Friday, August 24, 2012

PIDC revising Navy Yard master plan

by Natalie Kostelni
The Navy Yard master plan, the 8-year-old document which has guided the South Philadelphia business park through $600 million in private investment, is being revised.

When the Philadelphia Industrial Development Corp. first unveiled the master plan for the Navy Yard in 2004, it had focused on 600 acres of the 1,200-acre site. The plan built on the property’s industrial history but also defined a mix of office, research, commercial and residential development that would eventually result in attracting as many as 30,000 jobs to South Philadelphia.

While it’s not quite there, progress has been made.

By the end of this year, 10,000 people will be working from the Navy Yard in mix of 125 different companies such as Urban Outfitters, Iroko Pharmaceuticals and Naval Ships Systems Engineering Station and Tasty Baking Co.

“There has been a lot of development that has occurred as a result of that plan,” said John Grady, president at PIDC, which oversees the development of the Navy Yard. “We felt it was time to take a step back and look at the plan for the future and we really want to understand where the next phase of investment should occur. We’re not talking about drastically changing the plan. The elements we already have there have seen strong market response.”

There are many moving parts to the Navy Yard. For example, Naval Ships Systems, considered an integral part of the Naval Surface Warfare Center, has grown over the last decade to have more than 1,800 employees. PIDC wants to make sure it preserves a portion of the site that will allow it to continue to expand.

PDIC now owns less than half of the 600 acres it did when the master plan was first drawn up. It conveyed a large swath of land to the state and regional port authority to accommodate port expansion. As a result, the new master plan will concentrate on about 350 acres.

While always part of the master plan, residential development is also something that will get renewed attention. The idea is to convert some of the historic buildings into residential use rather than create a free-standing residential community.
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