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summersm343 Jun 17, 2016 1:17 PM

PHILADELPHIA | 30th Street Station District | 1,200 FT - 180 FT | 85 - 12 FLOORS

19 towers over 12 floors - Estimated Heights

1,200 FT - 85 FLOORS - Transit Terminal Tower - 2901 Arch Street
705 FT - 47 FLOORS - Cira II - 3001 John F. Kennedy Blvd
670 FT - 45 FLOORS - 2928 Race Street
605 FT - 40 FLOORS - 3100 Cherry Street
590 FT - 40 FLOORS - 2929 Race Street
570 FT - 38 FLOORS - 3000 Baring Street
435 FT - 30 FLOORS - 3100 Winter Street
405 FT - 27 FLOORS - 3120 Race Street
380 FT - 25 FLOORS - 3101 Powelton Ave
375 FT - 25 FLOORS - 3001 Winter Street
330 FT - 22 FLOORS - 3100 Baring Street
320 FT - 20 FLOORS - 3000 Cherry Street
315 FT - 20 FLOORS - 3020 Race Street
305 FT - 20 FLOORS - 3001 Powelton Ave
295 FT - 19 FLOORS - 3100 Hamilton Street
255 FT - 17 FLOORS - 3100 Powelton Ave
225 FT - 15 FLOORS - 3101 Race Street
210 FT - 14 FLOORS - 3100 Spring Garden Street
180 FT - 12 FLOORS - 3125 Baring Street

$6.5B price tag for 35-year University City overhaul


Amtrak and its partners in the proposed redevelopment of a massive swath around 30th Street Station in University City say the decades-long plan - including partially capping the adjacent rail yard - will involve $6.5 billion in infrastructure funding and private investment.

The financial projection is part of the planning team's final blueprint for the 175-acre site extending northeast from 30th Street Station, to be released Thursday morning.

Publication of the 30th Street Station District Plan ends a two-year, $5.25 million study led by Amtrak, Drexel University, Brandywine Realty Trust, SEPTA, and PennDot for the area between Walnut and Spring Garden Streets east of Drexel's campus and Powelton Village.

Concrete steps can now be taken to realize the plan, said Rina Cutler, Amtrak's senior director for major station planning.

The 35-year plan to build a dense urban neighborhood, largely over what are now 88 acres of rail yards, will require about $2 billion in infrastructure investment, according to a plan summary. That spending on roads, bridges, parks, and transit would enable about $4.5 billion in private investment by developers of office towers, residential buildings, hotels, and other projects.

Anticipated is about 18 million square feet of new development, the equivalent of nearly 15 new Comcast Towers, including enough housing to accommodate up to 10,000 residents. The first commercial space includes about 1.2 million square feet planners hope will be occupied by a single corporate, commercial, or institutional tenant that will anchor the development, though none has yet been secured.

The station district plan's earliest steps include a decision by SEPTA on the precise placement of an underground concourse linking its subways and trolleys with a 1930s station building, Cutler said.

Amtrak, meanwhile, will soon begin taking steps with PennDot to allow relocation of a Schuylkill Expressway ramp to accommodate an intercity bus terminal north of the station, she said. The rail corporation is preparing to start planning the landscaped, pedestrian-friendly plaza that will surround the station.

"Where we are now is this great inflection point," said Keith Orris, Drexel's senior vice president for economic development.

Later parts of the plan involve the staged capping of the rail yards, where 10 million square feet of the new development is anticipated, as well as a skyscraper beside the planned bus station.

Another tower is planned on an Amtrak-owned parcel behind 30th Street Station, where Brandywine once discussed building an office project called Cira Two.

Brandywine's nearby projects include the Cira Centre office building north of the station and the 49-story FMC Tower being completed to the south. The Radnor-based developer also is a partner with Drexel on the $3.5 billion Schuylkill Yards redevelopment project on a cluster of mostly university-owned properties southwest of the planned station district.

The former Cira Two parcel now sits at the intersection of the two large redevelopment proposals, Cutler said.

"The market will ultimately dictate what goes there, but we think it's a very valuable development site," she said. "It really is the linchpin of the entire district."
Read more at:

Phase I
Schuylkill Yards - 8 towers
30th Street Station improvements
Bus Terminal
Cira II - 705 FT

Phase II
Arch and Race Street Pedestrian Bridges
3000 Cherry Street - 320 FT
3100 Cherry Street - 605 FT
3020 Race Street - 315 FT
3120 Race Street - 405 FT
4 other buildings under 12 floors tall

Phase III
Race Street Pedestrian Bridge to Center City
Schuylkill River West Banks
2928 Race Street - 670 FT

Phase IV
Powelton Ave bridge
Schuylkill Bluffs park Phase I
2929 Race Street - 590 FT
3101 Race Street - 225 FT
3100 Winter Street - 435 FT
3001 Winter Street - 375 FT
3100 Powelton Ave - 255 FT
9 other buildings under 12 floors tall

Phase V
Transit Terminal Tower - 1200 FT

Phase VI
Baring St Bridge
Drexel Park extension
Schuylkill Bluffs park Phase 2
Schuylkill Bluffs pedestrian Bridge
3001 Powelton Ave - 305 FT
3101 Powelton Ave - 380 FT
3000 Baring St - 570 FT
3100 Baring St - 330 FT
5 other buildings under 12 floors

Phase VII
3125 Baring St - 180 FT
3100 Hamilton St - 295 FT
3100 Spring Garden St - 210 FT
6 other buildings under 12 floors

The phasing is shown in the video of the project starting at 3:17 here:


summersm343 Jun 17, 2016 2:22 PM

30th Street Station district should not be confused with Schuylkill Yards, which is a separate project. The link to that thread is here:

And here are some larger images:

Hudson11 Jun 17, 2016 2:37 PM

suddenly Philly just became a contender for the top 3 skylines in the USA for 2025

hammersklavier Jun 17, 2016 2:54 PM

I've been poring over the plan for the last 12 hours or so.

Two interesting tidbits:

- "Amtrak parcel at 30th & JFK" (i.e. the Cira II parcel) is shown suggesting hotel programming
- same parcel is identified as a "priority development parcel" in Phase I

Could this mean the Cira II parcel is developed cotermoniously with later SY phases?

Urbana Jun 17, 2016 3:26 PM

Can someone help me understand the status of both this and Schuylkill Yards. At first I thought they were both just visions, but it seems like people are taking them more seriously than that. I am just trying to get the full scope here so I know how excited to be.

gttx Jun 17, 2016 3:35 PM

Surprised no one has posted this semi-plan rendering. (I have no idea how to resize it)

hammersklavier Jun 17, 2016 3:41 PM


Originally Posted by Urbana (Post 7477634)
Can someone help me understand the status of both this and Schuylkill Yards. At first I thought they were both just visions, but it seems like people are taking them more seriously than that. I am just trying to get the full scope here so I know how excited to be.

SY is a very concrete development plan being spearheaded by Drexel and Brandywine. Its initial phases are supposed to be starting imminently.

Philly District 30 is the long-term, overarching development plan spearheaded mainly by Amtrak but including a very long list of partners (this includes Brandywine and Drexel). While the render porn aspects north of Arch aren't due to be realized until a 2025-2050 timeframe, its initial phases (reconfiguration and expansion of 30th Street Station) are also planned to start in relatively short order.

Actually, Philly District 30's Phase I is scheduled to be finished around the same time SY is. This is very much on purpose, as SY eats all the easy development parcels around the station, which in turn justifies the Amtrak overbuilds.

Think of where we are as analogous to the very very early parts of the Hudson Yards project ... more than a decade ago.

Flyers2001 Jun 17, 2016 3:41 PM


Originally Posted by Urbana (Post 7477634)
Can someone help me understand the status of both this and Schuylkill Yards. At first I thought they were both just visions, but it seems like people are taking them more seriously than that. I am just trying to get the full scope here so I know how excited to be.

Well the studies have been done and price tags are being placed. I would say the Schuylkill Yards project is much further along because the backing is there with Drexel. But to have some renderings and figures thrown around it makes things much more exciting.

gttx Jun 17, 2016 3:53 PM


Originally Posted by Urbana (Post 7477634)
Can someone help me understand the status of both this and Schuylkill Yards. At first I thought they were both just visions, but it seems like people are taking them more seriously than that. I am just trying to get the full scope here so I know how excited to be.

The short answer is that they are both long-term visions, but they also both have near-term projects that are already in motion.

