In recent months, YIMBY shared multiple publications covering the historical status of the Philadelphia skyline. Though our massing renderings have gone all the way back to when City Hall stood alone in the skyline, the modern skyline largely came into being around 30 years ago, when developers finally dared to pass its 548-foot-high William Penn Statue. Philadelphia YIMBY presents our custom animation of the Philadelphia skyline rising between the years 1985 and 1990, when Center City received some of its most iconic skyscrapers.
In 1985, scaffolding began to cover the pinnacle of City Hall as the structure was in dire need of a renovation and interior reinforcement. On May 13, the groundbreaking ceremony was held for One Liberty Place at 1650 Market Street, a 65-story skyscraper was going to stand. In the same year, 1835 Market Street had completed construction, just to the north of 1818 Market Street. In 1986, One Liberty Place was finally above ground amid controversy surrounding its height passing passing the top of City Hall.
One Liberty Place was topped out on May 27, 1987 and opened in August. In the next year, the Independence Blue Cross Tower at 1901 Market Street topped out and joined One Liberty, and at the beginning of 1989 the Bell Atlantic Tower topped out at 1717 Arch Street. Around the same time, the Mellon Bank Center at 1735 Market Street and Two Liberty Place at 50 East 16th Street were over 10 stories above ground, rising simultaneously. Two Liberty Place topped out in September, while the Mellon Bank Center topped its pyramid in October of the same year. By the end of 1990, each tower was completed and occupied. The new towers dominated the skyline with their impressive height and nighttime lighting.
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There is more total development in Philadelphia today than there was during the 1985-1990 period – by far. However, it can certainly be argued that the 1985-1990 was the most impactful period of all eras on the Center City core.
Wow; that is so cool; the way the skyline moves and rises while you watch it.
I was there standing on the corner of 17th & Market Streets looking up as the tower was rising up.
I was young and in awe over the city’s first real skyscraper.
Philadelphia FINALLY surpassed Pittsburgh for Pennsylvania’s tallest.
The momentum was just getting started.
Now we have a skyline so big, it crossed the Schuylkill.
Imagine a day when Camden can join in and contribute to Philadelphia the way Jersey City contributes to New York City.
Just imagine such a skyline that stretches several miles.
Can we reach 40th street?