In recent days, decorative lighting was undergoing testing atop the W/Element Hotel at 1441 Chestnut Street in Center City, as the dual-branded hotel readies for its grand opening in the coming months (Element Hotel in April and the W Hotel in May). Designed by Cope-Linder Architects and developed by Chestlen Development, the tower’s nighttime illumination will be particularly effective due to the tower’s prominent height of 617 feet and 52 stories, further enhanced by the dramatic design inspired by the ripples on the Schuylkill River. During Superbowl LII, the Lighting Practice, the building’s illumination designer, was inspired by multiple skyscrapers that were illuminated in green in honor of the Philadelphia Eagles and decided to switch from an all-white design to a multi-colored LED system.
The building is the second to rise on the footprint of the 491-foot-tall One Meridian Plaza, which suffered from a fatal fire in 1991 and was subsequently demolished. The first building was to rise at the site was the 518-foot-tall Residence at Ritz Carlton, completed to the north of the future hotel site in 2009.
Hardly any visible progress has been made between the last few YIMBY updates, other than work at the ground level and filling in missing glass panels at the top portion of the structure. At night, final interior lighting gradually replaced construction lighting as a visible sign of interior progress. However, at the exterior, the only lights that substantially stood out were the aircraft lights at the pinnacle.
As of today, it appears that most of the decorative lighting is assembled, except for illumination of the W logos on the north and south façades. In October, the W logo on the south face was was lit up in green for a brief period of time. Last week, primary lighting was tested by circulating the colors white, blue, green, and red. In our more recent visit, lighting was tested mostly in white, with some sections lit in red and light blue.