During the construction of the first Comcast Center tower, many wondered whether the 975-foot-tall skyscraper would rank as the city’s tallest for much longer. Just a few months before the former’s topping out, details were released about the American Commerce Center at 1800 Arch Street, a proposal that stunned many development watchers with its 1,510-foot height. The project was being developed by Hill International Real Estate Partners and designed by Kohn Pendersen Fox, a firm that is also behind the 792-foot-tall Mellon Bank Center, currently the city’s fifth-tallest building, and Arthaus, a 542-foot-tall skyscraper currently under construction. The development was ultimately canceled and the 1,121-foot-tall Comcast Technology Center was built at the site.
The tower’s angled roof would have risen to a height of 1,210 feet, topped with a sharp spire resembling a rondel dagger. The development would have counted 63 floors, with a program consisted of retail and office space, as well as a 26-story hotel planned in the 473-foot-tall podium to the east of the main tower. The structure would have consisted of a concrete core with steel slabs, as suggested in plans that were presented to the city.
The main tower would have sat on the west side of the site, farther away from the Comcast Center than the Comcast Technology Center currently stands. The west face was to be flush with the property line along 18th Street, with floor plates being nearly square. In 2008 things looked good for the project. Around the time of the opening of the Comcast Center, zoning was being amended around 18th and Arch streets, paving the way for construction. The City Planning Commission unanimously approved the building in December.
Unfortunately, the tower still had no anchor tenant and lacked funding. The project was officially dead as of August 2011 when Liberty Property Trust purchased the lot from the original developers for $40 million, leading to the construction of the Comcast Technology Center, which was officially completed in 2018.