Port Richmond Rail Yards

Philadelphia Industrial Development Corporation (“PIDC”)

Industrial Development Strategy and Market Analysis – Philadelphia, PA

The 142-acre Port Richmond Rail Yards are located in northeast Philadelphia along the Delaware River near Richmond Street.  The Site was originally developed by the Reading Railroad in the mid-1800s, and served as the transfer point for coal arriving via rail from mines in northeastern Pennsylvania.  At Port Richmond, coal was transferred from rail to colliers (bulk cargo ships) that exported what was then the primary fuel for steamships.  After the First World War, ships began switching to diesel and other fuels, and activity at the Site diminished over the next 75 years.  However, the Site’s potential for maritime, freight rail, and highway access could be an important driver for reactivating the property in the future.     

 PIDC asked RESGroup to perform market research qualifying the potential for different types of industrial development at this underutilized Site, and to support strategic planning for the potential development of the Port Richmond Rail Yards.  RESGroup compared the larger Philadelphia/Camden/Wilmington metropolitan area with other metropolitan areas in the northern Mid-Atlantic for different types of industrial users.  For those types of users likely to be attracted to the Philadelphia/Camden/Wilmington area, their key location requirements were compared with the attributes of the Port Richmond Rail Yard. 

 To understand the potential demand for new industrial space in the greater Philadelphia area, RESGroup analyzed the area’s historic patterns of industrial absorption.  Comparable industrial parks in the Philadelphia area were analyzed, providing an inventory of land available for new industrial development, and typical site and building requirements for local industrial users.  Finally, an analysis of the quality of the Site’s potential rail and maritime access was conducted to further understand potential users at Port Richmond.