City Development Plans: Check Out What’s Going on in Philly

What is happening in Philadelphia these days? A lot, as it turns out. The city is full of new or planned developments, from new mixed-use buildings to public green spaces. Whether you currently live here or are thinking of it, check out what’s going on.

Philadelphia, particularly the Center City area, is experiencing what can only be called a development boom. According to a report from the Center City District and Central Philadelphia Development Corporation, there were 42 development projects under construction at the end of 2015, and 29 additional city development plans were announced that same year. That’s not counting the 11 projects that were finished in 2015. What can you expect to see popping up in Philly over the next few months and years? Check out some bigger city development plans that are in the works or currently underway.

FMC Tower

When construction on the Cira Centre was finished in 2005, it lit up the night, quite literally. A highlight of the building was the ever-changing light show on its facade. In 2016, the building is joined by the FMC Tower at Cira Centre South, a 42-story building that is describing itself as the city’s “first vertical neighborhood.” The building will contain a wide range of amenities, all built on top of each other. One of its highlights is Cira Green, a public park area located 95 feet above ground level. The park opened in 2015 and offers spectacular views of the Center City skyline. A wellness center, located 28 stories above the ground, will offer yoga classes, fitness, equipment and an indoor pool.

Lincoln Square

A vacant lot at Broad Street and Washington Avenue acts as the divider between South Philly and Center City. It has been home to a Cirque du Soleil circus tent and a giant pinata, among other things. These days it mostly sits empty, as anticipation builds for the development of Lincoln Square, a mixed-use property that will have more than 300 residences. The development will also have a grocery store, restaurants and other retail establishments, and three levels of parking. Lincoln Square is still in the early stages, as construction isn’t set to begin until 2017. If all goes well, it should be finished by 2018.

Viaduct Park

People have been pushing for a park along the Reading Viaduct, similar in design and nature to the popular High Line in New York City, for years. Starting in 2016, they are finally getting their way. The first phase of a project to turn an old, unused railroad track into a park has begun.

Phase one focuses on 26,000 square feet of the line, dubbed the Septa Spur, located just off of Broad Street in Callowhill. The project will involve landscaping the area, performing environmental remediation and waterproofing, and adding stairs to make it easy to get from the street level to the railroad tracks. During the summer of 2016, the Viaduct Rail Park will be home to one of the locations of the PA Horticultural Society’s Pop Up Garden.

Fashion Outlets of Philadelphia

Goodbye, the Gallery. Throughout 2015, shops in the mostly underground mall, located in the Market East neighborhood of Philadelphia, began closing up, to make way for a complete mall makeover. Although the shuttering of the Gallery is bittersweet, particularly for people who have fond memories of it or who still went there on a regular basis, the closure is making way for the Fashion Outlets of Philadelphia. The new design will span three blocks, feature 125 stores and store fronts on the street level (which the Gallery did not have). The project should be completed by Spring of 2018.

A lot of great things are in the works for Philadelphia, turning under-used or abandoned areas into viable, welcoming spaces. It’s a great time to call the city home.


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