For Schuylkill Yards, they are planning to break ground in the fall on Drexel Square, the renovation of the Bulletin Building, and an improved MFL head house. They already announced that the first office tower – across JFK from Bulletin – will be 2017/2018, depending on a tenant I suppose. Improvements on JFK will also be advancing.

For the District Plan (which technically includes Schuylkill Yards, by the way), the partner groups announced a series of next steps at the press event yesterday. These essentially reflect the near-term projects listed in the plan documents.
- Preliminary engineering on the MFL to station underground connection
- Further study of the new concourse where the valet garage is today
- Improved station retail
- Advancement of Station Plaza / expansion of the Porch
- Adjustment of expressway off-ramps and layout of bus terminal north of Arch Street
- Not mentioned was changes to Regional Rail access, but these are also coming with SEPTA Key (fare control gates) and likely re-opening the eastern mezzanine to access the tracks.

The rest of the project would still be called a “vision” at this point. But the idea is that these near-term projects continue to build momentum and value to attract the kind of tenants and investment needed for the vertical development. Once that happens, Schuylkill Yards will advance first, and likely the rail yards development (with the exception of maybe the area just north of the station around Cira Centre) would follow only once SY is complete.

It remains to be seen what sort of commitment the City will make towards accomplishing this project. They were not part of the team that sponsored this plan, but yesterday it seemed like they were embracing the plan. Let’s see if they step up with some of the infrastructure – would love to see western riverfront access and the bridge across the Schuylkill at Race Street happen sooner rather than later.

summersm343 Jun 17, 2016 4:31 PM


Originally Posted by Urbana (Post 7477634)
Can someone help me understand the status of both this and Schuylkill Yards. At first I thought they were both just visions, but it seems like people are taking them more seriously than that. I am just trying to get the full scope here so I know how excited to be.

I wouldn't call them visions... more like "long term development plans." Essentially, both developments will happen in some way, shape, or form, but the heights and designs may change or vary.

Basically, Schuylkill Yards is a long-term development between Brandywine and Drexel which will take place over the next 20 years.

The 30th Street Station District is a plan between Amtrak, Brandywine, Drexel, and multiple other large players and will be developed over the next 35 years.

So yes, each plan will happen in some way, shape or form - which is why everybody is excited about the plans. However, each project will be long term.

I mean, they spent several million dollars on just the planning for this development - so they better be serious.

summersm343 Jun 17, 2016 4:57 PM

30th Street Station District Green space renderings

Schuylkill Bluffs Park:

Highline Park:

Race Street Pedestrian Bridge:

summersm343 Jun 17, 2016 5:06 PM

Map labeling the separate parts of the project and Schuylkill Yards:

summersm343 Jun 17, 2016 5:08 PM

30th Street Station District Plan to cost $6.5B, add skyscraper to West Philly


A 2-year, $5.25 million study on the development of 175-acre site reportedly concluded it will cost roughly $6.5 billion to overhaul the 175-acre site that neighbors 30th Street Station.

The 30th Street Station District Plan, led by Amtrak, SEPTA, Brandywine Realty Trust, Drexel University and the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation, studied the proposed development of a huge part of West Philadelphia.

The plan would create a dense urban community, partially situated above 88 acres of rail yards, build an underground concourse between 30th Street Station and the nearby SEPTA subway station, and relocate the ramp to the Schuylkill Expressway to allow for a bus terminal that replaces the existing area where passengers wait for Megabus and others, according to the Inquirer.

The 35-year project also includes plans to upgrade the station's interior, add a surrounding plaza, and construct another skyscraper, the Inquirer reported.

Brandywine Realty Trust, which is responsible for the Cira Centre and has partnered with Drexel on the Schuylkill Yards project, must bid on the work, even though it was part of the study, according to the report.

summersm343 Jun 17, 2016 5:18 PM

30th Street Station Development Plans Announced


This morning, Amtrak, SEPTA and Drexel University officials unveiled plans for a massive transformation of the area around 30th Street Station.

The massive, multi-decade 30th Street Station District Plan would, when completed, turn the area around 30th Street Station into a second downtown for Philadelphia focused on the second-busiest station in the Amtrak system. That station, transformed into a multimodal transportation hub for the region, would serve as the linchpin of the planned development.

