Title: Liberty on the River
Project: Residential, Hotel, Retail
Architect: Barton Partners
Developer: K4 LLC
Location: Columbus Blvd. between Washington Ave and Reed St.
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
Rental Building 1: 23 floors
Hotel Building: 22 floors
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.