The Delaware River Waterfront Corporation will soon begin preliminary work necessary to prepare the former incinerator site at Festival Pier for residential and other development.
And a national architectural organization has agreed to make the future of the parcel the focus of an October design charrette.
The Master Plan for the Central Delaware calls for residential and mixed-use development at the site, located on Delaware Avenue at the foot of Spring Garden Street. Because the site is owned by the DRWC, a quasi-city agency, planners say the transformation of this area is much more in the public's control than privately owned riverfront property.
But there is “pre-development” environmental remediation and planning work that needs to happen before an RFP to look for a private developer can go out, DRWC Vice President Joe Forkin and Master Plan Manager Sarah Thorp told the DRWC board late last week.
The entire site is 11.5 acres, Forkin said. The incinerator took up about 7 of those acres, he said. A lot of remediation was done – also using grant money - when the former incinerator was demolished in the early 2000s, Forkin said. At the time, the DRWC only wanted to use the land as a parking lot, and so that is the environmental certification it sought and received.
Forkin said the state Department of Environmental Protection has told DRWC that it will be receiving a $237,000 grant this fall. That grant will allow DRWC to get residential use certification for the site, Forkin said. The money will pay for a vapor study to ensure that no harmful gasses “escape from the site,” Forkin said. The vapor study “should give us the clearance we need for residential,” he told the board.
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