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Linda K. Harris, Director of Communications

Local and National Leaders, Supporters Gather to Break Ground for Dilworth Plaza

(January 30, 2012) – Today, U.S. Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood, members of the Philadelphia Congressional Delegation and a representative of Governor Corbett joined Mayor Michael A. Nutter, Center City District (CCD) President Paul R. Levy as well as members of Philadelphia City Council, SEPTA and foundation and business funders to celebrate groundbreaking for the $50 million transformation of Dilworth Plaza, the public space and transportation hub immediately west of Philadelphia's City Hall.

"President Obama has challenged us to build an economy that works for everyone, and with the work starting today, Dilworth Plaza will meet that challenge,” said Secretary LaHood. "All across America, there is work to be done on projects like this. Now is the time to connect people who need work with the work we need to do to improve our nation's transit centers, highways, railways, airports and ports.”

Mayor Nutter added, "The newly renovated Dilworth Plaza will create more than 900 jobs and will make Dilworth Plaza a green, transit-oriented park for Philadelphians and visitors. I'd like to thank Secretary LaHood, SEPTA and especially Center City District for working in partnership with the City to complete this project.”

By early 2014, Dilworth Plaza will be transformed into a sustainable, barrier-free, well-maintained, green public space with accessible connections to underground transit. The new Plaza will have a large lawn, tree groves, seating for 400, a programmable fountain and a café, the revenue from which will be used to help maintain the plaza. During winter, a portable ice rink will cover the fountain area.

"The Center City District thanks all who have supported the transformation of Dilworth Plaza into what will be one of the most vibrant civic spaces in the city. This critically important capital investment will generate more than 900 construction jobs, will enhance the pedestrian and transit-rider experience and provide a place for visitors, residents and workers to meet, relax and enjoy the 24-hour amenities of our growing downtown,” said Paul R. Levy, President and CEO of the Center City District.

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 transit platforms accessible for the first time.

Planning and design for the Dilworth Plaza project began in 2008, and more than 60 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.

The CCD has a long-term (30-year) lease with the City to construct, maintain, and manage Dilworth Plaza. The CCD will assume all cleaning, site- and landscape-maintenance, and programming responsibilities for the Plaza.

The transformation of Dilworth Plaza has been generously supported by the U.S. Department of Transportation with 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 of Philadelphia's capital program, $4.3 million from SEPTA, plus generous donations from the William Penn Foundation, the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, the Greenfield Foundation, First Niagara, Arden Group, The Dow Chemical Company, Brooks Capital, Commonwealth Realty, Brandywine Trust, Pearl Properties, the Roberts Event Group, and many others.

The project construction was competitively bid in the summer of 2010 and a contract was awarded to the Daniel J. Keating Company; 39.5% in dollar value of the construction subcontracts will be managed by minority- and female-owned firms.

The renovation of Dilworth Plaza was designed by KieranTimberlake architects, OLIN landscape architects, and Urban Engineers. A work of public art created by Janet Echelman will be integrated into the programmable fountain and will trace the path of the trains below in real time. The general contractor is Daniel J. Keating Company and the CCD's owner's representative is Gilbane Building Company.

For more details about the project:


The Center City District, a private-sector organization dedicated to making Center City Philadelphia clean, safe and attractive, is committed to maintaining Center City's competitive edge as a regional employment center, a quality place to live, and a premier regional destination for dining, shopping and cultural attractions.