Center City

One Liberty Place looking northeast. Photo by Thomas Koloski

Looking Back to the Moment When One Liberty Place Passed the Statue of William Penn Atop Philadelphia City Hall

For nearly 35 years, the Philadelphia skyline has been dominated by skyscrapers rising well above 500 feet in height. The idea to breach of the height limit informally established by the 548-foot-tall pinnacle of City Hall, also known as the “Gentlemen’s Agreement,” surfaced in 1984. The first tower to rise above the limit was One Liberty Place, a daring structure for the time that rises 945 feet and 61 stories above ground at 1650 Market Street in Center City. The project was designed by Helmut Jahn of Murphy/Jahn and developed by Rouse and Associates (which eventually became Liberty Property Trust), and was completed in 1987. In this feature, Philadelphia YIMBY takes a look back at when One Liberty Place passed the statue of William Penn on top of City Hall.

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1208 Chestnut Street. Credit: SgRA / Michael Alhadad

Demolition Pending at Site of Slender 11-Story High-Rise at 1208 Chestnut Street in Midtown Village, Center City

A slender, 49-unit apartment building is set to rise at 1208 Chestnut Street in Midtown Village, Center City. However, although demolition permits have been issued for the dilapidated three-story structure currently occupying the property, YIMBY’s recent site visit revealed that no demo work has yet taken place. Designed by SgRA and developed by Michael Alhadad, the building will span a narrow, through-block lot on the block between South 12th and South 13th streets, stretching north-south from Chestnut Street to Sansom Street. The building will span 51,436 square feet and will feature a basement, ground-floor commercial space, full sprinkling, and a roof deck. Permits list Christian A. Sanchez as the contractor and a construction cost of $5.5 million.

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219 South 13th Street. Credit: Parkway Corporation

Parkway Corporation Seeks to Build Over 180,000 Square Feet at 219 South 13th Street in Midtown Village, Center City

Parking operator and developer Parkway Corporation is looking for opportunities to redevelop a 9,020-square-foot parking lot at 219 South 13th Street in Midtown Village, Center City. The site spans nearly half of a small city block and is bound by South 13th Street to the west, Locust Street to the south, and narrow, cobblestone-paved St. James Street to the north. The site sits under CMX-5 zoning and, according to Parkway, can support up to 108,240 square feet under a floor-to-area ratio of 12 or up to 180,400 square feet at an FAR of 20:1, which may potentially yield a building rising around 25 to 30 or so stories. No development plans are currently known nor have any permits been filed, and it appears that Parkway Corporation is seeking development partners or an anchor tenant for the venture, as it does with a number of other parking lots situated throughout the city.

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The Blue Ivy Hotel at 122 South 11th Street. Rendering credit: DAS Architects

Demolition Pending at Site of Blue Ivy Hotel at 122 South 11th Street in Midtown Village, Center City

A few years ago, circa 2019, plans were announced for a 14-story, 86-room hotel to rise at 122 South 11th Street in Midtown Village, Center City. Since that time, progress on the project has been moving at a snail’s pace, which may be explained by economic uncertainty and a hospitality industry crisis that rolled in the following year. Still, development appears to be ongoing, both in terms of filing activity and on-site action, minimal as it may be. Our recent site visit revealed that the joined pair of low-rise buildings that stands at the site has not yet been demolished, though both appear shuttered, stripped down, and likely gutted.

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Harper Square. Image via

Philadelphia YIMBY Reveals Updated Skyline Massings for Harper Square in Rittenhouse Square, Center City

Over the past year, several new proposals for the city of Philadelphia have been revealed that will make a significant mark on the skyline. One of these is situated in Rittenhouse Square in Center City, where a project was revealed at 113-121 South 19th Street. The development, known as Harper Square, will dominate the neighborhood along with the nearly-complete Laurel Rittenhouse. Designed by DAS Architecture and Planning, the residential tower will stand 611 feet and 54 stories tall, and will include 215 units. The slender high-rise is being developed by Pearl Properties, which also developed The Harper, another residential tower located nearby. Today YIMBY presents our latest custom-made building massings that show the proposal’s future effect on the skyline.

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