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The Bellwether District Marks Anniversary with Major Demolition and Emission Reduction Milestones

Jun 21, 2023
Home / News / The Bellwether District Marks Anniversary with Major Demolition and Emission Reduction Milestones

Transformational Project Is Ahead of Schedule; Will Add 19,000 Projected Permanent Jobs in Philadelphia

The Bellwether District, a Hilco Redevelopment Partners (HRP) project, today announced major milestones in the demolition and earthwork phases of the transformational redevelopment of the 1,300-acre former Philadelphia Energy Solutions refinery in South Philadelphia into a sustainable logistics and innovation hub. These milestones coincide with the anniversary of the closure of the refinery in June 2019 and HRP’s acquisition of the property on June 26, 2020.

“When we purchased the former refinery site in 2020, we bet big on Philadelphia. We believe this project is the most transformational growth opportunity in a generation,” said HRP CEO Roberto Perez. “By transforming the 1,300-acre former refinery site into a sustainable campus for logistics, life sciences, and innovation companies we are investing $4 billion and creating a projected 19,000 new permanent jobs right here in Philly.”

A year ahead of schedule, demolition of the former refinery infrastructure is now over 98% complete, including:

  • Demolition of 93% of pipes, 89% of storage tanks, and 100% of process units
  • Removal of 99% of petroleum product
  • 16% reduction in Philadelphia’s carbon emissions
  • Recycling of over 190,000 tons of material
Unit 210 Before Demo

Demolition progress at The Bellwether District.

Unit 210 After Demo


The demolition process will soon be completed with the removal of two operating wastewater treatment plants, which received approval from the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (PADEP) on June 15.

The near completion of demolition activities on the site cleared the way for the first phase of construction to begin. The first step in the construction process consists of major earthwork and re-grading of the site. The Bellwether District received permits from the City of Philadelphia for nearly 450 acres of earthwork, encompassing over two million cubic yards of earth, which will be redistributed throughout the site to raise the entire site above the 100-year floodplain and all future building locations above the 500-year floodplain.

The Bellwether District earthwork program is the largest to be permitted in Philadelphia history. When executed, it will yield approximately 6.5 million square feet of buildings and enable the first phase of infrastructure improvements, including 1.5 miles of new roads and major offsite road improvements along 26th street.

“Redeveloping 2% of Philadelphia is both an enormous privilege and an enormous responsibility. We take that responsibility seriously and are deeply committed to our core values environmental, economic, and community sustainability,” continued Perez. “Together with our partners, we are building a cleaner, greener, and more sustainable Philly.”

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Aerial view of the transformation of the former refinery into The Bellwether District.

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The Bellwether District is on track to break ground on vertical construction in the fall. For more information about The Bellwether District, visit

About Hilco Redevelopment Partners (HRP):

HRP is a vertically integrated real estate investment and redevelopment company that re-imagines, remediates, and redevelops obsolete industrial sites across the United States with a uniquely holistic approach to development that prioritizes economic, community and environmental sustainability. HRP’s redevelopment expertise ranges from modern logistics and distribution facilities to urban, mixed-use projects, and life science ecosystems. HRP strives to transform not only properties, but also the communities surrounding them through a comprehensive approach to community engagement, environmental sustainability, and economic development.

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