The Delaware River Waterfront Corporation continues to blaze a permanent trail along the South Philadelphia waterfront with the impending purchase of a strip of land behind the Sheet Metal Workers Union site, at 1301 South Christopher Columbus Boulevard.
The acquisition would allow DRWC to extend Washington Avenue Green to the south, replacing the existing temporary trail with a fully landscaped pedestrian and bike trail akin to the Penn Street Trail north of Spring Garden Street. DRWC’s long-term goal is an uninterrupted trail for bikes and pedestrians stretching from Oregon Avenue in South Philly to Allegheny Avenue in the Lower Northeast.
The Planning Commission approved a subdivision of a parcel used by the Sheet Metal Workers Union and owned partly by developer Eric Blumenfeld. The subdivision would allow DRWC and the Natural Lands Trust to continue the riverfront trail and do environmental restoration work. Under the terms of the agreement, the current owners, Eric Blumenfeld’s Liberty Landing Association, will maintain control of two other piers behind the planned trail extension for possible future development.
The Natural Lands Trust is purchasing the property on behalf of DRWC. The final sale amount has not yet been settled, but the Trust received grants totaling $924,000 for the acquisition of the site from the state Department of Conservation and Natural Resources and the Department of Community and Economic Development.
Developer Bart Blatstein, who controls the site adjacent to the Sheet Metal Workers property south of Reed Street, said on Wednesday that he’s working with the Natural Lands Trust to set aside the next segment of the riverfront trail. Blatstein said he still hasn’t figured out how he plans to develop the rest of the property.