High-rise development offer numerous advantages, including efficient use of valuable urban real estate, environmental benefits through resource use economies of scale and conservation of land, and dense, transit-friendly and pedestrian-favorable environments that create thriving cities. Then, of course, there are the lofty views that are available to dwellers of sky-high aeries. Using the formula of D = 1.22459 x Sqrt (H + 5.58), where D equals distance and H stands for the height of the building’s highest floor and 5.58 represents 5′-7″, the height of the average US adult in feet, we can calculate the longest unobstructed view distances on a clear day from any building level. Today YIMBY offers a comparison of views and view distances from the highest floors of some of the tallest buildings on the Philadelphia skyline.
Comcast Technology Center
The Comcast Technology Center at 1800 Arch Street in Center City is both the tallest building and one of the largest structures in Philadelphia, standing 1,121 feet tall and spanning over 1.5 million square feet of interior space. Completed in 2017, the supertall stands 60 stories high and features office space on its lower floors and a hotel on its upper levels, with an observation deck at the top. The project was developed by Liberty Property Trust and designed by Foster and Partners, with Thornton Tomasetti behind the structural design and LF Driscoll as the contractor. Gensler crafted the exquisite and sometimes bizarre interior of the main lobby, with an architectural style well-suited for the modern workforce and the general public alike. In this feature, Philadelphia YIMBY observes the east lobby of the Comcast Technology Center which is open to the employees and the public at limited times.
Since 1987, when the unofficial “Gentlemen’s Agreement” that advised against building taller than City Hall was eliminated, multiple high-rises that stand well over 500 feet tall have dramatically changed the profile of Center City. The Comcast Technology Center had first joined the skyline at the very end of 2015, and now makes an incredible impact with its height of 1,121 feet and 60 stories as the tallest skyscraper in the city. Designed by Foster and Partners and developed by Liberty Property Trust, the building stands at 1800 Arch Street and houses Comcast corporate offices along with a Four Seasons hotel. In this publication, Philadelphia YIMBY looks back at the Comcast Technology Center before it topped out.
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.
The majority of Philadelphia’s tallest skyscrapers stand in Center City to the west of City Hall, which include the Comcast Technology Center at 1800 Arch Street. The supertall, which is the tallest building in the city, has risen into the skyline between 2014 and 2017. Designed by Foster + Partners, the tower’s structure is compromised of a central concrete core surrounded with a steel frame, with the facade mostly clad in glass and metal. The tower was developed by Liberty Property Trust, which collaborated with Comcast to erect their second tower in the city. In this article, Philadelphia YIMBY takes a look back to when the Comcast Technology Center was under construction at the time when the core had just topped out.