Center City

Liberty Place complex model. Image via Frank Whittock and Associates Inc

YIMBY Shares Detailed Models of the 1987 Liberty Place Iteration in Center City

The Philadelphia skyline consists of a number of towers that shape the city’s image, with the Liberty Place in Center City towers among its key features. One Liberty Place and Two Liberty Place, addressed at 1650 Market Street and 50 South 16th Street, are located two blocks away from City Hall. The complex, which also includes a shopping center and a hotel, was designed by Helmut Jahn of Murphy/Jahn (recently renamed to Jahn/) and developed by Willard G. Rouse III of Rouse and Associates, which had eventually evolved into Liberty Property Trust and developed both of the Comcast towers. In this feature, Philadelphia YIMBY presents detailed skyline massings of the 1987 Liberty Place iteration.

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Broad and Lombard. Image via SITIO Architects + Urbanism

New Renderings Revealed for Broad and Lombard in Rittenhouse Square, Center City

The Virgin Hotels proposal at 500 South Broad Street in Rittenhouse Square, Center City, has been revamped with a new design. Designed by SITIO Architects + Urbanism and developed by The Badger Group and Goldenberg Group LLC, the 468-unit development now known as Broad and Lombard will now boast a tower that will stand 542 feet (alternately pictured at 573 feet) and 43 stories tall. The project involves a renovation of the Philadelphia Department of Public Health Building, with work helmed by Voith and MacTavish Architects. The new tower will echo the design of the Public Health Building and will stand tall in the Philadelphia skyline.

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One Meridian Plaza on fire. Image from The Arizona Republic

YIMBY Revisits the Deconstruction of One Meridian Plaza in Center City

During the 1960s and 1970s, multiple developments with massive amounts of office space, occupied by banking firms in particular, were constructed in Center City Philadelphia. Most of these developments featured a light brown Brutalist exterior with contrasting dark glass. Among the first such structures built was One Meridian Plaza, located at 1416 South Penn Square, which stood 492 feet and 38 stories. Designed by Vincent Kling & Associates (later known as KlingStubbins, now part of JACOBS) and developed by the Girard Bank and Fidelity Mutual Life Insurance, the tower started construction in 1968 and was completed in 1972, and featured the light brown stone cladding commonly seen during the period, along with rows of dark glass leading up to the bay windows at the top. The skyscraper eventually met its tragic demise in 1991, and was deconstructed in the following years in a process that YIMBY revisits in today’s feature.

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Center City West. Looking north. Credit: Google Maps

YIMBY Observes the Rise of Center City West

Center City West is a section of Center City located roughly between 21st, Chestnut, and Arch streets and the Schuylkill River. For decades, the neighborhood was comprised primarily of parking lots, yet in recent years the area has been on the rise with a large number of projects that have recently been completed, underway, and proposed. The largest developments that have originally been completed in the neighborhood are the PECO Building, completed in 1970, and the Aramark Headquarters which renovated the structure of an existing building at 2400 Market Street in 2019. With Aramark relocating its headquarters to the neighborhood, the company saw the potential of the area’s growth. 2222 Market Street, the first development of the new construction wave was revealed in 2019, and is currently underway.

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Philadelphia 1987 One Liberty Place south elevation. Models and image by Thomas Koloski

YIMBY Shares a Detailed Model of One Liberty Place in Center City

As the 35th anniversary for the topping-out of One Liberty Place‘s spire was commemorated, Philadelphia YIMBY has assembled a high-quality model of the skyscraper. Located at 1650 Market Street in Center City, the tower is a milestone in the skyline and Philadelphia history as it broke free of the height limit once set by City Hall and improved the city’s image. While heavily criticized by some at the time of proposal, the office tower was eventually given the green light to stand 61 stories high and 945 feet tall. The tower and the second phase of the project was designed by Helmut Jahn of Murphy/Jahn and developed by Willard G. Rouse III of Rouse and Associates. In this feature, Philadelphia YIMBY observes an accurately detailed model of One Liberty Place on the 1987 skyline massing.

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