During the construction of the first Comcast Center tower, many wondered whether the 975-foot-tall skyscraper would rank as the city’s tallest for much longer. Just a few months before the former’s topping out, details were released about the American Commerce Center at 1800 Arch Street, a proposal that stunned many development watchers with its 1,510-foot height. The project was being developed by Hill International Real Estate Partners and designed by Kohn Pendersen Fox, a firm that is also behind the 792-foot-tall Mellon Bank Center, currently the city’s fifth-tallest building, and Arthaus, a 542-foot-tall skyscraper currently under construction. The development was ultimately canceled and the 1,121-foot-tall Comcast Technology Center was built at the site.
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.
One Liberty Place at 1650 Market Street is an intricately designed skyscraper has dominated the skyline of Center City for over three decades. Designed by Murphy/Jahn and developed by Rouse and Associates, the tower is clad in a pattern of stone, metal, and glass that rises up to the angled crown and the thin spire. The tower first rose to its final 61-story height in the beginning of 1987, when the top floor was assembled beneath the future spire. Philly YIMBY looks back at the design process by architect Helmut Jahn via drawings from 1984, which show multiple design iterations.
In August 1987, the 945-foot-tall One Liberty Place officially opened at 1650 Market Street as Philadelphia’s tallest skyscraper, soaring above the long-held unofficial height limit of 548 feet, set by the tower of City Hall in 1901. This remarkable skyscraper with a fantastical design ultimately led to the city gaining a new cluster of tall and massive skyscrapers that define the skyline to this day. In this feature, Philadelphia YIMBY explores the building’s progress from concept to reality, as well as its tenure as the city’s tallest skyscraper for 31 years.
A few days ago, SkyscraperPage user FairmountFellow revealed a pair of renderings showing a skyscraper situated atop an existing prewar building at 1826 Chestnut Street in Rittenhouse Square, Center City. The image, which the user allegedly “saw in a local cooperative presentation,” revealed no further information, yet various clues offer more details. The building shows a floor count of around 42 stories, and its location next to the recently proposed skyscraper at 113-121 South 19th Street suggest a height of roughly 550 feet. In the image corner is the partial logo of Goodman Properties, which has a page for the building on its website. It is unclear whether Goodman intends to develop the building as pictured or if it is a conceptual presentation geared to attract investors.