Center City

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

The Illustrated History of Philadelphia’s Skyscraper Boom of 1984-1991

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.

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Jefferson University Caroline Kimmel Biomedical Research Center at 214 South 9th Street. Rendering credit: Payette

Garage Still Active at the Future Site of Jefferson University Caroline Kimmel Biomedical Research Center in Washington Square West, Center City

The five-story parking garage at 900 Locust Street in Market East, one of many parking garages in Center City slated for redevelopment, remains active as per Philly YIMBY’ recent site visit. Jefferson Health plans to replace the garage with the Jefferson University Caroline Kimmel Biomedical Research Center, which will stand 170 feet and 12 stories tall. The structure will be located on the between Walnut Street and Locust Street and will add 220,000 square feet of space medical center’s campus, which takes up a major portion of the neighborhood. Designed by Payette, the glass-walled facility will bring a unique design to the neighborhood.

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The Blue Ivy Hotel. Credit: Das Architects

Philly YIMBY Reveals Concept Massings for the Blue Ivy Hotel at 122 South 11th Street in Market East, Center City

The Market East section of Center City is rapidly transforming, with a number of developments currently proposed, notably on the 1100 block between Walnut Street and Sansom Street, where three high-rises are proposed close to one another, bringing mass to the local skyline. The shortest of the three is the 200-foot-tall, 86-unit Blue Ivy Hotel proposed at 122 South 11th Street. Designed by DAS Architecture and developed by Estia Group, the structure will be located at the southwest corner of South 11th Street and Sansom Street and will rise 14 stories.

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