Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Blumenfeld's "New City"

Check out Eric Blumenfeld's plan for a new riverfront development he calls "an entire city" on the Delaware. With an agreement to develop twenty acres of the Delaware River around Washington Avenue, Blumenfeld regailed the visions of his father, the late developer Jack Blumenfeld, of changing times and urban needs, putting residents where they work and play, essentially eliminating a lengthy commute to King of Prussia and Cherry Hill.

It's a lofty goal but one he's capable of. With Center City's real estate spilling over onto the Schuylkill Banks, even to the west banks of the Schuylkill, Society Hill's finely scaled, historic, and desirable real estate has little room to grow. With other cities bridging the highway gaps between their urban core and their rivers (think Seattle), the Delaware River remains detached. Although we've routinely seen pipe dreams pitched at waterfront parks and grassy attractions, we've seen little proposals that put people on the river, and more importantly, get people spending money on the river.

While the current zoning only allows 200 feet, it's not hard to imagine change coming with a promising proposal, if more than 200 feet would even be necessary. Twenty acres is a lot of land when it comes to urban space. While no renderings have been released, it's amazing to imagine Blumenfeld's "new city" on the Delaware redefining the waterfront and our city's skyline.

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