PSFS Building. Image from Hagley Digital Archives

A Look Back at the PSFS Building, the First Modern Skyscraper in the United States

The Loews Philadelphia Hotel, formerly known as the PSFS Building, located at 1200 Market Street in the Market East section of Center City, is a remarkable skyscraper for Philadelphia as the building was ahead of its time when it was built. Upon completion, it was the most massive structure in the skyline as the large, T-shaped tower rose almost as high as the clock tower of City Hall. The 36-story building originally stood at a height of 491 feet, the first skyscraper to be built just under the informal Gentleman’s Agreement height limit. The International Style tower was designed by George Howe and William Edmond Lescaze. William later on went to design One New York Plaza just three years before his death in 1969. The developer of the skyscraper was the Philadelphia Savings and Fund Society, which still has their iconic initials attached to the east and west sides of the blue crown above the main roof.

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Permits Issued for a Six-Unit Building at 1434 Parrish Street in Francisville, North Philadelphia

Permits have been issued for the construction of a multi-family building at 1434 Parrish Street in FrancisvilleNorth Philadelphia. The development will stand three stories tall and will hold six residential units. A total of 3,771 square feet of space will be situated within the structure, which is is expected to cost $180,000 to build, according to the permit.

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727 North 39th Street. Looking east. Credit: Google

Permits Issued for Three-Unit Building at 727 North 39th Street in Mantua, West Philadelphia

Permits have been issued for the construction of a three-story, three-unit building at 727 North 39th Street in Mantua, West Philadelphia. The structure will replace a vacant lot on the east side of the block between Olive Street and Aspen Street, and will feature a cellar, a second-story rear deck, and full sprinkling. The building’s footprint will span 984 square feet. Permits list 727 N 39th Street LLC as the owner, Maher Abdelaal as the design professional, and Kumas Homes LLC as the contractor. Construction costs are listed at $280,000.

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Liberty Place unfinished design with the Philadelphia skyline, south elevation. Models and image by Thomas Koloski

Imagining the Philadelphia Skyline with the 1985 Iteration of Liberty Place

On April 5, 1984, Willard G. Rouse of Rouse and Associates announced the proposal of Liberty Place, a complex in Center City that would rise hundreds of feet above the informal height limit set by the 548-foot Philadelphia City Hall. By the next year, Helmut Jahn of Murphy/Jahn Architects finalized the design on One Liberty Place at 1650 Market Street as the design we see today, though Two Liberty Place, The Shops at Liberty Place, and the hotel all differed from their current versions. Today Philly YIMBY takes a closer look at this early iteration of the complex design.

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