One of the most significant skyscrapers recently constructed in Philadelphia is the W/Element Hotel at 1441 Chestnut Street in Center City. Located at the former site of the demolished One Meridian Plaza, the tower went through several design changes and different architectural firms, with Cope-Linder Architects being the final choice. The site also went through different developers, with Chestlen Development Group ending up as the final developer. The proposal was revealed in 2013, and now the tower is finally nearing completion. Today Philly YIMBY looks at the tower’s construction progress over the years.
Last month, Philadelphia YIMBY reported on new lighting schemes that are decorating the nighttime skyline. Though it was already known that One Liberty Place at 1650 Market Street and the W/Element Hotel at 1441 Chestnut Street, both located in Center City, are having their lighting tested, both now feature together in the skyline, with new programming visible to the residents of the city. The lights on One Liberty Place, which used to be dimmer and had sections of the lighting noticeably lit a different color, the lights have now been fixed and brightened. The W/Element Hotel used to be a dark skyscraper in the night time skyline with just the aviation warning lights noticeable, but now the skyscraper is lit up nearly as much as the FMC Tower in University City.
The Element Hotel at the W/Element Hotel has opened for business at 1441 Chestnut Street in Center City, with the W Hotel scheduled to open in July. The 52-story skyscraper stands at a height of 617 feet, where the Element Hotel will have 460 rooms and the W Hotel will have 295 rooms, bringing the total to 755 units. Designed by Philadelphia-based Cope-Liner Architects and developed by Chestlen Development, the tower featuring a jagged top and scattered lighting. The latter was crafted by The Lighting Practice, which has lit up structures such as the Benjamin Franklin Bridge, 2400 Market Street, the PECO Building, and the Empire State Building in New York City. Tutor Perini Corporation is the contractor for the skyscraper.
Since the late 1980s, Philadelphia’s Center City skyscrapers featured appealing decorative lighting schemes. The first tower to be lit up was One Liberty Place at 1650 Market Street, completed in 1987, with lights accentuating the angled crown and the sharp spire. Over the years more high-rises towers were constructed that also displayed standout nighttime lighting, with one of the biggest recent additions being the Comcast Technology Center with its massive lantern at the top. Even more recent was the W/Element Hotel at 1441 Chestnut Street, where intensive testing of its the decorative lighting started just a few months ago.
The Philadelphia skyline has long provided an iconic image for the city and the state, with high-rise buildings dating back to the late 19th century, the most iconic being the City Hall, which topped out in 1894 as the tallest habitable building in the world, a title it held until 1908. Each era of skyscraper construction has made a significant impact on the skyline, with prominent types of skyscrapers defining each time period. The city has recently seen a skyscraper construction boom, which began around 2017, with many high-rises completed and under construction since that time. Philadelphia YIMBY looks at some of the most impactful structures that the city has received during this period.