The end of the holiday season can be a real bummer. But it’s a new year, Philly, and with that comes plenty of exciting and game-changing things to look forward to in 2018.
There’s an onslaught of new towers making their debut along Philly’s skyline. A good chunk of new and improved parks and trails will bring more green space to the city. And a bunch of beloved buildings will open their doors once again, earning a second lease on life.
So bid a final adieu to 2017, Philly, because things are looking up in 2018. Here are 10 things to look forward to in the City of Brotherly Love over the next 12 months.
1. The opening of the Comcast Technology Center
After breaking ground in 2014, the Comcast Technology Center will finally open its doors this year as the tallest building in Philadelphia and Pennsylvania. The 60-story tower is expected to finish construction in the first half of 2018, followed by the opening of the Four Seasons Hotel on the top stories later in the year.
Designed by Foster+Partners, the opening will bring thousands of Comcast employees and visitors to the tower, and give Philly it’s first-ever supertall tower, rising to 1,121 feet.
2. LOVE Park’s big comeback
One of the most iconic public spaces in Philly has been a construction zone for the past year, as the city embarked on a $20 million renovation of the park. And while we were offered a sneak peek of the new-and-improved LOVE Park during the Christmas Village in December 2017, rest assured we haven’t seen nothing yet.
The official ribbon-cutting ceremony of LOVE Park, whose landscape was redesigned by Hargreaves Associates, will take place in spring 2018, once again connecting Dilworth Park to LOVE Park and the Parkway. The midcentury modern Fairmount Welcome Center, redesigned by KieranTimberlake, will reopen and Robert Indiana’s LOVE sculpture will return, too.
3. The Philadelphia Metropolitan Opera House’s second chance
What was once the largest theater in the country is making its grand return to the stage when it opens as a Live Nation venue in late 2018. The Philadelphia Metropolitan Opera House—for years a vacant, big, white box of a building—has been undergoing a $35 million renovation over the past year, and is part of the ongoing revitalization of North Broad.
4. The retirement of SEPTA tokens
We’d be lying if we said we weren’t a little sad about the end of the SEPTA token, but bye, Felicia. After phasing out this type of archaic payment throughout 2017, SEPTA will officially stop selling these medallions this year, removing all of the vending machines from stations by March 2018.
5. The Rail Park’s grand opening
In spring 2018, Philly will have its own version of the High Line in New York with the opening of the first phase of the Rail Park. The quarter-mile trail will be elevated along the long-abandoned Reading Viaduct, bringing some much-needed green space to the Callowhill neighborhood. After more than 10 years of fundraising, this pipe dream will finally become reality.
6. More protected bike lanes
Will 2018 be the year that Philly installs its 30 miles of protected bike lanes? It may be wishful thinking, but at the very least we do know that the city will get its third protected lane, this time on South Street. The city announced at the end of 2017 that it would install a half-mile protected bike lane between 27th and Lombard and 21st and South streets, shortly after a cyclist was killed while biking on Spruce Street in Center City. It may not be exactly all of what cycling advocates wanted, but it’s a start.
7. Market East’s retail renaissance
After years of suffering from a retail decline, 2018 is going to be a big year for this stretch of Market Street east of Broad. The $600 million redevelopment project East Market will open its two mixed-use towers this year, bringing big-name retailers and restaurants like Iron Hill Brewery, Wawa, and City Fitness to the neighborhood. That, plus an onslaught of new residents to the towers’ luxury apartments.
And just a couple of blocks away, this stretch of Market Street will also see the reopening of the old Gallery Mall as the Fashion District of Philadelphia in late 2018. Along with shopping, expect a new food hall and a brand-spanking new movie theater with the option to dine while you watch the latest blockbuster.
8. Philly’s sixth square, Drexel Square
It’s going to be awhile until we see Schuylkill Yards take shape in University City, but at least by 2018 we’ll have a new park to show for it. In the fall of 2017, Drexel and Brandywine Realty Trust broke ground on Drexel Square, which will be a 1.5-acre park serving as the center of the $3.5 billion innovation district. Some highlights include a an elliptical lawn accented by 30 soaring Dawn redwood trees.
9. Reopening of East Park Reservoir
After being closed off by a chain-linked fence for nearly 50 years, the East Park Reservoir will reopen this year as a protected natural bird habitat and home to the Discovery Center. The center, designed by Digsau, broke ground in September 2017 and will be run by Audubon PA and Philadelphia Outward Bound School.
The opening will reunite the Strawberry Mansion neighborhood with the once heavily frequented reservoir, which later turned into a resting spot for migratory birds when the city closed off the 37-acre lake.
10. Pier 9-turned-Cherry Street Pier
This long-abandoned pier on the Delaware River will open to the public in 2018 after a $4 million overhaul. Under the new name Cherry Street Pier, the 93-year old warehouse will be renovated and restored under the design leadership of Interface Studio Architects (ISA) and Groundswell, bringing art studios, a performance space, and more to the site. Head this way for a sneak peek.