We apologize for the somewhat confusing headline. Philadelphia YIMBY’s First Anniversary Countdown tracks the most frequently mentioned article categories over the course of the past year. Last year’s December Development Countdown, which looked at the 31 tallest buildings under construction or proposed in the city, racked up 31 category listings during its month-long run, earning it the 24th place on the ongoing countdown. Today we look at the top three entries from the December Countdown, all located in Center City, and check in on the progress they have made so far in 2021.
December 2020 Development Countdown
At number one on Philly YIMBY’s December 2020 Development Countdown is Cathedral Square Phase Two, a 685-foot-tall tower planned for 1700 Vine Street in Logan Square, Center City. The skyscraper is part of Cathedral Place, a proposed redevelopment of the block-sized archdiocesan campus centered on the Cathedral Basilica of Saints Peter and Paul, a block east of Logan Square. The development will also include a new 23-story high-rise. The taller tower will be designed by Solomon Cordwell Buenz, though only a general massing is available at this point. The model shows a bulky building with a lower section to the west that steps up toward the tower. Our site visit has revealed no construction activity yet at the tower site, which is occupied by a low-rise structure and a parking lot. Both towers are being developed by Exeter Property Group.
The second-tallest building on Philly YIMBY’s December 2020 Development Countdown is the W/Element Hotel, which is finishing construction at 1441 Chestnut Street in Center City, a block south of City Hall. Designed by Cope-Linder Architects and developed by Chestlen Development, the 52-story skyscraper stands 617 feet tall and features a distinctive design with jagged blue glass and gray metal cladding that was inspired by the Schuylkill River and the cliffs that run along it. The building has made a significant impact on the Center City skyline, as it joins the group of 500-foot-plus towers in the Center City core.
The third-tallest building on Philly YIMBY’s December 2020 Development Countdown is The Laurel Rittenhouse, which is rising at 1911 Walnut Street in Rittenhouse Square, Center City, just to the northwest of Rittenhouse Square Park. The reinforced concrete structure currently stands around one-third of the way to its eventual height of 599 feet and 48 stories. The building will feature 185 rental units as well as 60 condo units at the top. The $300-million tower was designed by Solomon Cordwell Buenz, which has designed many buildings around the city, and developed by the Southern Land Company, which has been trying to redevelop the site into a residential skyscraper for over a decade.
Many developments near Rittenhouse Square are about to transform the local skyline. At number four on Philly YIMBY’s December 2020 Development Countdown is 113-121 South 19th Street, a slender tower proposed at a site that spans five properties, all of which will maintain their façades within the new tower’s base. This Center City tower will rise 567 feet and 49 stories high and is designed by DAS Architecture and Planning and developed by Pearl Properties, which has a handful of developments in progress across the city. Philly YIMBY’s recent site visit captures the buildings that currently stand at the site.