Updates on Philly’s waterfront

While a sour economy has slowed private investment along Philadelphia’s section of the Delaware waterfront, planning experts say the city’s redevelopment efforts could help jump-start more building.

The Delaware River Waterfront Corp. is close to finishing the Race Street Pier, a public venue just south of the Ben Franklin Bridge, and will soon begin construction on the Race Street Connector to enhance a major corridor to the river. In May, it will unveil a master plan for the six-mile stretch, which will be followed by zoning recommendations.

“I believe the master plan is really going to help create a lot of interest and excitement in the general market, and for developers it’s going to create certainty,” said Tom Corcoran, president of the Delaware River Waterfront Corp., who added that it will probably be another two to three years before private dollars begin flowing in.

Matt Ruben, president of the Northern Liberties Neighborhood Association, agrees that once the housing market rebounds, other developments will follow.

“My gut tells me that the waterfront plan and new zoning are certainly going to help stimulate new development along the Delaware,” he said. “I think it’s going to be a medium-term effect. It’s going to happen over a number of years.”

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