Getting served at LOVE Park could soon be commonplace if a city leader gets the backing -- and private interest -- for his plan to transform the iconic square.
Philadelphia City Council President Darrell Clarke revealed a plan yesterday that would bring seven restaurants, terraces and new gardens to the open space at 15th Street and JFK Boulevard in Center City Philadelphia.
"It think it's an idea that we really need to pursue very aggressively," said Clarke.
Clarke’s plan promises to raise millions for needed improvements to the aging John F Kennedy Plaza, a.k.a. LOVE Park, by leasing parts of the park to eateries.
Clarke’s office released conceptual design sketches by Philly-based Daroff Design lay out specific details of the plan including seven separate retail spaces ranging from 2750- to 3350-square feet positioned along the outer center parts of the park. The fountain and iconic statue would remain in place with access point to the park from the four corners.
“Our concept is to replace like-for-like and as-is-where-is,” said the design plan.
The existing “Welcome Center” would be refurbished and the new design would also include a central bandstand, self-cleaning toilets and energy efficient lighting.
"We're talking about simply enhancing LOVE Park," said Clarke. "But in the same token coming up with a strategy that allows us to generate revenue to pay for the restoration."
The design plan includes Duke of York Square in London and Bryant Park as examples of what could be done with the space.
A Chicago-based company already bid $30 million to buy the garage below LOVE Park and it’s possible the same company could be brought in to develop the park above, according to the Philadelphia Inquirer.
JFK Plaza, which opened in 1965, became a worldwide icon after the installation of Robert Indiana’s LOVE statue during the bicentennial in 1976. It would later become a mecca for skateboarders drawn to its odd -- and underutilized -- designed
Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter has his own plan for the park that would keep control of the park in city hands while making $16.5 million in renovations.
Nutter’ plan would be paid for by selling the city-owned parking lot under the plaza to a company that would be able to make necessary repairs.