Cherry Street Pier is next to the Ben Franklin Bridge

Update Aug. 22: Cherry Street Pier will open Oct. 12 with these 14 artists in residence.

The Cherry Street Pier started life as Municipal Pier No. 9. Built in 1919, the structure was essential in helping supply the busy manufacturing industry that had developed in Philly’s Old City and Northern Liberties neighborhoods.

When that industry shifted away from the area in the second half of the 20th century, operations were shut down. With the exception of the occasional pop-up event, the 55,000-sq.-ft. structure has sat vacant and unused since the 1980s.

Now, with funding from the Knight Foundation, the Delaware River Waterfront Corporation — the nonprofit agency you can thank for the Race Street Pier and Spruce Street Harbor Park — is turning its revitalization engine to this new project.

YouTube video

The historic shell will remain, as will the rail tracks that run the length of the space. Along the north facade, rollup glass doors and panels will let in lots of natural light. The interior will come alive with community-driven shopping, food and fun.

  • “The Garage” comprises 14 affordable studios for artists, creatives and small businesses.
  • “The Market” will be an open-air bazaar with moveable stalls for local vendors.
  • A flex space called “The Platform” will host art exhibitions, performances and events.
  • The tip of the pier will be left open to house a park called “The Garden,” which will have greenery, seating, play spaces and a cafe.

Cherry Street Pier is expected to open to the public by the end of summer 2018. Check out the plans and progress in the video above.

Danya Henninger is director and editor of Billy Penn at WHYY, where she oversees the team, all editorial decisions, and all revenue generation — including the membership program. She is a former food...