Navy Yard’s new 20-year plan aims to create a residential and commercial community on the former military base

The Philadelphia shipyard could see major changes over the next two decades, as its owner unveiled another plan to achieve a major goal of an ongoing redevelopment project: build a residential area at the former base. military.

PIDC, a nonprofit economic development organization founded by the City of Philadelphia, owns the Arsenal since 2000. The agency has partnered with real estate investor Ensemble/Mosaic on the $6 billion plan, which would add 8.9 million square feet of residential, commercial, scientific and mixed-use development to the waterfront site.

Ensemble/Mosaic, which is investing more than $4 billion in the project, plans to build 3,900 apartments and 235,000 square feet of retail space. Of the apartments, 15% will be offered at affordable rates and 25% of commercial space will be subsidized for minority and women-owned businesses.

Chapel Block, which was unveiled by the IPDC in 2021 as part of an update to its Navy Yard master plan, included more than 600 apartments as a base for the expansion of a new residential area on the outskirts of the town.

The IPDC has so far proposed three redevelopment plans that have relied on the Navy Yard’s existing infrastructure with funding provided by partners every few years. The partnership between PIDC and Ensemble/Mosaic would be its biggest investment to date.

The agency released his first project in 2004, attempting to add corporate offices, hotels, mixed-use development on the waterfront and the potential for residential properties.

In the years between the implementation of the original redevelopment plan and an update in 2013, several companies moved into large public space, including a headquarters for Urban Outfitters, TastyKake, and several pharmaceutical companies.

“The Navy Yard has been an anchor and economic engine for Philadelphia for more than two centuries, serving in times of war and peace,” said Mayor Jim Kenney. said tuesday. “Today, the progress it has made and will continue to make, as outlined in this plan, will help solidify its role as a premier business and life sciences campus and unparalleled asset for the city. »

Navy Yard Eye LevelRendered by James Corner Field Operations/Courtesy of PIDC and Ensemble/Mosaic

This is the third development plan proposed by PIDC since it took over the Navy Yard in 2004. The large-scale project would expand its existing life sciences infrastructure and add more laboratory and office space .

The 2013 update expanded on the original plan, offering larger scale office development and over 20 new buildings in each segment of the yard. Most of the plan included the addition of new corporate offices and an expansion of the Port of Philadelphia.

Adding residential properties has been a major focus of the master plan since its unveiling nearly 20 years ago. Although zoning restrictions and other issues have made implementation difficult, a September 2021 update brought the IPDC closer to the possibility of renting residential space and building the foundations of a community.

Much of the controversy surrounding the master plan housing proposals was based on Navy Acts Regulations which prohibited housing in certain parts of the public space. These regulations had been in place since the Navy Yard took over the city, but were relaxed in 2019.

As a result, the IPDC and its partners have been able to support the creation of at least 1,000 to 1,500 apartments in the historic center district of the region, where most apartments have been offered since 2013.

It remains unclear whether these regulations will allow the approximately 4,000 apartments offered by Ensemble/Mosaic, although the IPDC noted in a developer document in 2019 that additional residential plans outside of the historic core would require special permission from the Navy.

The realization of the 2022 plan depends in large part on the partnerships formed between PIDC and its corporate and investment teams. Currently, the Navy Yard is home to 150 employers and 15,000 workers, and hopes to expand that to 12,000 jobs over the next two decades.

In the years following IPDC control of the Navy Yard, it expanded its life sciences campus, with a focus on cell and gene therapies. The new plan would build 4.3 million square feet of additional labs and office space for companies working to cure cancer and chronic disease.

“Throughout its history, the Navy Yard has been at the forefront of innovation and this transformation plan continues to innovate,” said Kate McNamara, senior vice president of the Navy Yard’s IPDC. “We are extremely excited to set a new standard for equitable development that balances inclusive business growth with sustainability, connectivity, beautiful public spaces and quality jobs for all Philadelphians.”

A new 137,000 square feet scientific research center will begin adding tenants in 2023, building on the existing life science lab and research spaces that have been built on the property in recent years.

“Our goal throughout developing the plan has been to remind ourselves that the Navy Yard is public land and its development should be about people,” said Kam Babaoff, President and Co-Founder of Ensemble Real Estate Investments. “Each of the 109 acres we are developing – whether for the first residential property in over 70 years, or for commercial use, life sciences and growing businesses – will increase accessibility and provide an environment that supports fairness in all aspects.”

East end of the shipyardRendered by James Corner Field Operations/Courtesy of PIDC and Ensemble/Mosaic

Ensemble/Mosaic is set to build 3,900 apartments and 235,000 square feet of retail space. 15% of apartments will be rented at affordable rates and 25% of commercial space will be subsidized for minority and women-owned businesses.

Investments in expansive public transit have also been punches earlier plans and additional Ensemble/Mosaic investment could bring them closer to reality. The project development includes several transportation consultants, as the Navy Yard plans to expand its transit reach to make residential and commercial space more accessible to the rest of the city.

As well as the expansion of driving and parking, there will be dedicated cycle lanes, rapid bus routes, pedestrian-only streets and a new transit center linking the Navy Yard to Broad Street.

The plan also aims to expand open spaces and support the waterfront, adding stormwater channels, dry ponds and other environmental protections.

The Navy Yard will use its own workforce training program – launched by the IPDC and the West Philadelphia Skills Initiative in 2020 – to help develop the area and bring quality gainful employment to the new community.

The Shipyard Skills Initiative graduated 64 participants on Tuesday afternoon, just in time for the unveiling of the plan and the block party that followed.