Redevelopment Authority seeks proposals for Rivage site

The city’s Redevelopment Authority issued a request this week for proposals to develop the Rivage Property along Kelly Drive that East Falls residents have long hoped would become a welcoming bookend to Boathouse Row.

Holding out such hope is Gina Snyder, director of the East Falls Development Corp. In the late 1990s, the City bought the 1.7-acre property between Ridge Avenue and Kelly Drive starting at Calumet Street at Falls Bridge.

Formerly the Rivage Catering hall, the RDA accepted bids twice in 2004. A “hugely ambitious” residential/retail proposal was selected but never came to fruition. Snyder said developers claimed they had trouble working with community but “frankly, that’s just not true.” In 2009, a scaled-back plan from another developer fell victim to the economy.

“The third time’s got to be the charm, right? East Falls really has the opportunity for something good happen here,” Snyder said yesterday. “The spigot is turned on for financing, for sure. Banks were not willing to lend, but now they are. We’re coming out of a crisis. The RDA sees what a valuable piece of land that is. It’s a good time to put it out for bids.”

The RDA will host a “pre-submission conference” at the site on July 22. It set Oct. 3 as the deadline for proposals and Oct. 31 as a target date for a decision.

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