In the mid-1940s, the Philadelphia skyline still maintained the general look it received during the construction boom of the 1920s and 1930, when several new towers added significant mass to the Center City skyline. The Philadelphia City Hall still topped the skyline at 548 feet tall, but by the 40s more high-rises were nearing the top of the clock tower, with several rising in the 300-foot range. A number of Art Deco buildings stood out, with predominantly light and dark brown shades. Today Philly YIMBY compares massing renderings of the 1945 skyline and the 2020 skyline.
A large number of impressive structures rose in Center City in the first three decades of the 20th century. Several were built in close proximity to City Hall, such as The Metropolitan at 117 North 15th Street in Center City. Designed by Louis E. Jallade, who designed various structures in New York and beyond, the high-rise started construction in 1926 and was completed in 1928. The 26-story tower, which stands just to the northeast of the iconic Love Park, currently houses residential space.
Site prep activity has been spotted at 316-20 South 11th Street in Washington Square West, Center City. Nine townhomes are expected at the site. The project involves the demolition of an existing three-story parking garage. Demolition permits were issued in late January, so progress has been relatively slow since that time.
The Delaware River Trail that sits just next to the site of the recently proposed Penn’s Landing redevelopment is underway in between the public space and the Interstate 95. The project is a part the Master Plan for the Central Delaware, which will extend and enhance the waterfront. Developed by the Delaware River Waterfront Corporation, the project will feature open space extending for six miles along the Delaware River from Oregon Avenue in South Philadelphia to East Allegheny Avenue in Kensington, with the trail divided into four zones. The public space will feature new vegetation and planting, bi-directional bicycle lanes, solar lighting, and improved public access to the trail.
While Philadelphia has seen many projects that were eventually never built, one of the most unique is the Skylink Aerial Tramway proposed to span across the Delaware River, featuring gondolas running on suspended cables. Developed by the Delaware River Port Authority, thus uncommon form of transportation was supposed to connect Philadelphia’s Delaware River waterfront to Camden, NJ on the east bank of the Delaware River. The trams were planned to move at 160 feet above the river, with both of the towers standing at a total height of 250 feet. The development was projected to complete construction in Spring 2002, but due to the continuous rising budget along with various other issues, including mounting criticism, the project was eventually canceled.