Headhouse Square, the area of 2nd Street between Lombard and South, could be seeing some improvements in the future including more greenery, the addition of two buildings and more.
Last summer, the fountain was updated, now these conceptual plans show a lot more improvements that could be coming to the space.
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The idea is to create a more flexible space that acts as a gateway through the plaza and into the Shambles, creating the larger, and better connected, Headhouse Square. “We utilize that space a lot, but it’s not particularly attractive,” said Harris, referring to the downtrodden stretch from South Street to Lombard Street. The top priority of the project would be to improve the overall safety of what amounts to a parking lot. That means better lighting (possibly cable lighting to create a “plaza effect”) and the implementation of a design aimed at calming traffic (buffers, curbs, etc.) in the area to make it safer for bicycle riders and pedestrians, alike.
Hoping to create the presence of a gateway, the first building at South Street is more of a shade structure during the day and well-lit pavilion at night. Early designs show it could possibly become the shelter for the Indego Bike Share station and Harris said it could have a “band shell” type usage for live entertainment during one of their many events.
The cracked and crusty median would be leveled and replaced with a pathway that leads through the plaza, preserving the well-designed axis and access of the original layout. There would still be dedicated parking spaces, but it would be a far cry from the Wawa parking lot we’ve all come to know over the years. Early plans whittle the number of spaces from 44 down to about 28, though that number could change, and it would be easier to make it a no parking zone during events. As Rich Villa, partner at Ambit Architecture put it, they’re essentially creating “a removable parking lot.”
The second building being proposed for Headhouse Square would provide a place to get some shade and could be a coffee shop or cafe, along with an information center.
This project is pretty early in the development stages, but what do you think of these plans so far?
You can check out the rest of the renderings on Philly Mag’s Property blog.