by Lashay Smith
August 6, 2018

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The Lower Schuylkill is one of Philadelphia’s oldest and most developed industrial corridors. Once a vibrant hub of heavy industry, the Lower Schuylkill was hit hard by the contraction of the industrial sector in the latter half of the 20th century. Despite these challenges, the Lower Schuylkill’s strategic location, transportation assets, industrial character, and zoning provide a compelling foundation for economic revitalization and transformation of this area.

In 2013, spurred by the opportunities identified in An Industrial Land & Market Strategy, Philadelphia 2035, and multiple other plans and studies, PIDC, PCPC, and the Department of Commerce partnered with the William Penn Foundation and PennPraxis to develop a comprehensive master plan to transform the Lower Schuylkill into a vibrant, 21st-century industrial campus featuring an array of businesses and jobs.

Since the adoption of the Lower Schuylkill Master Plan, PIDC, along with the City and its partners, have been dedicated to making the early investments to spur development and additional investment in the 3,700-acre industrial district. Since the plan’s adoption, more than 40 acres of contaminated sites have been cleaned up, 64 new companies and 266 new employees have been established, 1 mile of new riverfront trail and 4 acres of new riverfront greenspace has been created, and nearly $100 million from public & private sources has been invested.

Some highlights of development have been the University of Pennsylvania’s Pennovation Works and the expansion of greenspace and riverfront trail to the western bank of the river. Pennovation Works is an innovative blend of offices, labs, and production space, which serve as a dynamic anchor for job growth in the Innovation District. Bartram’s Mile is a recreational trail that connects Bartram’s Garden to the city and provides a green space amenity for the nearby Kingsessing neighborhood.

Read more about the Lower Schuylkill River initiative here:

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