Four teams are finalists for the opportunity to redevelop 1801 Vine and 1901 Wood Streets sites for the African American Museum in Philadelphia, Free Library of Philadelphia, and additional occupants.

PHILADELPHIA — Today the City of Philadelphia announced the African American Museum in Philadelphia (AAMP) will relocate to the Benjamin Franklin Parkway as part of the redevelopment of 1801 Vine and 1901 Wood Streets. Four development teams have been shortlisted for the opportunity to reimagine the sites. Today Mayor Jim Kenney announced these important new developments, stating, “When the City of Philadelphia launched the African American Museum during our bicentennial celebrations nearly 50 years ago, we became the first city in America to fund and build such an institution. As we approach the 250th anniversary of our nation’s founding in 2026, our announcement of a new home for the African American Museum in Philadelphia is a reaffirmation of our city’s commitment to supporting and uplifting the museum’s mission. The redevelopment of this historic building to house AAMP marks a significant moment in the life of our city and its most celebrated cultural thoroughfare, the Benjamin Franklin Parkway.”Mayor Kenney was joined for the announcement by Council President Darrell L. Clarke, whose Fifth Council District includes the museum’s future location. “This is an important day not only for the City of Philadelphia and the African American Museum in Philadelphia, but for African American history in our city,” Council President Clarke said. “From the successful protests to desegregate Girard College to the first legislative act ever passed by a democracy to outlaw slavery, African Americans have played critically important roles in our city’s and Commonwealth’s long histories. It’s only fitting that the Museum highlighting and telling these important stories be developed and located in a central location—the Ben Franklin Parkway.” The redevelopment of the 240,000 square foot historic building and the approximately 88,000 square foot adjacent lot will include a new home for the African American Museum in Philadelphia, as well as implementation of the Free Library’s plan for 1901 Wood Street–the addition of a 60,000 square foot Children and Family Center, auditorium, storage, and administrative office space to the Parkway Central Library. “We are thrilled to be a part of the reimagining of one of Philadelphia’s most prominent public buildings at the historic 1801 Vine Street,” said Dr. Ashley Jordan, President of the African American Museum in Philadelphia. “As the African American Museum in Philadelphia further positions itself to become a world-class attraction, this move—minutes away from the Ben Franklin Parkway and renowned institutions—will complement our efforts and affix our museum to Philadelphia’s cultural landscape.” Also taking note of the project’s inherent synergies was Kelly Richards, President and Director of the Free Library of Philadelphia. “The Free Library is thrilled with these new spaces and our new neighbors on the Benjamin Franklin Parkway,” Richards said. “The possibilities for even stronger collaboration between the Library and the African American Museum are incredibly powerful. I am excited for all that lies ahead and excited to welcome the museum and its staff.”After responding to a request for qualifications (RFQ) released by PIDC in 2021, four development teams have been short-listed to submit proposals for the sites. A request for proposals (RFP) is expected to be released to the teams by the end of August, with proposals planned to be due at the end of 2022. Developer teams were notified on Tuesday, August 9, 2022. The short-listed development teams are: 

  • Trammell-Crow/Badger Group/Salamander Hotels,
  • Tishman Speyer/Jair Lynch Real Estate Partners,
  • National Real Estate Development/Frontier Development with Method/Smith & Roller/BKP Development, and
  • Lubert-Adler/Mosaic Development.
“PIDC, on behalf of the City of Philadelphia, is proud to manage the process of choosing a proposal for redeveloping this site. We are committed to catalyzing development of projects that create quality jobs, advance equity, and promote sustainability. This project is exemplary of that commitment,” said Anne Bovaird Nevins, President of PIDC, Philadelphia’s Industrial Development Corporation. “With significant private investment led by an inclusive development team, this property will create needed public amenities and will benefit Philadelphians and visitors alike. We have been pleased that the responses we have received so far have included specific commitments and direct representation of diversity, equity, and inclusion at all phases and levels of the project. We look forward to the next steps in the RFP process and the redevelopment of this historically and architecturally significant building as an asset for Philadelphia.”About 1801 Vine StreetThe building at 1801 Vine Street previously housed the operations of the Family Division of the Court of Common Pleas of the First Judicial District of Pennsylvania. The 247,196 square foot building was designed by Philadelphia architect John Torrey Windrim and constructed in 1941 with funds from the Works Progress Administration (WPA). The Family Court Building and The Free Library of Philadelphia (completed in 1927) are twin buildings, modeled after the palace buildings of La Place de la Concorde in Paris. The Family Court building’s exterior and a portion of its interior, including 37 WPA murals, are listed on the Philadelphia Register of Historic Places. The interior designation is significant; it is one of only four interior spaces (City Council Chambers, Wanamaker’s Grand Court, and the main waiting room at 30th Street Station) that have been designated historic in Philadelphia.About 1901 Wood StreetThe 88,000 square foot lot at 1901 Wood Street currently houses a parking lot managed by the Philadelphia Parking Authority (PPA). It was previously held for the expansion of the Free Library of Philadelphia’s Parkway Central Library. The City is exercising its right under its contract with PPA to offer the property for development. Inclusion of Parkway Central Library’s plan for a 60,000 square foot Children and Family Center, auditorium, storage, and relocation of administrative office space is required in any development proposed for the parcel.