Thursday, December 22, 2011

Dead-Ass Proposal of the Week-- December 22nd

Liberty Landing

1301 Columbus Boulevard

Pier 70 times a million.
                      This thing is kind of cool-looking but would have been severely out-of-place in the location it was proposed. Had it been built, it would've ended up like Waterfront Square, with only one or two of the buildings built and the rest looking like shit. This beast of a complex was billed as the "largest multi-family residential development in the history of the city." The most interesting thing about this huge piece of crazy is that its a Double-Dead-Ass Proposal... it failed in the 80's and then again in the 00's.
                     Back in the skyscraper boom of the late 1980's, shit was going wild in Philadelphia... after years of media craziness over the construction of Liberty Place, tall buildings started popping up out of the skyline every few months. In 1988, Local 19 of the Sheet Metal Worker's Union got in on the nuttiness and combined their powers with an Allentown-based developer and some of their pals in the organized crime business to form Liberty Landing Associates. They proposed a huge mixed-use complex consisting of 140,000 square feet of offices, a 300-room hotel, 35,000 square feet of retail space, 550 luxury apartments, a 280-slip marina and parking for 1,600 cars. Cost: $300 Million. The architect would be the firm of J.K. Roller... I'm sure there's a rendering at the bottom of a landfill somewhere.
                    By the time they got their shit together enough for this thing to be started, the boom was over. Even though they had retail and office tenants lined up, the proposed 1991 completion date came and went like a motherfucker and no one thought they would see this thing again...
                    Until 2002. In that year, the Sheet Metal Workers came roaring back, this time with a MUCH bigger proposal consisting of two 30-storey buildings, a 35-storey building, four 10 storey buildings, five gigantic parking garages, a 340-room hotel, 96,000 square feet of retail, and a 5 storey office building. The cost of this one went up to 1 billion dollars. The new architect would be Burt Hill Kosar Rittelmann Associates.

One of the 21st-Century Liberty Landing renderings. Not sure if this is from before or after the one above. 
                  Some progress was made after that... the developer secured a movie theater tenant and the hotel was planned to be a Radisson. After that, the project went caput. The buzz over Foxwoods moving in at the lot next door caused a NIMBY overload at the time so there's no way this thing would have been approved. In addition to that, the Allentown-based developer that was involved got a lot of bad press for other fuck-ups it was associated with in Philly and other cities.
                  We're probably better off. This thing would have been too far south on the waterfront. Something like this belongs on the waterfront up at NoLibs or Fishtown (home to like 500 similar dead-ass proposals to this one). Columbus Boulevard in South Philly is ridiculously gridlocked at all times. Some shit needs to be done down there to alleviate the traffic before any more major projects can go on.
                   Wait a minute... Liberty Landing? What the fuck kind of name is that? Did the Statue of Liberty land on Pier 53? What the fuck does Liberty Landing have to do with anything? It's not even an original name, there's like 800 other places named Liberty Landing. They should have called it Sheet Metal Workers Will Fuck Your Shit Up Plaza or Inflatable Rat Memorial Sloop. Oh well, its not happening, so FUCK IT. Here's some more pictures of this stupid-ass idea:

View from if you were falling out of a helicopter or something.
From inside the crescent.

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