In 1987, construction was finished at One Commerce Square in Center City, with the building opening in October, but the complex was still unfinished as a second tower was planned. Two Commerce Square would rise at 2001 Market Street to the west of the first building, filling in a gap between the finished structure and the Independence Blue Cross Tower. The second tower rises 565 feet and 41 stories tall. Designed by I. M. Pei and Partners and developed by Maguire Thomas Partners of Los Angeles, the Commerce Square complex was completed in 1992 and this became last structure built in the 1980s boom after the unofficial Gentleman’s Agreement height limit was eliminated.
Two Commerce Square
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.