Center City

Philadelphia City Hall from Arthaus. Photo by Thomas Koloski

YIMBY Looks Back at the Renovation of Philadelphia City Hall in the 1980s

Philadelphia’s City Hall has loomed proudly in Center City since it topped out in 1894, but its tower continues to stand only thanks to several renovations. While the municipal floors of the building only rise nine stories high, the clock tower remains the largest freestanding masonry structure in the world to this day. The edifice is topped by a 37-foot-tall statue of William Penn, the founder of Pennsylvania, which brings the tower to a full height of 548 feet. The structure was designed by John McArthur Jr. and Thomas Ustick Walter, and was completed in 1901. In this feature, Philadelphia YIMBY takes a look back at the direly-needed renovation for the top of the clock tower that took place in the 1980s.

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1620 Sansom Street. Credit: Solomon Cordwell Buenz

Tower Crane Erected At 1620 Sansom Street In Rittenhouse Square, Center City

Center City continues to grow upward as multiple projects are changing Philadelphia’s core neighborhood. In Rittenhouse Square, a tower crane was recently erected at 1620 Sansom Street, where a high-rise residential tower is under construction. Designed by Solomon Cordwell Buenz and developed by Southern Land Company, the building will rise 315 feet and 28 stories high. The tower will also feature 306 rental units and retail space on the ground floor.

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Arthaus with Liberty Place and Comcast Center. Photo by Thomas Koloski

Decorative Lighting Spotted On Top Of Arthaus In Washington Square West, Center City

The nighttime Philadelphia skyline is getting brighter as new additions join the existing cluster of towers. In the Washington Square West West neighborhood of Center City, the new condominium skyscraper, Arthaus, rises at 311 South Broad Street, joining the rest of the Center City towers at a height of 542 feet and 47 stories. Designed by Kohn Pedersen Fox (with Arthaus being the firm’s first residential skyscraper in the city) and developed by Dranoff Properties, the tower will feature 108 condominiums along with amenity space that includes a pool and outdoor decks.

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

Observing The Construction Of Mellon Bank Center and Two Liberty Place

In 1984, plans were approved for the first office tower to rise above the unwritten Gentleman’s Agreement height above the statue of William Penn. One Liberty Place broke ground in 1985 and was under construction until the end of 1987, starting a new construction boom for the city that revitalized the city’s skyline. One Commerce Square had topped out the summer before One Liberty Place rose, but, shortly after the completion of One Liberty Place, the structure of the Independence Blue Cross Tower joined the skyline. By the end of 1988, the Bell Atlantic Tower was also rising, eventually bulking up the skyline by 1989.

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141-43 North 4th Street. Credit: Design Blendz.

Permits Issued For 141-43 North 4th Street In Old City, Center City

Permits have been issued for a large multi-family development at 141-43 North 4th Street in Old City. Designed by Designblendz, the project includes the complete renovation of the existing four-story building on site. A portion of this building will see a one-story overbuild, while a six-story addition will be constructed at 319 Cherry Street, holding six residential units. There will be 36 residential units in total, with ten bike spaces and 13 parking spaces also included. In total, the square footage of the building will more than double, increasing to 37,566. Construction costs are estimated at $2,860,000.

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