Walkable Waterfront Takes Shape on the Schuylkill River Near Philadelphia

The Pencoyd Landing development is focused on providing access to pedestrians, cyclists, and transit users in the neighborhood of Lower Merion Township, across the Schuylkill River from Philadelphia.

June 16, 2021, 7:00 AM PDT

By Diana Ionescu @aworkoffiction

Pencoyd Iron Works, an abandoned industrial complex in Lower Merion, Pennsylvania, has been reimagined as Pencoyd Landing, "a modern waterfront complex that includes an elegant river walk, a tiny Victorian castle, a terrace restaurant and, improbably, a new Marriott hotel," writes Inga Saffron in the Philadelphia Inquirer. Despite its challenging location, "hemmed in by highways and high bluffs," developer Penn Group "has managed to use its difficult site to create a lush and cozy refuge from the world. Although not replicable everywhere, the results should inspire the region’s other waterfront projects to up their game."

Situated across the Schuylkill River from Philadelphia, the Pencoyd Landing site was acquired by Penn Group in 2000, "when it was still home to a rebar factory." Now, "[y]ou can meander along the river walk, stop for coffee or a meal at the Landing Kitchen (the latest offering from Philadelphia chef Nick Elmi), or admire the surviving ironworks structures."

One important feature of Pencoyd Landing is its connection to the adjacent trail and neighborhoods: "Most river sites are in floodplains, and developers don’t want to bother making provisions to deal with occasional high water. The result of that shortsighted approach can be seen along the Center City stretch of the Schuylkill, where a parade of garages is creating a wall between the river and the adjacent neighborhoods." Instead, "Pencoyd Landing was designed to be equally accessible to pedestrians, cyclists and transit riders." Donna Galvin, Penn Group co-founder, "decided it was worth taking her chances and keeping the new buildings as close to trail level as possible."

Monday, June 7, 2021 in The Philadelphia Inquirer

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