A recently completed economic impact study of Hilco Redevelopment Partners’ (HRP) proposed redevelopment of the closed former Philadelphia Energy Solutions (PES) refinery in South Philadelphia is projecting significant job creation and a positive economic impact to the city and region. HRP, the real estate development unit of Hilco Global, remediates and redevelops complex and obsolete industrial properties in cities nationwide.
The study, performed by Philadelphia-based Econsult Solutions Inc. (ESI), found that anticipated proposed operations of the redevelopment will support an estimated 19,000 full-time permanent jobs at stabilization and will deliver an annual economic impact of approximately $3 billion to the region. These jobs include direct, indirect, and induced jobs and are in addition to the over 13,000 jobs generated during the decommissioning, remediation, demolition, design, and construction phases of the project. The proposed redevelopment is estimated to take about a decade and will result in an environmentally conscious state-of-the-art multi-modal park with approximately 13 million to 15 million square feet of modern facilities.
“The proposed permanent and project job projections, as well as the positive economic impacts, is very good news for the City of Philadelphia as well as the region as a whole during a challenging time,” says Jeremy Grey, HRP Executive Vice President. “The scale of the project, its infrastructure, and strategic location are the key drivers for the number of new jobs that the proposed development will create once placed back into commerce.”
If ranked as a single employer, the projections would establish the location as one of the largest non-healthcare employers in the city limits, on par with the size of Comcast. Fortunately, as the study points out, the site will attract dozens of employers, making for a more resilient local economy and ending the boom-and-bust cycle the former refinery had long operated under. The refinery had employed over 1,000 workers before it was shuttered in 2019.
“The long-term jobs will include e-commerce, warehouse and distribution positions, as well as light manufacturing, commercial, rail and marine operations at the site, in addition to jobs in other sectors such as health care, real estate, and retail,” says NAME and TITLE at Econsult.
The redevelopment costs of the new multi-modal logistics park will support over 13,000 project jobs and deliver $2.3 billion of economic impact for the city over a period of about a decade.
“Remediation of the site is a difficult, complex and expensive proposition that would never happen if HRP had not won the auction and invested $225.5 million to purchase the facility,” says Roberto Perez, Chief Executive Officer at HRP. “The scale of the clean-up alone is daunting, with some 950 miles of existing pipes that will be abated and/or demolished — enough to stretch from Philadelphia to Florida, approximately 850,000 barrels of tank product that will be safely removed from the site, and about 30,000 tons of asbestos that will be abated and removed.” The majority of the existing facility will be recycled or reused as part of the development process after abatement and remediation which will divert thousands of tons of materials from landfills and reduce the need to truck demolished materials.
To perform this work, HRP and its partners will rely heavily on its local union partners during the project phases of decommissioning, remediation, demolition, site work, and vertical construction. To help tenants tap Philadelphia’s rich pool of talent and a strong labor force, HRP will focus on local minority, WBE, and DSBE hiring with targeted recruitment and virtual job fairs. The company has already partnered with the City of Philadelphia to recruit and inform the community of upcoming employment opportunities. HRP will be working with the appropriate entities to expand the public transportation network to serve the site and keep jobs in the community.
“These are accessible jobs inside the urban core that will be made available to workers in nearby neighborhoods and will offer the training needed for workers to quickly gain competencies and build careers,” says Jasmine Sessoms, Senior Vice President of Corporate Affairs, who grew up in the Grays Ferry neighborhood where the refinery once operated. “This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to bring real economic gain and thousands of jobs to the people who live where I grew up. Nothing could be more important to creating a more just and equitable economy and environment in the place I call home.”