The proposed high-rise development for the vacant lot at 300 North Columbus Boulevard, across the street from the Delaware River, isn't even close to what we decided should be there a decade ago.
The city and community undertook an extensive study of the area between the Delaware River and Interstate-95 in the central portion of Philadelphia. After several years and dozens of meetings, involving hundreds of citizens, agencies, and departments, they adopted a detailed "Master Plan for the Central Delaware" (published in 2011), which generally advocates expanding the existing neighborhoods towards the river.
The plan details how the area south of Spring Garden Street, between I-95 and Delaware Avenue, is to be developed: “The master plan proposes that the intimately scaled and irregular street system, including the uniquely shaped and historic Canal Street, be extended to the south, creating small blocks for conventional residential development, small parks, and recreational facilities, including some of the land under I-95. The environment in [this] area will mirror historic Philadelphia in scale and intent.”
The development proposed by the Durst Corporation is just the opposite of "small blocks for conventional residential development." It is a high-rise on a mega-block. The proposal is not "intimately scaled" nor does it "mirror historic Philadelphia in scale;” it looks like something from New York City, where the Durst Corporation is located. It makes you wonder if getting the public involved in planning its own future is worth the time and effort. It appears that politicians eventually control the process.