Penn’s Landing has been seeing several new developments in recent years. There’s the Race Street Pier park underneath the Ben Franklin Bridge, the Fringe Arts performance space and restaurant across Delaware Avenue from Race Street Pier, a new apartment building on Delaware Avenue north of the Ben Franklin Bridge, and soon, a large new park over I-95 and where the Great Plaza is now. While much of the recent focus has been on that big, and expensive, new park, another public space is planned on a long abandoned shipping pier next to Race Street Pier.
That public space will be on Pier 9, a 5,000 square foot pier off of Delaware Avenue originally built in 1919 for shipping on a once popular stretch of the Delaware River for shipping and industry. The renovation is being conducted by the Delaware River Waterfront Corporation. The current design is phase one and could be a temporary design. The dilapidated roof would be replaced, and some of it would be removed to create an open air garden on the end, with a cafe and seating. The garden would have great views of the river, the bridge, and the Camden waterfront. The sides would have glass doors, especially the northern side. The southern side would have to have an emergency walkway. The rest of the exterior would be repaired, with steel reinforcement and masonry repair and industrial railings that could be designed by artists. The pier’s existing sliding doors would be preserved. The middle of the pier would have a corridor like a public street, leading from the entrance on Delaware Avenue. On either side of that “public street” will be workspaces for artisans in old shipping containers. Further along inside the pier would be a marketplace for artisans, including some who use the workspaces. In between the marketplace and the garden will be an open space for performances. The workspaces and cafe will be heated and air conditioned, but the rest of the pier would be similar to outdoor public spaces. The DRWC will call the newly renovated Pier 9 “Cherry Street Pier”, because it corresponds to Cherry Street on the other side of I-95.
The Cherry Street Pier would be a cool addition in a rapidly improving area of the waterfront. Even though the DRWC intends this to be temporary, it may be popular enough that they may not want to change it dramatically going forward. And, it fits in well with the Fringe Arts space and Race Street Pier.
By, Gabriel Gottlieb