The Center City skyline had drastically changed in the late 1980s with the construction of newly approved skyscrapers standing over the former, informal 548-foot height limit established by City Hall. In late 1990, Mellon Bank Center, located at 1735 Market Street in Center City, joined the skyline with its bright materials alongside the other new, amazingly designed skyscrapers. The tower stands 54 stories above the ground with a total height of 824 feet to the tip of the crown and a roof height of 792 feet. The skyscraper was designed by Kohn Pedersen Fox, which is currently constructing Arthaus a few blocks to the south of City Hall. The tower is owned by Silverstein Properties, which also owns the World Trade Center in Lower Manhattan. The building received a name change for a branding initiative, and is now called the BNY Mellon Center.
Mellon Bank Center
The 824-foot Mellon Bank Center at 1735 Market Street was completed in 1990. Originally, the tower had a similar design yet with a taller shape and several other differences. Designed by Kohn Pedersen Fox and developed by CommonWealth REIT, the tower would have stood 880 feet tall and would have featured projecting floor space at the corners up to an estimated height of 400 feet. The crown would have also appeared more skeletal than it looks today. Stone patterns all around the base are different.
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.