Soon after the completion of the 973-foot-tall Comcast Center in 2008, which stood as the tallest building in Philadelphia, local residents and outside watchers wondered what was next for the city skyline. Almost six years later, on January 15, 2014, the design for the Comcast Technology Center, then known as the Comcast Innovation and Technology Center, was revealed to the public. The tower would become the new tallest skyscraper in Philadelphia, planned to stand 1,121 feet tall at 1800 Arch Street in Center City, across the street from the previous record-holder. The design by Foster and Partners was an unfinished version of the current building, as many portions of the building had to be finalized. The developer of the Comcast Technology Center is Liberty Property Trust, which met its fate when it was purchased by Prologis Inc. In this YIMBY feature, we compare the 2014 design and the current version of the skyscraper using renderings, architectural models, and photographs.
Construction is nearly complete at the W/Element Hotel, a 617-foot-tall, 52-story skyscraper that stands at 1439 Chestnut Street (alternately 1441 Chestnut Street) in Center City. Designed by Cope-Linder Architects and developed by Chestlen Development, the dual-branded tower holds a total of 755 hotel rooms. Tutor Perini is the general contractor, and The Lighting Practice is responsible for the vertical strips of that light up at night.
Philadelphia has had certain key years when skyscraper construction saw a notable surge, when many developments were underway at the same time. For instance, much of the current Center City skyline took form in and just after 1987. Another key year for construction took place in 2017, when various high-rise projects spanned multiple neighborhoods. Most of these developments stood under 500 feet, with some barely noticeable from afar, yet others added significant bulk to the skyline. The tallest skyscraper under construction was the Comcast Technology Center, the city’s first supertall tower and still the city’s tallest building. In this publication Philadelphia YIMBY looks back to when this collection of developments was underway four years ago.
During its boom years in the 1980s and the 1990s, the Philadelphia skyline saw multiple tower proposals, many of which ended up not being built. Among these was Park Tower, located at 1501 Arch Street in Center City. Designed by Skidmore Owings and Merrill, the two-towered development would include a 32-story, 480-foot-tall building on Cherry Street and the shorter high-rise standing 230 feet and 18 stories tall. The buildings would feature facades clad in red brick and white stone cladding. Today Philadelphia YIMBY looks back at the development and how it would fit into the skyline.
In the past month, YIMBY has posted multiple publications on the PSFS Building and its history. The building stands at 1200 Market Street in Market East, Center City, with a height of 491 feet that dominates the local skyline even now, and did even more so when it was recently built. The tower was designed by George Howe and William Lescaze, who drew up several designs of the building prior to construction. In this feature, Philadelphia YIMBY shares the fourth iteration of the PSFS Building, which also had a physical model built.