May 20, 2012
With its roots in the first wave of industrialization in the U.S., the Lower Schuylkill River is among the oldest industrial districts in the country. This 4,100-acre area was once a national center of petroleum refining and manufacturing – home to industrial giants like Sun Oil and DuPont. However, like many older industrial areas, the Lower Schuylkill was hit hard by the relocation of many facilities in the decades following the Second World War. Environmental contamination, aging infrastructure, and access challenges have deterred meaningful redevelopment, resulting in a district marked by extensive vacancy and under-utilization.
The Lower Schuylkill, however, does have features which make it a strong candidate for redevelopment into a 21st Century industrial district. It is located adjacent to several vibrant areas which drive Philadelphia’s diverse economy: University City – home to several world-class universities and research centers; Philadelphia International Airport and its 500,000 domestic and international flights annually; and The Navy Yard – a dynamic commercial and industrial campus which is home to the national center for energy efficient building research, education and commercialization.
The Lower Schuylkill district is industrially-zoned and has parcels with the scale required by modern industry. In addition, the area has access to the major interstate highways of I-95 and I-76 and is served by both passenger and freight rail. Finally, the district straddles a riverfront that is increasingly being rediscovered as a recreational amenity thanks to the extension of the Schuylkill River Trail that will provide connections to both residents and employees to important park space along the river.
To learn more about the Lower Schuylkill River Master Plan, please contact Kate McNamara at 215-496-8174 or ">.