Lower South District at a Glance
For many decades most of the housing in Lower South supported the Navy Yard. The closure of military and affordable housing is reflected in the 68 percent population decline from 1990 to 2000, mostly due to the shuttering of the Philadelphia Housing Authority’s Passyunk Homes. New housing developments, such as the Reserve at Packer Park on the former Capehart military housing site and Siena Place at the former Passyunk Homes site, correlate to the 19.2 percent population increase seen during the past decade.
Demographic trends are difficult to track in Lower South due to the large shifts in population and housing units. However, according to the 2010 census and the 2009 American Community Survey, Lower South differs from the city as a whole in several ways. Generally, Lower South is less racially diverse, older, and more economically stable.
Population is expected to grow by approximately 1,000 new residents over ten years. This is based on completion and occupancy of the Siena Place development and redevelopment of currently vacant and underutilized land for residential use. Household size is expected to stay the same and residential vacancy to remain low. This projection brings Lower South’s population to approximately 6,544 residents by 2022.
Lower South comprises a large portion of a metropolitan subcenter, as identified in the Citywide Vision. The subcenter includes the Navy Yard, sports complex, and the Philadelphia International Airport (PHL). Metropolitan subcenters are major destinations that serve the entire metropolitan area and offer a mix of economic activities. It is estimated that over 15,000 people are employed in the district— almost three times the number that live in Lower South—and comprising two percent of the city’s total employment base.
Over half the jobs in Lower South are located at the Navy Yard, a quickly growing industrial, office, and research and development center. More than 115 companies and three civilian Naval contractors are located there. The largest employer is still the U.S. Navy, accounting for more than 15 percent of the district’s jobs.
As shown in the land use section, much of the land (approximately 60 percent) in the district is dedicated to economic activities such as port, refining, and warehousing. All of these industries require large amounts of land to operate. The sports complex also requires large amounts of land for the parking necessary to accommodate multiple events.
Employment is expected to grow significantly in the next ten years. Job growth is based on completion of XFinity Live!, continued absorption of industrial and office space at the Navy Yard, and redevelopment of the food distribution center and port properties. Lower South is expected to gain 7,000 permanent, nonconstruction jobs in the retail, office, and industrial sectors by 2022. The district will continue to perform a vital role as an economic engine for the city and the metropolitan area.