Freeway Cap, Penn’s Landing Waterfront Details Emerging in Philadelphia

Project planners estimate that a $200 million investment in an 11-acre cap park over I-95 that will reconnect the city with the Delaware River could return $1 billion in private investment.

2 minute read

April 18, 2014, 9:00 AM PDT

By James Brasuell @CasualBrasuell


Kellie Patrick Gates relays information shared during a meeting between the Central Delaware Advocacy Group and Delaware River Waterfront Corporation about the progress by project designer Hargreaves Associates on a conceptual plan for a new Penn’s Landing. The project includes 11-acre cap park, which would stretch from Front Street to the Delaware River by capping I-95 and Delaware Avenue.

The current cost estimate for the plan is $205 million in public investment (and the plan is expected to be difficult to fund). But according to Gates, [the] idea is that investment would spur the private parts of the development – the residences, restaurants, shops and the like – to the tune of $800 million or even $1 billion.”

Some details about how the park's conceptual designs are taking shape:

  • The park “would be engineered so that trees can be planted on what feels like ground level, and it would end at the waterfront in a large public space, framed by an amphitheater.”
  • “Low-rise residential development with mixed uses on the ground floor would start along the middle of the boat basin, and then fill in with mid-rise near the Hyatt and on the opposite end.”

Gates’s article also makes the point, by paraphrasing Delaware River Waterfront Corporation Chairman Matt Ruben, that the Penn’s Landing plan will have a higher economic benefit than typical highway projects because freeway widenings don’t spur economic development in surrounding land uses.

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