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14 development projects that will transform Philadelphia

The Divine Lorraine on North Broad


Comcast Innovation and Technology Center

Penn's Landing Master Plan rendering

Penn's master plan for the lower Schuylkill

Penn's master plan for the lower Schuylkill

Paine's Park

A rendering of Rail Park

Rendering of the 13th Street overpass at night

Reading Viaduct

Renderings of the Rail Park

Rendering for 3601 Market St

The empty lot at Broad and Washington

A city is an ever-changing organism -- buildings are erected, structures are torn down, spaces are vacated and then revived. Philadelphia, of course, is no exception.

Flying Kite has compiled a list of 14 projects (in no particular order) that have the city all hot and bothered. Some are large, some are small; some are around the corner, others still years away. All of them should have radical impacts on both their neighborhoods and Philadelphia as a whole.

Rodin Square brings Whole Foods and high-end housing to the Parkway

This megaproject overlooking the Benjamin Franklin Parkway (501 N. 22nd Street) broke ground in August. Not only is it the next step towards more residential density in Logan Square, but it will also feature globs of amenities for those arriving residents.

The $160 million mixed-use development will include a 10-story, 293-unit luxury apartment complex called The Dalian on Fairmount, and boast a 55,000-square-foot Whole Foods Market (featuring a 5,000 square foot café and two-story glass façade) and an 11,000-square-foot CVS/Caremark.

The project is full of splashy details, including 500 parking spots (for residents and shoppers) and a huge green roof terrace complete with a swimming pool.

New life at the Divine Lorraine

While the resuscitation of the Divine Lorraine could be a huge economic boon to North Broad Street, it will definitely be a powerful emotional boost to the preservationist in all of us -- it's impossible to walk by this gorgeous relic and not pray for its salvation. 

That dream is closer than ever thanks to developer Eric Blumenfeld, who plans a mix of restaurants and residential. Scaffolding is up. It's happening. Still not excited enough? Check out this drone-shot video of the historic hotel (via Curbed Philly).

The South Philly Food Co-op will feed the neighborhood

If you're a South Philly resident (which this editor happens to be) then this one is close to your heart -- and feels a lifetime in the making. The idea was born in 2010 has been gathering steam ever since via casual neighborhood gatherings, community events and lots of eye-catching stickers. 

This year, the Co-op achieved its goal of 600 member-owners and began the search for a store location. Members of the Real Estate Committee remain tight-lipped about the options as hungry South Philadelphians are practicing patience.

The Frankford Chocolate Factory offers immense opportunity in Graduate Hospital

This massive Washington Avenue property, which takes up an entire city block, is finally on the market. Perched between the rapidly changing Graduate Hospital and Point Breeze neighborhoods, the possibilities are endless. 

According to the Philadelphia Business Journal, the 240,682-square-foot former Frankford Chocolate Factory site sits on 2.3 acres. A portion of the building dates to 1865, and in recent years, the property has been mired in a complicated legal dispute related to the estate of late New York-based Vietnamese developer Tran Dinh Truong. Now, finally, a court is liquidating that estate. The property should fetch between $5 and $10 million dollars.

ReNewbold hits the halfway mark

If you're looking for a sign that Newbold (the neighborhood to the west of Passyunk Square and south of Point Breeze) has officially arrived, look no further than this massive residential development from LPMG and Postgreen Homes. Phase one has been completed and is sold out. Phase two -- featuring seven 3-story homes and a corner building with two condos and a retail space -- recently broke ground.

The Comcast Innovation & Technology Center will tower above us all

This list can't exist without the new stud in our skyline. The Comcast Innovation & Technology Center will cost $1.2 billion and (according to predictions) create thousands of jobs during construction. And don't forget about that top-floor Four Seasons restaurant boasting 360 degree city views.

Delaware River Master Plan is catnip to dreamers

Few renderings have set more hearts atwitter than this depiction of the reimagined Delaware Waterfront. The project, sheparded by the Central Delaware Advocacy Group, features a massive green space along with riverfront residential and commercial development -- you need a place to stock that picnic basket. The jewel of the plan, an 11-acre park, would stretch from Front Street to the river, ending in a large public space featuring an amphitheater.

Pennovation Works changes the landscape of the Lower Schuylkill

As Flying Kite wrote this week, this huge University of Pennsylvania-led project will bring high-tech development to the Lower Schuylkill. Pair that with the upcoming CHOP expansion -- which features a 23-story, half-a-million-square-foot tower -- and you've got big changes on the way for this post-industrial area adjacent to some of the city's fastest-growing neighborhoods. 

Schuylkill Banks marches on

One of the happiest urban planning successes of recent years has been the bustling Schuylkill Banks greenway, which connects to the Kelly Drive recreational trail, running along the river past the Art Museum and the recently-completed Paine's Park to the just-opened boardwalk that feeds onto the South Street Bridge. 

Fortunately, there's more exciting stuff to come with the connection further south to the Grays Ferry Crescent and a planned pedestrian/bike-only river crossing. Each section of the trail is another feather in the city's cap, and bodes well for future waterfront-oriented development.

The Reading Viaduct will happen

Speaking of exciting green space projects, the Reading Viaduct Rail Park continues to inch closer to reality. Philadelphia's answer to the world's most successful elevated rail park (cough...High Line...cough), this project in the Callowhill neighborhood would provide an exciting reason for tourists and locals alike to venture north of Vine Street and would be an ideal example of the reuse/rebuild ethos in action. 

West Market Street residential development

The stretch of Market Street in University City is undergoing a staggering transformation from underutilized office corridor to mixed-use mecca for tech and education. Most notably, residential units are being built at 3601 Market -- a project from the University City Science Center boasting 362 units on 28 floors. The end goal is a 24-7 neighborhood populated with young professionals, students and tech leaders.

An old brush factory to become symbol of the new South Philly

A vacant former paintbrush factory in South Philly will be transformed into 151 units of high-density residential housing (the Zoning Board of Adjustment unanimously approved the plan in September). The property has been empty since 2005. Dubbed Artisan Lofts, the complex will include 62 parking spaces and 24 bicycle parking spaces. This is a new sort of project for the neighborhood and could be a sign of things to come south of Snyder, with buzz and dollars from gentrifying Passyunk Square extending southward.

Filling the Mt. Sinai-sized hole

Speaking of large residential South Philly projects, the vacant Mt. Sinai Hospital on the border of Pennsport and Dickinson Square West has long been an eyesore and dead space in the tight-knit community. Now development is on the horizon. The design process has been a bit bumpy, with plenty of input from the local community (and...wait for it...parking battles). It's a complicated property, and plans call for both adaptive reuse of the existing main building and new-construction townhomes. No word yet on an official groundbreaking date, but we'll keep you posted.

14. Bart Blatstein comes to Broad and Washington

Here's another project that is sure to inspire a lot of community conversation. Local mega-developer Bart Blatstein of Piazza fame bought the vacant lot at this busy intersection earlier this year. He originally announced plans for a 400,000 square-foot low-rise complex and then changed directions in a big way, releasing a design featuring a 30-story, one million square-foot mixed-use project housing 800 apartments and amenities galore.

The next step involves soliciting neighborhood input. According to Passyunk Post, Blatstein will present his plans at the monthly HEC meeting on November 17 at 7 p.m. at the Hawthorne Cultural Center (1200 Carpenter Street). 

LEE STABERT is managing editor of Flying Kite Media and Keystone Edge. Let her know about all the projects missing from this list @stabert.

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