New office, retail and residential buildings containing 18 million square feet of total space and 40 acres of open space would be created under the plan, with most of the development privately financed. A total of $2 billion in public investment would leverage an additional $4.5 billion in private investment. These figures are on top of the $3.5 billion Drexel University and Brandywine Realty Trust have already pledged to see the Schuylkill Yards development, which Drexel President John Fry described as “a down payment” on the plan at this morning’s public unveiling, to completion.

Tony Coscia, chairman of Amtrak’s board of directors, said the development would capitalize on the mobility the transportation hub provides.The development’s backers estimate that 20 to 25 million passengers would pass through an expanded 30th Street Station annually.

In addition to serving as the main Amtrak intercity rail station for the region, 30th Street Station would also become the main intercity bus terminal via a new facility to be connected to the station’s north side. Building it will require relocating the ramps connecting Interstates 76 and 676 to the station, a process PennDOT Office of Penn Ports Director Jennie Granger said is just entering the feasibility-study phase.

Most of the private development beyond that announced as part of the Schuylkill Yards project would be built on a platform extending over the existing Powelton Yard and the tracks leading into 30th Street Station from the north. Local streets would be extended through the territory.

The project as outlined would be the single largest development project in the Commonwealth and turn West Philadelphia into a regional economic hub. Amtrak Executive Vice President for Northeast Corridor Business Development Steven Gardner said the project would create 22,000 construction jobs and another 10,000 permanent jobs and add 8,000 to 10,000 residents to the city’s population.

“This project, and I hate to use this word, trumps anything else now under way or proposed in the city,” said State Sen. Vincent Hughes.

This morning’s event was designed to build momentum for securing the necessary financing. “This has to start now. We can’t wait for 35 years,” Councilwoman Jannie Blackwell said in a promotional film Amtrak produced to showcase the development’s transformative potential. “Working together, we’re going to make this happen,” Granger said.

mmikeyphilly Jun 17, 2016 5:58 PM

^This is the same link that Summers posted, but I needed to directly quote from the article.
One of the things that will change (hopefully), is relocating the I-76 entrance ramp. That ramp has got to be one of the scariest place to enter. It's definitely a 2 hander on the steering wheel.
Traffic criss-crosses there. It's surprising that there's not a place where you can genuflect before entering. :worship:

gttx Jun 17, 2016 6:12 PM

Interactive renderings (!) Someone should do screen grabs of some of these, especially the outdoor ones showing new towers.

Bar above Main Hall of Station:

New "North Concourse":

Retail Corridor between North Waiting Room and new concourse:

Underground MFL connection:

Bus terminal:

Station Plaza @ JFK:

Station Plaza @ Market:

christof Jun 17, 2016 7:27 PM

We should take bets on when the first tower is built. My guess is that construction will start in the summer of 2030.

summersm343 Jun 17, 2016 7:38 PM


Originally Posted by christof (Post 7477976)
We should take bets on when the first tower is built. My guess is that construction will start in the summer of 2030.

Summer of 2021 - you heard it hear first :)

Urbanthusiat Jun 17, 2016 8:05 PM


Originally Posted by summersm343 (Post 7477983)
Summer of 2021 - you heard it hear first :)

I want to believe!

I've said it before, but this plan is HUGE. This project is only matched in scale and ambition by Hudson Yards in NYC. Besides that, I don't think there is another potential project in the U.S., and few even internationally, that have the sort of intermodal connectivity in a dense, urban setting. That this area can start from scratch so as to have consistency in planning throughout the whole area without having to know any buildings or displace anyone is another is fortunate. Brandywine has a good track record, and the institutional support from SEPTA, Amtrak, and Drexel make this whole thing really promising. I hope companies see the potential here and make it happen sooner rather than later.

volguus zildrohar Jun 17, 2016 8:35 PM

Sure the skyscrapers are nice and all but the best part of all of this is what they're planning to do at human scale. the general area of 30th Street has never been terribly accommodating to pedestrians and even rather decent efforts to place-make there like The Porch (awful name) still exist as an oasis in the midst of a swirl of traffic. Rebranding necessarily means recreating here. The renders of more appealing streetscape along 30th Street are encouraging as well as that ambitious connection to 30th St MFL/SST.

We've been fed tons of drawings of happy people frolicking in new parks under soaring towers before but I'm noticing a difference in the names of the entities involved from this latest imaginefest and those from years past...many private and quasi-public organizations are involved but nowhere among them will you find 'City of Philadelphia'. Perhaps that's why this seems so possible.

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