The second-tallest building on Philly YIMBY’s Annual December Countdown is the W/Element Hotel, which is finishing construction at 1441 Chestnut Street in Center City, a block south of City Hall. Designed by Cope-Linder Architects and developed by Chestlen Development, the 52-story skyscraper stands 617 feet tall and features a distinctive design with jagged blue glass and gray metal cladding that was inspired by the Schuylkill River and the cliffs that run along it. The building has made a significant impact on the Center City skyline, as it joins the group of 500-foot-plus towers in the Center City core.
The building’s height was previously reported at 582 feet, but verification from parties involved with the project confirm the height at 617 feet. The building rises from the southern portion of the site where One Meridian Plaza once stood. The 492-foot-tall tower caught fire in February 1991, killing three firemen, and was demolished by 1999. Since that time, the site saw many architects and developers looking to fashion a replacement, including a Comcast proposal YIMBY covered in our Comcast Technology Center feature.
In the last update in August, many window panels were noticeably missing and were temporarily filled in with plywood panels. In addition, many of the glass balustrades at the top of the building were not yet installed, with a heavy amount of work going on inside the building and at ground level.
Philly YIMBY’s recent walk around the tower revealed that the ground work including the sidewalk is done and the signage has been posted along the windows advertising the hotel’s imminent opening. The building is getting some final touches as the window-cleaning BMU and basket have been going around the façade for over two months by now. At night, only the airplane warning lights illuminate the building, along with interior lighting getting filled up. None of the decorative lights have yet been turned on on a full-time basis. The decorative lighting on the tower has not been tested for a while, but at the very end of October sightings were reported of the W logo being lit up in green for a short period.
The W Hotel and Element Hotel is scheduled to open on March 2, 2021.