The Daniel J. Keating Company (www.djkeating.com) is set to begin work immediately as the general contract for the renovation of Dilworth Plaza.
The firm has extensive experience working with SEPTA on major transportation projects, a key component of the Dilworth Plaza redo, as well as familiarity with City Hall itself, because of the firm’s recent experience with the renovation of this National Historic Landmark. Keating also has worked on other major landmarks, such as the renovation of Independence Hall, the construction of the Liberty Bell Center, and has joint ventured on the expansion of the Pennsylvania Convention Center.
The Center City District has a long-term (30-year) lease with the City for Dilworth Plaza to construct, maintain, and manage the Plaza. The CCD will assume all cleaning, site- and landscape-maintenance responsibilities for the Plaza. The $50 million renovation project is supported by a $15 million grant from the federal Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery (TIGER) program, a $15.5 million grant from the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, $5 million from the City’s capital program, $4.3 million from SEPTA, and a variety of foundation, corporate, and private contributions. The new Dilworth Plaza was designed by KieranTimberlake architects, OLIN landscape architects, and Urban Engineers.
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Dilworth Plaza will be transformed from an inaccessible, multi-level, unattractive, hard-surface plaza into a sustainable, well-maintained, green public space with no stairs or barriers from the street. By covering existing openings and removing walls, steps, and barriers that make the plaza inaccessible today, the renovated Dilworth Plaza will add 20,571 square feet of new usable area (an increase of 21%) and will result in an expanded 120,557-square-foot public space. The new plaza will have a large lawn, tree groves, a programmable fountain, and space for 400 benches and chairs. The concourse beneath Dilworth Plaza will be dramatically improved as a new transit gateway, providing entrances to Broad Street and Market Street subways and the trolley lines. New elevators will make the transit platforms accessible for the first time.
During winter, a portable ice rink will cover 9,300 square feet, or 8% of the plaza’s total surface area. A café building at the north end will occupy 1,171 square feet, or 1%, of the surface area, and the revenues from this café will be used to maintain the plaza in the same way that revenues from Café Cret, at 16th Street and the Benjamin Franklin Parkway, are used to maintain that landscaped, public park.
Planning and design for the Dilworth Plaza project began in 2008, and more than 50 meetings were held with various stakeholder groups who reviewed and commented on its design. Following publicly advertised open meetings of the City of Philadelphia’s Art and Historical Commissions, City Planning Commission, and City Council, the project was formally approved.