East Passyunk “gateway” to be rebuilt thanks to $500k grant

The sparsely landscaped triangle where Passyunk meets Broad and McKean will be torn up and redone this summer, creating a new public “flex” space and a much more attractive gateway to the avenue.

Renderings by Studio Bryan Hanes
Renderings by Studio Bryan Hanes

Sam Sherman, director of the Passyunk Avenue Revitalization Corporation, said the William Penn Foundation awarded a $495,000 grant, which is to be released in May. Construction is expected to start as early as that month.

Highlights of the redesign include much better lighting, seating, a water feature, built-in speakers, a bike-share station, a pergola where vendors or DJs could set up for community events and more – kind of like the fountain at 11th and Passyunk, which PARC also manages.

A public unveiling of the project, which Sherman said was the result of several meetings with key community members, will be held tomorrow night, Wednesday Jan. 29 at 1930 S. Broad St. at 6:30 p.m. That’s the old St. Agnes hospital at Broad and Passyunk. Signs will direct you to the conference room.

Renderings by Studio Bryan Hanes

Possibly just as interesting is that the grant will also include streestcape improvements to the block of Broad between Passyunk and Snyder, including planters and better lighting there as well. PARC will maintain both spaces.

It will be kind of like at the fountain, with speakers and new lighting,” Sherman said. “The pergola thing is a flex space, so you can use for it special events. We have a food vendor who wants to work out of it a couple days a week.”

He said it’s much to early to name the vendor because the work won’t be completed until the fall.

Broad and Passyunk rendering 2

“Our big issue is it’s the first thing you see when you come onto the avenue off of Broad,” Sherman said. “Visually we want to make sure it’s well-lit and interesting and that it attracts people’s eye. That’s why we have the lighting scheme. South Philly seems to like the overhead lighting.”

Hey, if it worked at the fountain, why not at Broad and Passyunk? Discuss.

20 thoughts on “East Passyunk “gateway” to be rebuilt thanks to $500k grant

  • January 27, 2014 at 8:50 pm

    Maybe this will convince somebody to open a burger joint in that old chromed out vacant place a half block away from this? I’m talking to you Scott Schroeder.

    • January 27, 2014 at 10:29 pm

      You can actually see it in the background of one if the renderings. Damn building is stuck in litigation, unfortunately. Trying to get an update one it now.

      • January 30, 2014 at 4:23 pm

        That’s a shame. That place is so ripe with potential. Hopefully the litigation ends soon and gets developed.

  • January 28, 2014 at 8:38 am

    Wonderful news! Broad and Passyunk really needs something nice like this! Cant wait to see it all nice and pretty

  • January 28, 2014 at 9:09 am

    Perhaps that bank could up its appearance since it looks like something from an 80’s Communist Bloc. Thank you William Penn Foundation, this will greatly improve the entrance to our wonderful neighborhood.

  • January 28, 2014 at 11:42 am

    Nice idea…but I envision it mostly used by the Wedge heads.

    • January 28, 2014 at 9:21 pm

      Wedge head?

  • January 28, 2014 at 11:47 am

    What time is the meeting?

    • January 28, 2014 at 1:04 pm

      Shoot. 6:30 p.m. Sorry about that, must have deleted it during revisions.

  • January 28, 2014 at 11:58 am

    Add my voice to the exclamations of excitement! What time is the meeting tomorrow night?

  • January 28, 2014 at 1:20 pm

    Super excited about this project. Once development takes place at the old columbo building (this project definitely helps that cause!), the ‘gateway’ to Passayunk will be pretty awesome.

    Unfortunately Marisa’s right that this place will see heavy Wedge traffic. There’s already 5-10 Wedge folks at the columbo benches on a daily basis…

  • January 28, 2014 at 2:13 pm

    Nice! Getting closer and closer to cleaning up Broad Street between Snyder and McKean. That is like the armpit of South Philly. I would have said the city but I’d be neglecting Broad & Olney if I did that.

  • January 28, 2014 at 9:26 pm

    Any cleanup there is good news. I see it more as a gateway rather than a piazza. There’s no reason to sit there. Not really a place to enjoy the sights. That’s what makes it different from the fountain. What is in the plan for redevelopment of broad street adjacent to McKean?

    • January 30, 2014 at 12:05 pm

      Best sunset view down West Passyunk from that spot.

  • January 29, 2014 at 12:39 am

    This is great news! My family has been involved with the avenue since the 1930’s. It’s so great to see the renaissance move forward!

  • January 29, 2014 at 8:26 am

    thats very exciting for our neighborhood maybe we wont be scared to walk up there anymore .I am hoping they clean up Broad Street also and not have the bums/junkies begging for money anymore . . :).

  • January 31, 2014 at 9:13 am

    I like the improvement plans for the triangle. I just hope that the police won’t be used to bully people from outside East Passyunk who might want to hang out there peacefully. Specifically, I’m worried about racism and discrimination against the poor.

    While it could certainly use some improvements, the area between Snyder and McKean doesn’t strike me as an “armpit” or particularly scary during normal hours, and I’ve shopped and used the transit points there for years (with my kids). There are other places in this city doing much worse than this set of intersections.

    That said, the block could see a little more retail variety so that everyone is served better, and I mean EVERYONE – including those who use the Wedge facilities. The most pressing need is a reasonably-priced grocery store with variety and healthy food somewhere in this vicinity. Expanding the farmer’s market in front of South Philadelphia High School would also be very beneficial.

    • January 31, 2014 at 11:59 am

      Well said Mary. I did not notice a lot of diversity in those renderings!

  • January 31, 2014 at 11:20 am

    Wow, can’t wait to go dancing at Broad and McKean! Not. You get $500k, this is what you build? A fountain and a bike rack with a pergola? Please.

    • January 31, 2014 at 2:10 pm

      Don’t agree with you on what $500K gives you, but that’s a Philly BikeShare station, not a bike rack.

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