Philadelphia's Next Great Public Space Set to Open Wednesday, November 2, at Noon

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

For Immediate Release

Contact: Lori Brennan, 215-243-0555 or [email protected]

 Opening celebration at the new plaza outside of 30th Street Station to feature ribbon cutting with elected officials and unveiling of the winning name

(Philadelphia, PA) – University City District (UCD) is pleased to announce the opening celebration and dedication ceremony for Philadelphia’s next great public space. On Wednesday, November 2, noon-1pm, all are invited to join Mayor Michael Nutter, Councilwoman Jannie Blackwell, UCD and other stakeholders in this opening festival that will include the unveiling of the space’s name, free food and beverages including a 3-D model cake from Charm City Cakes – best known for their exposure on The Food Channel’s Ace of Cakes, live music from the West Philadelphia Orchestra, Drexel University’s Recreational Athletic fitness demos, and the thrilling Give & Take Little Circus.


Adjacent to the second busiest train station in the country, between two magnificent historic buildings and within 1200 feet of over 16,000 jobs, this area is a key gateway to the Philadelphia region and has long been among the least hospitable pedestrian landscapes in the neighborhood.  Until now! The outer parking lane along Market Street has been transformed into a vibrant and welcoming public plaza which was made possible thanks to a larger PennDOT project and the advocacy of many area stakeholders, including Councilwoman Jannie Blackwell’s office, The Planning Commission, The Streets Department, Amtrak, Brandywine Realty Trust, and others. University City District’s Executive Director Matt Bergheiser says, “the area around 30th Street Station will transform into an inviting, social civic space for Philadelphia, creating a welcoming first impression for first time visitors and an lively space for daily commuters and those who work in close proximity to the station.” This new public space is sure to quickly become one of the most animated public places in the city, with amenities such as abundant and comfortable seating, sun and shade, trees and plantings, and ongoing performances, farmers’ markets, yoga classes and many more special events and festivities. “Rather starting with a capital intensive scheme, we’ll be methodically taking small, experimental steps relating to placemaking, which we expect to inform a future, more capital-intensive phase of park development in the near future,” says Prema Gupta, UCD’s Director of Planning and Economic Development.  

Throughout September, UCD received over 500 submissions to name Philadelphia’s next great public space. The final selection, which will be unveiled for the first time at this special event, will be overseen by a committee that includes Romona Riscoe Benson, President and CEO, African American Museum in Philadelphia; Matthew Bergheiser, Executive Director, University City District; Happy Fernandez, President, Moore College of Art & Design; Alan Greenberger, City of Philadelphia, Deputy Mayor for Development; Meryl Levitz, President & CEO, Greater Philadelphia Tourism Marketing Corporation; Bruce Looloian, Assistant Vice President, Real Estate Development, Amtrak; Shawn McCaney, Program Officer, William Penn Foundation; Mark Mills, Owner, The Metropolis Group; Witold Rybczynski, Martin & Margy Meyerson Professor of Urbanism, Wharton and PennDesign; Allen Sabinson, Dean, Antoinette Westphal College of Media Arts & Design, Drexel University; and Jerry Sweeney, President and CEO, Brandywine Realty Trust. Image credit: Lager Raabe Skafte Landscape Architects