The Loews Philadelphia Hotel, formerly known as the PSFS Building, located at 1200 Market Street in the Market East section of Center City, is a remarkable skyscraper for Philadelphia as the building was ahead of its time when it was built. Upon completion, it was the most massive structure in the skyline as the large, T-shaped tower rose almost as high as the clock tower of City Hall. The 36-story building originally stood at a height of 491 feet, the first skyscraper to be built just under the informal Gentleman’s Agreement height limit. The International Style tower was designed by George Howe and William Edmond Lescaze. William later on went to design One New York Plaza just three years before his death in 1969. The developer of the skyscraper was the Philadelphia Savings and Fund Society, which still has their iconic initials attached to the east and west sides of the blue crown above the main roof.
Banks had been scrambling for floor space in Philadelphia just before the Great Depression, and the Philadelphia Savings Fund Society had selected the site of the former William Penn Charter School to construct its skyscraper. PSFS’ President James M. Wilcox had approved the architects after the board of directors selected them in November 1930.
The tower was built by the George A. Fuller Company as an all-steel structure, which started to rise out of the ground in July 1931. The skyscraper rose incredibly fast back then, and the structure had reached the top by December and cladding reached the top at the end of the month. The PSFS Building had opened on August 1, 1932 with a mixture of polished granite, light gray limestone, and glazed and unglazed black brick. The large television antenna that extends the buildings height to 792 feet was installed on the south side of the roof in 1948. The tower was also converted into the Loews Hotel from 1998 to the opening of April 2000.