When Philadelphia was awarded a MLS team back in 2008, Ed Rendell spearheaded a plan to build a Chester stadium surrounded by shops, restaurants, and other attractions.
The stadium was built, but the other stuff never made it, because we just happened to run into an economic recession that threw the world’s biggest monkey wrench into the project.
If you go down to Chester now, you’ll see Subaru Park, the Wharf Building and Power Training Complex, plus a great new brewery within walking distance to the stadium. Things are slow to develop on the waterfront, but now a new plan is being put into place, as detailed by Natalie Kostelni and John George at the Philadelphia Business Journal:
“The Riverfront Alliance of Delaware County unveiled on Tuesday a master plan for roughly 100 acres surrounding Subaru Park… The area covered by the plan stretches from Highland Avenue to Norris Street.
Among the first projects that will get underway are road improvements to Route 291, Reaney and Engle streets, the design of a riverfront park and a public art program. It is hoped that once some of the public investments and improvements have been made, private investment of new office, retail and hospitality as well as sports and entertainment facilities will eventually follow.
The proposals includes a multi-sports facility, an indoor and outdoor concert venue, relocating a SEPTA rail station and leveraging Subaru Park, which was previously known as PPL Park when its opened in June 2010. It was at one point named Talen Energy Stadium.”
All of this would be a huge improvement to the area, and the SEPTA rail is key, because currently it’s very difficult to reach the stadium via public transit. Take a ride down to Citizens Bank Park, then try to do the same for Subaru. The disparity in those experiences is wild.
It was bad years ago, when visiting fans would ask where to go before or after a game, and there was no answer. “MacDade Boulevard” is what we used to tell them, because there wasn’t anywhere to go on 291 near the stadium. Now you’ve got The Larimer Beer Company and hopefully some new spots if they can execute this master plan.
Things are looking up. The Union are a really good team and we’ve got a waterfront vision.
Couple more renderings here from the NBBJ architecture firm: