Apr 22, 2024 - News

Riverfront beach and pool proposed for West Philadelphia

A rendering of a West Philadelphia project with a pool and beach

What a place this would be to spend a summer evening. Rendering: Courtesy of the University City District/AECOM

The University City District is planning to build a new public pool, beach and entertainment hub on the Schuylkill River in West Philly.

Why it matters: The project could transform a humdrum stretch of Schuylkill Avenue near 30th Street Station into a destination.

Driving the news: The $60 million project would span across two decks in the shadow of the grand former post office building between Chestnut and Market streets, according to a district news release.

  • The plan, dubbed the West Philadelphia Waterfront and unveiled last week, could create a stronger link connecting West Philly to Center City.

The big picture: University City is booming as investments and developments have transformed the neighborhood over the last decade.

Plus: The neighborhood is the epicenter of the city's eds and meds economy, home to the University of Pennsylvania and Drexel University.

A rendering of the West Philadelphia Waterfront project
Rendering: Courtesy of the University District/AECOM

Details: The upper deck of the project would include a promenade, restrooms, swings and space for food trucks.

  • The lower deck would include a nearly Olympic-size public pool, beach, cafe, kayak grotto and entertainment venue.

1 fun thing: Visitors could use a slide to access the lower deck from the upper.

Between the lines: The project would be built to withstand what the district is calling a 500-year-storm event.

What they're saying: "Now is the time to think with great aspiration about a new iconic space to connect the waterfront to the dynamic growth of University City, and to make it accessible for all Philadelphians," district president Matt Bergheiser said in a statement.

What's next: The project would take years to build.

  • The district says the community engagement process will take about three years but won't begin until fundraising for the project is completed.
  • And, the plan will require a series of city, state and federal approvals.
A kayak grotto below the proposed project
The proposed kayak grotto below the planned project. Rendering: Courtesy of the University City District/AECOM
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