Over the decades, the Philadelphia skyline has seen many transformations with different iconic images, such as when City Hall stood all alone in the early 1900s. One of the key years in the high-rise history of the city is 1987, when One Liberty Place dramatically surpassed City Hall in height and opened later in the same year. Another key year is 2018, when the skyline gained its first supertall tower with the completion of the Comcast Technology Center. Today Philly YIMBY compares the skyline’s appearance in 1987 to its state in 2020.
In 1987, the citizens of Philadelphia looked on as the Liberty Place project transformed the skyline at a time when the development was often heavily criticized by people who insisted that the development would destroy the skyline. Among the opponents was city planner Edmund Bacon (the father of actor Kevin Bacon). The steel of One Liberty Place passed the William Penn Statue in September 1986, the floors topped out in December, the spire was topped on May 27, 1987, and the tower opened August 17, 1987 as a gigantic blue glass and stone skyscraper rising high above the limited towers that could not pass 548 feet.
Flashing forward to last year, the Liberty Place towers are now among the most admired skyscrapers in the skyline. However, a taller development had risen in the skyline since then, after being proposed in 2014. The 1,121-foot-tall high-rise formerly known as the Comcast Innovation & Technology Center was also met with criticism, mostly regarding its blocky design and how the lantern, cooling towers, and glass elevator shafts appeared to show West Philadelphia an obscene gesture. The tower started construction the just a few months after it was proposed, and the steel reached the roof by the beginning of 2017. The lantern was topped on November 27th and the towers office portion opened in October 2018 while the Four Seasons opened in August 2019, giving the skyline its first supertall skyscraper.