In the 1960s, the Philadelphia skyline was on the verge of transformation as several massive towers were proposed at the end of the decade. In the mid-1960s, City Hall, topped by the William Penn Statue, ranking as the tallest building, with most other tall towers clustering in the vicinity. Over the next few decades, the Center City skyline has extended greatly to the east and west, with many dominant modern office towers surpassing City Hall. Today Philly YIMBY looks back and compares the skyline from 1965 skyline to its current form.
In 1965, no buildings rose above the William Penn statue out of respect for the so-called “gentlemen’s agreement.” In the second half of the decade and at the start of the 1970s, several large towers were built, such as 1700 Market Street, PECO Building, and One Meridian Plaza, becoming some of the tallest buildings in the city, with many more on the way in the next 50 years.
By 2020, there were eight towers taller than 500 feet, not including structures under construction. One Commerce Square was the first tower to breach the height of City Hall in June 1986, followed by the 945-foot-tall One Liberty Place in the next three months. In 2007, Comcast Center became the city’s tallest building at 974 feet, then the Comcast Technology Center topped the skyline in 2017 at 1,121 feet tall. By 2020, construction was in progress on the lower floors of the 599-foot-tall Laurel Rittenhouse Square, while the 542-foot-tall Arthaus was further along as the tower had reached the halfway point by October.