Independence Blue Cross Tower

Twin Independence Blue Cross Towers. Photo and edit by Thomas Koloski

Philadelphia YIMBY Presents Renderings of the Once-Proposed Twin Independence Blue Cross Towers

In February, Philly YIMBY published an examination of the Twin Independence Blue Cross Tower proposal that was planned in the mid-1980s. The Independence Blue Cross Tower were designed by WZMH Architects, who also designed the CN Tower in Toronto, Canda. The developer, The Linpro Company, intended to build two 45-story towers on the 1900 block of Market Street. Each would have stood 625 feet tall, located 1901 Market Street and 1919 Market Street in Center City. If built as a twin pair, they would have stood next to the 565-foot Commerce Square towers, another pair of twin high-rises.

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Twin Independence Blue Cross Towers. Image from WZMH Architects

Examining the Once-Proposed Twin Independence Blue Cross Towers

Ever since the 500-foot-plus height limit was erased after One Liberty Place went up, developers rushed to construct buildings taller than the prior boundary. Designed by WZMH Architects, the twin towers of the Independence Blue Cross Tower were originally proposed to stand next to each other, rising 625 feet and 45 stories tall at 1901 Market Street and at 1919 Market Street in 1901 Market Street and at Center City West. The group behind the design is the same as the one that designed the CN Tower in Toronto, Canada. The developer of the twin tower project is The Linpro Company, which has only erected one tower that stands out on the skyline.

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Philadelphia skyline from South Street Bridge. Photo by The Philadelphia Inquirer

The Illustrated History of Philadelphia’s Skyscraper Boom of 1984-1991

The Philadelphia skyline is anchored by a group of particularly tall buildings, but just 40 years ago, not a single tower rose over 548 feet, the height of the City Hall tower that was completed in 1901. An informal “gentlemen’s agreement” held towers back from rising above the limit, but no developer was successful until One Commerce Square was approved in 1984, which was soon followed by a series of even taller skyscrapers. Philly YIMBY looks at the history behind these Center City buildings, which shaped a major portion of the Philadelphia skyline as we know it today.

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