Celebrating Earth Day: PIDC Helps Create a Sustainable Future

by Rachel Hazzard
April 22, 2024

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Earth Day is celebrated every year on April 22nd to bring attention to our environment and encourage individuals, small businesses, and large corporations to contribute to sustainability and environmental protection. It’s a day to celebrate the beauty of our planet and recommit ourselves to protecting the Earth from human threats like deforestation, pollution, and climate change.

PIDC is working to help build a greener city that will promote sustainable solutions for generations to come. Check out some of the projects PIDC has contributed to that are changing the landscape of Philadelphia for the better.

Stormwater Management at the South Philadelphia Sport Complex

PIDC is currently facilitating a multi-phase stormwater management project at the Philadelphia Sport Complex, home to the City’s four major professional sports teams. In partnership with the Philadelphia Water Department, these projects will transform the landscape around Citizens Bank Park, allowing them to capture and reuse stormwater while reducing flooding, erosion, and infrastructure damage. The primary contractor on the project, Torrado Construction, is a home-grown, minority certified, commercial construction firm and PIDC client. Construction is scheduled to begin soon, and when complete, will have greened 132 acres. 

Sustainable Initiatives at the Navy Yard

Since acquiring the Navy Yard in 2000, PIDC is committed to including sustainability and resiliency in its redevelopment efforts. In order to put sustainability at the forefront of development, PIDC requires the design and construction of high-performance, sustainable buildings at the Navy Yard, primarily through LEED (Leadership in Environmental and Energy Design) certification. In total, 85% of new buildings constructed since 2006 are LEED certified buildings, including Philadelphia’s first developer-owned LEED Platinum building built in 2005 (One Crescent Drive) and Philadelphia’s first double LEED Platinum building built in 2013 (Five Crescent Drive).

The Navy Yard will pursue the first LEED GOLD neighborhood in Philadelphia, a program which creates more sustainable, well-connected neighborhoods, looking beyond the scale of buildings to consider entire communities.

This 1,200-acre campus boasts five parks and 20+ acres of park space, and is one of only six arboretums in Philadelphia. The campus has a mile of waterfront trail, three Indego bike stations, and the region’s first autonomous vehicle (AV) shuttle, an electric, zero-emissions shuttle that will reduce the use of single-occupancy vehicles, lessen congestion, and decrease carbon emissions in the neighborhood. 

Greening & Beautifying Philadelphia

Tree Planting

As climate change continues to affect our planet, increasing our City’s tree coverage is critical to addressing the “heat island” effect, which causes urban areas to experience higher temperatures than surrounding areas. Neighborhoods with less trees can be up to 22 degrees hotter. And black and brown communities are disproportionately affected by climate and environmental impacts.

PIDC worked closely with the Office of City Councilmember Katherine Gilmore-Richardson, the Philadelphia Department of Parks and Recreation, and the Philadelphia Department of Commerce on the development of the Philly Tree Fund bill, which aims to increase tree preservation and planting requirements by requiring developers to replace trees that were cut down or pay a fee if they do not replace trees cut down during development.

Bridesburg Riverfront Park

Construction on the Bridesburg Riverfront Park began in October 2023. PIDC structured industrial projects that created the 10-acres for the new park, which will provide open space on the river for a community that has been cut off from the riverfront. The park will incorporate sustainable practices to filter stormwater, reduce runoff, and encourage pollinators. The park is anticipated to be open to the public in early 2025.

Blossom at Bartram Complete Streets

PIDC is working with SEPTA on the Blossom at Bartram Complete Streets project in Kingsessing, Southwest Philadelphia to make the corridor cleaner, greener, and safer. We played a key role in helping SEPTA secure $25 million in federal RAISE grant funding for trolley modernization and complete streets improvements on nearly four miles of streets in Southwest Philadelphia.

The project will be implemented over a corridor that spans from the intersection of South 49th Street and Woodland Avenue to the intersection of South 61st Street and Lindbergh Boulevard, as well as South 51st and 56th Streets from Grays Avenue and Lindbergh Boulevard eastward. It will improve safety and mobility for residents, workers, and visitors to the area, including transit users, pedestrians, and cyclists, encouraging more sustainable methods of transportation and improving  access to the Schuylkill River.

61st Street Connector Project 

PIDC’s 61st Street Connector project will increase public access to and utilization of the Bartram’s Mile portion of the Schuylkill River Trail. By connecting the southern terminus of the trail to 61st Street, the Project will enable trail users to access Bartram’s Mile from 61st street, which will allow more people to enjoy the fishing piers, public plazas, and waterfront access that this park provides.

Environmental Assessments for PIDC Clients

Polluted and contaminated tracts of land, known as Brownfields, can be valuable targets for redevelopment. Philadelphia has thousands of acres of brownfields, with many close to transit corridors and waterfronts. In an effort to clean up these spaces, PIDC is using an EPA Brownfields Assessment grant to support environmental assessments for PIDC clients completing due diligence on industrial, commercial and mixed-use properties throughout the city. These assessments are typically required by lenders to mitigate risk, and their cost can be prohibitive to small companies with limited capital.

To date, eight clients across a range of industries have been matched with these funds.

Check out other sustainable businesses changing our city.

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