By Ian Bush
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — It’s an idea to breathe new life into a languishing former industrial area between Philadelphia International Airport and University City.
The Lower Schuylkill Master Plan — unveiled today at Bartram’s Garden — seeks to turn 3,700 acres along the waterfront into a bustling business corridor.
There’s a certain “wow” factor to the projections: 6,000 jobs, six million square feet of production facility space, and a $60-billion economic impact.
“All of which goes back to helping to establish, sustain, and extend a great quality of life for those in this part of the city and throughout the entire city and the region,” says Philadelphia Industrial Development Corporation president John Grady.
He admits the 22-year plan is ambitious. But to skeptics he says some early development projects already are underway.
“I think they’re a great demonstration of the strength of this plan and the fact that this plan, we think, will have immediate traction in the market and with the public sector for continued investment,” Grady says.
The initiative calls for more than $400 million in public investment. Alan Greenberger, Philadelphia’s deputy mayor for economic development, sees a return on investment for taxpayers:
“We do it because we want to attract private investment and new jobs. We want better access from the neighborhoods to the rivers, wherever we can get them. And we want to integrate economic development with public amenities and sustainable features.”