial development perspective and represents 68 percent of the city’s underutilized and vacant industrial land. At present, the land is filled with refineries, utilities, scrap yards and freight rail.

City officials, including the City Planning Commission, the Commerce Department, and Philadelphia Industrial Development Corporation, are currently working on a master plan to develop the 4,100 acres into a center for business, technology development companies, industry and University-sponsored research facilities.

A major aim of the development is to replace jobs that were lost after a number of companies shut down, relocated or cut back over the years. At this point, the primary industry inhabiting the six-mile section of land is petroleum refining.

The master plan, which is set to be released in the fall, includes plans for new city streets, extension of the river trail, and construction of a pedestrian bridge. The plans also propose to connect a number of university campuses with walking paths. The planners also seek to leverage existing rail, barge and pipeline access for the attraction of more petroleum and refining business. Planners also hope to identify tracts of land for industrial and commercial development.

It isn’t clear at this point when development efforts will begin, but there appears to be a lot of potential from a development perspective. No doubt, the opportunities will also present challenges-and perhaps disagreements-for developers and business.

Source:, “Planning new life for the ‘Lower Schuylkill,” Linda Loyd, May 28, 2012