ULI Philadelphia Announces New Team Member and Promotions
ULI Philadelphia adds new team member and announces promotion of Kelly Cary.
On Wednesday, October 28, ULI Philadelphia hosted a virtual panel discussion titled ‘Refinery Redevelopment: Creating A New Legacy’. The discussion, moderated by Charlene Drake, Associate at Langan Engineering and Environmental Services, focused on Hilco Redevelopment Partners’ recent purchase and redevelopment efforts of one of the largest oil processing refineries on the east coast. Julianna Connolly, In-House Environmental Specialist, Stephanie Eggert, Senior Vice President, Operations and Jasmine Sessoms, Senior Vice President, Corporate Affairs, spoke on the panel to walk the audience through how Hilco plans to redevelop the 1,300-acre site in this once in a generation redevelopment opportunity.
Commitment to Sustainability
The panel discussed at length Hilco’s commitment to sustainable building and practices. When asked about its plans to remediate the site, the panel acknowledged while will be a heavy lift, Hilco is always up for the challenge. “Hilco takes the most challenging sites and turns them into sustainable redevelopment”, says Sessoms. Part of the cleanup will include safely removing 850,000 barrels of tank product from the site, abating and demolishing 950 miles of existing pipes, and disposing of 30,000 tons of ACM. Hilco is also committed to implementing greening projects around the campus such as tree planning and using LED lighting and solar energy to reduce the company’s carbon footprint on the site. Additionally, since much of the site is in the 100-year floodplain, Hilco will need to raise much of the site several feet to protect it from the threat of sea level rise and increasing storm surges.
Commitment to Job Growth & Workforce Development
The moderator asked the panel how the new jobs that will be created at the PES refinery site align with the future of work in Philadelphia. The panelists said the jobs on the site will be tech-oriented, wage-sustaining positions that will support 19,000 employees. Hilco also aims to have
50% of its workforce be local, which means prioritizing employment for residents of the site’s surrounding zip does. While the panelists envision the site being a hub for the “blue economy”, they also recognize that in a city such as Philadelphia, preparing people for tech-oriented positions presents several challenges and will require a coordinated effort among several stakeholders. This is why Hilco plans to partner with local community development corporations, chambers of commerce, and the School District of Philadelphia to develop workforce training programs that will create a pipeline of local residents ready and able to access the blue-economy sector jobs on site.
Commitment to Philadelphia
Hilco prides itself on its open-door policy and are committed to being good neighbors. One of the ways they are honoring their commitment is by keeping the community engaged throughout the entire redevelopment process. For example, Hilco will be teaming up with the Office of Emergency management to send out advisory alerts if work taking place onsite is projected to have a spillover effect on the surrounding community. They also hold bimonthly meetings with the community members to keep them abreast of the project’s progress. Finally, make Hilco’s vision a reality, they’ve had conversations with “virtually every city department”.
Hilco has also been coordinating with SEPTA and PennDOT to build roads and potentially bus stops to further open up the site to the broader region.
When asked where they see the project in 15 years, the panelist shared nothing but optimism. Sessoms thinks the project will be “the crown jewel of Philadelphia”. Eggert described the project as a “rebirth”. Connolly is confident that “people won’t think twice about what the site used to be”.
ULI Philadelphia would like to thank the Women’s Leadership Initiative for organizing this event and our speakers for volunteering to present.
This article was contributed by Stewart Scott, intern with ULI Philadelphia and current student at University of Pennsylvania’s Master of City & Regional Planning program.