by PIDCphila
December 21, 2017

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By far the most exciting brownfield redevelopment in the Lower Schuylkill is the $37.5M “Pennovation Center” constructed by the University of Pennsylvania (Penn) in 2016. The project converted a brownfield industrial building and aged infrastructure into a stunning, LEED™ Goldcertified incubator and workspace, with 52,000SF of cutting-edge labs, robotics, inventor garages, and pitch spaces. Since opening, 64 companies and 266 entrepreneurs are using the space.

For decades, America’s manufacturing decline played out on the shores of Philadelphia’s Schuylkill River. Since 2013, PIDC and the City of Philadelphia (City) have worked to reverse that trend, starting with the Lower Schuylkill Master Plan, a 20 year, $400M revitalization initiative. New public investment is creating an “Innovation District” on the area closest to Philadelphia’s thriving university complex. With EPA support, PIDC is remediating 40 acres of brownfields in this area, while the City is investing $16M in recreation trails and greenspace.

The Pennovation Center is advancing Philadelphia’s goals for improving quality of life, reclaiming areas for development and open space, and protecting public health and the environment. The Pennovation Center project exemplifies the City’s economic redevelopment plan for the area, the EPA’s Brownfield objectives to remove critical barriers to redevelopment and reuse, and is the driver of greater things to come in the Innovation District.

Earlier this month, real estate developers, environmentalists and other public and private sector professionals were honored at an awards ceremony during Brownfields2017 . The Phoenix Awards Institute, Inc. and its award sponsor, ALCOA, hosted the event to celebrate the winners for their accomplishments on 12 projects that span the country.

These sites are now anchor sites bringing back communities by leveraging downtown and community revitalization, knowledge corridors for job growth, waterfront redevelopment projects, wetlands restoration, flood control projects, healthcare, job training and community centers.

The winning projects were selected by a panel of environmental professionals and business and government leaders based on a set of 5 criteria: 1) Magnitude of the problems and project, 2) Use of innovative techniques, 3) Cooperative efforts of multiple parties to undertake the project, including financing solutions, 4) Positive impact on the environment (e.g., green buildings, greenways, energy use), and 5) Project’s general and long-term impacts on the environment and community.

Maureen Ford of ALCOA presented the Grand Prize Award to the Springfield Union Station, Springfield, Massachusetts, 1st Runner Up Award Winner to the Lake Conestee Nature Park, Greenville, South Carolina, and the People’s Choice Award Winner to the Jimmy John’s Field in Utica, Michigan. Conference attendees select the People’s Choice Award Winner when they vote for their favorite project during Brownfields2017. Check link for details:


Kate McNamara, PIDC (third from the right), receiving Phoenix Award.

The 2017 winners are:
Region 1: Springfield Union Station, Springfield, Massachusetts
Region 2: Berry Lane Park, Jersey City, New Jersey
Region 3: Pennovation Center, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Region 4: Lake Conestee Nature Park, Greenville, South Carolina
Region 5: Big Marsh, Chicago, Illinois
Region 6: Orleans Juvenile Justice Center, New Orleans, Louisiana
Region 7: New Bohemia District Redevelopment, Cedar Rapids, Iowa
Region 8: Crossroads Commerce Park, Denver, Colorado
Region 9: DLA San Juaquin Tracy Site, Tracy, California
Region 10: Tillamook County Southern Flow Corridor, Tillamook, Oregon
Community Impact Winner: Hamilton Health Center, Harrisburg, Pennsylvania
Community Impact Winner: Jimmy John’s Field, Utica, Michigan

Created in 1997, this environmental award honors individuals and groups working to solve critical environmental or social challenges, transforming blighted and contaminated areas into productive new uses and sustainable development projects. The Phoenix Awards are widely recognized as the outstanding award for achievement of excellence in Brownfield redevelopment. The Phoenix Award winners represent outstanding brownfield or environmental projects from each of the 10 U.S. Environmental Protection Agency regions.

The Phoenix Awards were created and are coordinated by Denise Chamberlain, a brownfields expert, and are affiliated with the Phoenix Awards Institute, Inc., an environmental nonprofit located in Mechanicsburg, PA (Harrisburg area). The Executive Committee members are: Denise Chamberlain, ARCADIS; Linda Garczynski, MDB, Inc.; Charlie Bartsch, brownfields expert; Lloyd Kirk, Oklahoma Department of Environmental Quality; Jill Gaito, Gaito & Associates; and Jim Snyder, brownfields expert.

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