Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia Unveils Two New High-Rises as Part of a $3.4 Billion Plan

Renderings 690 Schuylkill Avenue (top) and 3401 Civic Center Boulevard (bottom). Credit - top: CANNOdesign. Bottom: ZGF/Ballinger.Renderings 690 Schuylkill Avenue (top) and 3401 Civic Center Boulevard (bottom). Credit - top: CANNOdesign. Bottom: ZGF/Ballinger.

Last week, the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (aka CHOP) has unveiled two new high-rise proposals, one at (tentatively) 3401 Civic Center Boulevard in University City in West Philadelphia, and another across the river at 690 Schuylkill Avenue in Graduate Hospital (alternately Schuylkill Grays Ferry), South Philadelphia. The two towers will comprise a major portion of a $3.4 billion plan for upgrades the medical facility that is consistently filled to near full capacity, with the rest of the funds going to other hospital and research projects throughout the metro area, planned for completion by 2027. Both of the buildings will make a major impact on the skyline on either side of the river.

The South Philadelphia tower will be located at 690 Schuylkill Avenue next to the Roberts Center for Pediatric Research, a recently completed high-rise that is the first of CHOP’s towers to cross the Schuylkill River. The tower is located at the intersection of Schuylkill Avenue and South Street. To the south sits a large surface lot, where future high-rises are proposed. Infrastructure and park space spans much of the site at the moment. Plans for another tower have already been released, with more apparently still on the way.

The footprint of the structure appears strikingly similar to that of the completed Roberts Center. The $600 million tower will rise just past halfway the height of the existing tower, appearing to stand 13 to 15 floors in the rendering, and will feature the same design as the Roberts Center, albeit shorter, with an all glass façade and the familiar CHOP logo situated at the top. The two towers will stand just under 40 feet apart after completion. The high-rise will hold 470,000 square feet of research and lab space.

Rendering of the tower (on left) via CannonDesign.

Aerial view of the site via Google.

Although no address is specified for the University City tower, renderings appear to place it somewhere near at the intersection of Civic Center Boulevard and Osler Circle, apparently at the site of the Wood Pediatric Center at 3401 Civic Center Boulevard, a six-story, Postmodern structure. The building will stand 22 floors tall and come at a price tag of $1.9 billion, serving as a new patient center with 300 beds. All rooms in the tower will be single-patient units, something that CHOP will intends to implement in all of their hospitals.

The high-rise will stand near the CHOP Hub for Clinical Collaboration, a 19-story tower that is quickly rising into the skyline. The latest proposal will rise even more prominently above the surroundings, likely standing as the tallest building in the University City hospital cluster upon completion. This tower will also feature an all glass façade, with stylish curved corners giving the building a smooth look.

Rendering of the tower via ZGF/Ballinger.

The South Philadelphia tower is expected to finish some time before 2024. The University City tower has a planned completion date of 2027.

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12 Comments on "Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia Unveils Two New High-Rises as Part of a $3.4 Billion Plan"

  1. Well, technically if you super-impose the map of Philadelphia from Girard Ave to the southern tip directly over Manhattan, and build skyscrapers from Girard Ave to the Southern tip, you would find that Philadelphia IS New York City.

    Those CHOP towers serve as a reminder that Philadelphia is building very similar.

    Add the Schuylkill River skyline gives Chicago a nod as well.

    So exciting to be a Philadelphia fan.

    Now if the Eagles can win some games, that would be like adding butter to your potatoes!

    • But NYC is not defined by Manhattan. Nor are skyscrapers limited to the island of Manhattan. So no.

      • I’m taking 125th street to the Battery.

        That pretty much sums up the diagram.

        Although I am keeping the Bronx, Queens, Brooklyn & Staten Island out of the boundaries, I could easily add the 30th Street Master Plan + the Schuylkill Yards & suddenly, there you are!

        One day, Philadelphia will show the world how it’s done!

        BTW, NY has a height limit.
        No developer should build taller than 1 WTC.

        Philly doesn’t have that limit.

        Someday, Philly may build taller than anything in NY.

        Just wait & see.

      • Love Philly, but not a chance. NYC has over 6,000 high-rise buildings, 274 of which are skyscrapers (150 meters or higher). Philly has only 17 skyscrapers and a total of 300 high-rise buildings. NYC also has 18 Supertall Skyscrapers (300 meters or higher), plus 2 under construction. Philly has 1. Only 1 supertall in Philly.

        Philly is a great town, no doubt about it. Love the history, love the culture, love the swagger… But no city will ever match NYC.

  2. Agreed – this is very exciting. Crossing The South Street Bridge into the Graduate Hospital area, I like the way the Roberts Center serves as a gateway into the neighborhood. And while I am always pulling for taller and taller buildings, at this location I like the way the second building steps down as you transition into the dense residential neighborhood. Having said that, the additional building sites to the south of the Roberts Center could definitely support some height. I am looking forward to this skyline growth.

  3. Oh – and for some of the long-time Philly folks on the thread, remember the old beer distributor that was on the current site of the Roberts Center? That was quintessential gritty Philadelphia right there. I always felt like I was pulling up to some underground illegal operation next to the tracks surrounded by urban decay.

  4. Pfft. Nice “towers”. My daughter built a snowman taller than those. When do we FINALLY get a canyon effect along the Schuylkill??? We’re missing a huge opportunity to be the Singapore of the United States. WAKE UP CITY HALL!

    • I hear you!!

      I pray that Philly could transform the Schuylkill River into a canyon like the Chicago Riverwalk someday.

    • I’m curious if you and Marcus ever travel to the cities you compare Philly with. And if so, how recently? I love Philly and worked there for 4 years, but let Philly be Philly. Chicago River runs through the core of the city, so you’ll never get that effect along the Schuylkill. And Singapore, really? Singapore has 80 skyscrapers, Philly has 17. Singapore is also a huge international hub for finance and trade.

      If you want to compare, keep it to cities like Pittsburg, Minneapolis, maybe Boston. But not NYC, Chicago or Singapore.

      • NY was my city for 9 years.
        Been just about everywhere, from the Bronx to Queens, Harlem, the Rockaways, Central Park, Brooklyn, Wall Street, Prospect Park, the Flatiron district, Coney Island, have taken just about all of the subway lines, the Times Square shuttle, Penn Station, Grand Central, shopped just about everywhere.

        Don’t even attempt that insulting remark with me!!

        I have even had a MetroCard collection.

        You can’t seem to wrap your head around anyone who loves Philadelphia.

        Well, it’s true!!

        Philadelphia is more than the city of Brotherly Love or cheesesteaks. It’s a city of people.

        • I love Philly… Have for years. It’s just the comments about Philly being on track to match NYC or Chicago that baffle me. For every project being considered in Philly and Chicago there are an equal number if not 2X, 3X more being considered in NYC. There’s no, “catching up” to NYC.

          And as a side note, NYC is not my home town, but I have lived here for 10 years and have traveled to every major city in the US and most major cities in Europe, Asia and South America.

  5. WoW !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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