Friday, April 8, 2016

Whopping Billion Dollar Plan to Transform Camden's Waterfront

Liberty Property Trust plans to transform a 16-acre swath of land on the Camden the waterfront into a vibrant live/work/play environment. The cost? A billion dollars.

The City of Camden has announced an ambitious plan to completely transform 16-acres of prime waterfront land on the Delaware River, between the Ben Franklin Bridge and the Adventure Aquarium, into offices, hotels, retail stores and high-rise residences.

Liberty Property Trust, the mega-developers behind the Navy Yard and Center City’s Comcast towers, will spearhead the $1 billion proposed development, the largest ever private sector investment in the city’s history.

Liberty envisions a mixed-use development that will attract major corporations, employment and significant inward investment.

The project will swap what seems like miles of surface parking lots for a live/work/play mix of glitzy office towers and low-rises, a residential component, lively restaurants and retail and even a hotel.

The development will seek to take advantage of the seemingly plentiful tax credits through New Jersey’s Grow New Jersey program.

Governor Christie called the announcement "proof that what Camden's been doing is working," while Camden Mayor Dana Redd said the project will "fundamentally change the city's future."

According to a press release from the city, Liberty has signed an agreement with Steiner + Associates, owners of the Adventure Aquarium, to purchase Camden Town Center LLC, with the intent to pursue the development of 16 acres of Camden waterfront.


If approved by the New Jersey Economic Development Authority, Liberty would then need to obtain the proper permits for the project. The development is already being backed by many power players from throughout the region.

In addition to the $1 billion Liberty plan, the city reports that there is more than $1.5 billion in new development that is either funded, in development or recently completed.

Tax credits have played a major role in the waterfront boom, luring a string of high-profile businesses to Camden recently.

The Philadelphia 76ers are constructing a new state-of-the-art practice facility nearby. Subaru will consolidate their U.S. operations into one complex headquartered in Camden.

“The Camden Waterfront represents a unique opportunity to develop a project of this scale in the center of a major metropolitan area. This visionary project will reshape the central waterfront in a way that will be truly transformative for Camden,” said Bill Hankowsky, in a press release.

Robert A.M. Stern, dean of the Yale School of Architecture and architect behind the Comcast Center and the GSK building in the Navy Yard, designed the master plan for the site.

The development will be highlighted by two glassy high-rises that overlook the Delaware River, the Ben Franklin Bridge and the Philadelphia skyline.

The arrangement of angular structures (each shaped a like Vermont) evokes a vibe reminiscent of the Schuylkill River skyline, which is still being shaped by the ever-growing FMC Tower.

Architecturally, they’re certainly unlike anything existing on along Philly’s Delaware River waterfront.

The project would create thousands of jobs for construction workers and bring thousands of permanent jobs to the city.

If all goes according to plan, the project is expected to break ground as early as the third quarter of 2016 with occupancy expected in late 2018 and 2019.