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summersm343 Sep 16, 2016 1:30 AM

PHILADELPHIA | Liberty on the River | 10 towers | 428 - 260 FT | 34 - 22 FLOORS
Title: Liberty on the River
Project: Residential, Hotel, Retail
Architect: Barton Partners
Developer: K4 LLC
Location: Columbus Blvd. between Washington Ave and Reed St.
Neighborhood: Pennsport
District: South Philadelphia
Floors: 34, 34, 23, 23, 23, 23, 23, 22, 22, 22 floors
Height: 428, 428, 290, 290, 285, 285, 285, 260, 260, 250 feet

Phase 1
Rental Building 1: 23 floors
Hotel Building: 22 floors

Future Phases
Senior Living Building: 34 floors
Rental Building 2: 34 floors
Rental Building 3: 23 floors
Rental Building 4: 22 floors
Condo Building 1: 23 floors
Condo Building 2: 23 floors
Condo Building 3: 23 floors
Condo Building 4: 22 floors

Developer wants to get high, literally, on Philly's central Delaware waterfront


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.

The ordinance would tweak regulations adopted three years ago that govern development along the central Delaware riverfront. Jeffery Kozero, K4's managing member, said he needs to be able to build higher than currently is permitted to generate enough floor area for the project to be financially feasible.

"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."

Far to the north, near Spring Garden Street, Jefferson Apartment Group and Haverford Properties plan to build about 550 units of housing and 30,000 square feet of retail on a property known as Festival Pier, where concerts now take place.

Just to the south of K4's land, on the tract where a Foxwoods casino had once been planned, developer Bart Blatstein has proposed apartments and townhouses fronted by a convenience store with gas pumps, plus a large supermarket.

The K4 plan covers nearly all the land east of South Columbus Boulevard between Washington Avenue and Reed Street. The Rockville, Md.-based developer acquired 18 acres there last year from Sheet Metal Workers Local 19 and is negotiating with the union to purchase an additional eight-acre parcel, which is partly covered by its meeting hall, Kozero said.

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 exit. 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.

The first phase of construction, which K4 said may begin as soon as the spring, involves a 22-story, 264-unit apartment building with ground-floor retail and a 23-story, 200- to 220-guest-room hotel, said Seth Shapiro, a principal with Barton Partners architects, which is designing the project.

K4 expects to get automatic permission to build the first two towers by tapping density bonuses under the zoning code for including ground-floor retail and open space, and for selling a riverfront easement to the Delaware River Waterfront Corp. for a cycling and walking trail, Shapiro said.

But the later towers, which may soar up to 34 stories, are higher than can be managed under current zoning. That's why K4 is asking City Councilman Mark Squilla, whose district includes the site, to sponsor legislation that would give the developer additional bonuses for including the east-west throughways that ease public access to the riverfront trail.

hammersklavier Sep 16, 2016 4:21 AM

4.5% chance of happening.

Cro Burnham Sep 16, 2016 11:18 AM

Another one of those silly concepts that briefly blips into the news buzz once a decade or so mainly to alert the rest of us that this cycle is fading.


christof Sep 16, 2016 11:28 AM

Guess this means we are reaching the peak of this economic cycle. This usually occurs when high rise residents are proposed for the Delaware River. Expect a recession within 2 years.


Milksteak Sep 16, 2016 11:39 AM

It would be cool if it happened...although I can't say I would want to live there.

Plokoon11 Sep 16, 2016 12:18 PM

What is up with the obsession about. "Oh no I guess this means the boom is overzzz."

christof Sep 16, 2016 12:27 PM

Many of us remember the 2006-08 cycle. Also, for those following the overall economy, this cycle is near the end.

McBane Sep 16, 2016 1:01 PM

I think this location is great for this type of project. I'm not sure that the Columbus Blvd will ever be developed in a way that people mistake it for one of Center City's intimate streets. The city can try as will but it can't control the fact that most properties are too large for small-scale organic development; the highway-like, anti-pedestrian feel of Columbus Blvd; or the way in which 95 cuts off the area from the rest of Center City.

I could really envision a Reston Town Center type development working here (including some office space). Is that type of development (with their banal architecture and chain restaurants) truly urban and unique? No but I think it fits here and would appeal to certain people.

That said, this is most likely a pipe dream.

Flyers2001 Sep 16, 2016 1:18 PM

I feel if people ever want to have Columbus Blvd the way they vision it, they need people living there. Right now its very auto centric. Nothing is ever good enough, so they continue to shoot down every project, delaying the rebirth of the waterfront.

I'm growing gray with the constant delays. I was in college when the plans started about turning the waterfront into something magical, maybe they will take the first step when my kids are college. :yuck:

summersm343 Sep 16, 2016 3:26 PM


Originally Posted by Plokoon11 (Post 7563805)
What is up with the obsession about. "Oh no I guess this means the boom is overzzz."

Yep. It's damn annoying honestly haha.

summersm343 Sep 16, 2016 3:29 PM

More renderings posted in the article

summersm343 Sep 16, 2016 4:24 PM

Cool fly-through video rendering of the project:

Insoluble Sep 16, 2016 5:31 PM

Wow, those renderings are a special kind of ugly. So what do we think here folks? Are they trying to acquire the land, get approvals, and flip? Or are they just completely incompetent like the Renaissance Plaza folks. Either way this was good for a laugh on a Friday afternoon.

Human Scale Jan 24, 2017 2:10 AM

The team behind this project is motivated. Sorry can't give a source. But very motivated.

Knight Hospitaller Jan 24, 2017 2:49 AM

^ That's encouraging. Let's hope that the other requisites like ability and financing are also present (cf. Bart "Sky Village" Blatstein).

boxbot Jan 24, 2017 3:26 AM

Original pictures disappeared:

cafeguy Jan 24, 2017 3:43 AM

Let me be the first, well probably not the first, and probably not the last...Fuck Blatstein. If they can propose this urban development (regardless of the facade design), he can come up with something better than a gas station.

Knight Hospitaller Jan 24, 2017 4:36 AM

God bless 'em if they can pull off "Miami on Delaware." I don't ever see Delaware Ave. being thoroughly integrated into the city fabric, so standalone developments for a standalone area are fine by me. - As for Blatstein's gas stations and Aldi's they have their place, but not as the gateway to the river. Blatstein seems to lack vision (which is not the same thing as being given to fantasy).

1487 Jan 24, 2017 1:05 PM

well we will always have the renderings, if nothing else

thisisforreal Jan 24, 2017 1:54 PM

For a brief moment, I imagined that I was in charge of marketing and sales for this project. I might have gotten an ulcer in those 2 seconds.

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