Philadelphia Naval Yard celebrates milestone

February 1, 2013 3:26:02 PM PST
The redevelopment of the Philadelphia Naval Yard was also an occasion to celebrate reaching 10,000 employees.

It was something to celebrate - where once warships were built, there is now an upscale business campus.

What do people do here?

Urban Outfitters has its home office.

A short distance away the Tasty Baking Company turns out Tastykakes and other foods.

The European based Akers shipbuilding, this week christened its 18th ship built here in 12 years.

With 2,200 workers the Navy, which does advanced engineering, is still the biggest employer.

A relative newcomer - The Mark Group - a British based firm that focuses on improving energy efficiency in buildings.

It's grown from 4 to 100 workers and wanted a central location in this region.

"The Navy Yard just makes total sense. It's easy access to I-76, to I-95, to New Jersey, to Delaware," said Jeff Bartos, CEO of Mark Group.

As for the future, the master plan calls for people living here, making it a 24-7 community. The architects' big dream: extending the subway.

"The Broad Street Line could be and should be extended," said Robert A.M. Stem.

The Navy Yard has had its share of disappointment. The building where lunch was served Friday was once a cruise terminal until the economy soured. However offices are now planned here.

A highly touted solar panel factory was never built but the head of the Philadelphia Industrial Development Corporation says it's not a big deal in the grand scheme.

"I think in a span of 20 years to have one project like a solar panel manufacturing facility not work out is a pretty good track record. If we were playing for Phillies, we would be all-stars," said John Grady, PDIC.

Speaking of baseball, for some workers the Navy Yard is all about location.

"It's close to the baseball park so when there's an afternoon game you could always walk there," said Ray Lee.