Philadelphia has had certain key years when skyscraper construction saw a notable surge, when many developments were underway at the same time. For instance, much of the current Center City skyline took form in and just after 1987. Another key year for construction took place in 2017, when various high-rise projects spanned multiple neighborhoods. Most of these developments stood under 500 feet, with some barely noticeable from afar, yet others added significant bulk to the skyline. The tallest skyscraper under construction was the Comcast Technology Center, the city’s first supertall tower and still the city’s tallest building. In this publication Philadelphia YIMBY looks back to when this collection of developments was underway four years ago.
In recent months, YIMBY shared multiple publications covering the historical status of the Philadelphia skyline. Though our massing renderings have gone all the way back to when City Hall stood alone in the skyline, the modern skyline largely came into being around 30 years ago, when developers finally dared to pass its 548-foot-high William Penn Statue. Philadelphia YIMBY presents our custom animation of the Philadelphia skyline rising between the years 1985 and 1990, when Center City received some of its most iconic skyscrapers.
During the postwar period, Philadelphia has undergone a period of depopulation and saw numerous demolitions. Neighborhoods were affected to widely varying degrees, with some remaining largely intact and others losing blocks upon blocks of their housing stock. Thankfully, the trend has reversed back to growth during the past couple of decades. Today we look at how four relatively minor buildings approved at North 7th Street in North Philadelphia East will help turn the tide in a long-neglected neighborhood.
Recently, Philadelphia YIMBY went on a tour of one of the highest condominium floors at The Laurel Rittenhouse, a 48-story residential tower under construction at 1911 Walnut Street in Rittenhouse Square, Center City. Designed by Solomon Cornwell Buenz and developed by Southern Land Company, the skyscraper is nearing its final height of 599 feet, and work is expected to begin soon on the cross-braced crown. The tower will house 185 rental units in the lower portion and 64 condos in the upper section.
YIMBY has presented extensive coverage on the development of the Philadelphia skyline over the decades. In its early years, church steeples, factory chimneys, and shot towers dominated the skyline, rising above numerous low-rise buildings. Office towers began to rise in the early twentieth century, as businesses flocked to Center City, and proliferated more rapidly in the following decades, particularly in the past 40 years. Today we present an animated rendering of the skyline, showing how the mass of skyscrapers had risen from 1901 to 2020. Each frame shows the towers under their current construction status for the year depicted.