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Philadelphia: Developments and News

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can we give a bugly and merely theoretical building for louisville a break for just a sec and look at a slicker and easier on the eyes theoretical building for philadelphia? heh.  :wave:







Think Richard Meier's West Village glass towers are hampered by a lack of context, which kinda-sorta makes them awkwardly jut out into the sky? Well, why not have a look at what the old boy is up to in Philly? Prices starting at $3 million in this 43-story skyscraper. Feel the love, Philadelphia!

· Mandeville Place [mandevilleplace.com]



Posted in Architecture, Outside NYC, Real Estate Development






Reader Comments (22 extant)




This is a stunning structure. Its a testament to how architectually backwards NYC is, that Meier cannot build on this scale here. The tallest that New York, once the capital of the skyscraper, can pull off are 14 story buildings. Pathetic and sad that great architects must build elsewhere.


By GrandPa at February 28, 2006 12:29 PM2.

What this image and the others on the mandeville website fail to show are the estimate *30*! other luxury condominium towers (some good, some horrible) in the works for Center City. The likelihood of this project ever getting built is pretty slim, especially with a $3 million price point.


By note bene at February 28, 2006 12:48 PM3.

There's nothing stunning about that building. It looks like an aircraft carrier standing on its end. Nor is it structurally interesting -- there are many buildings in nyc that are in the same vein, including Meier's own in the neighborhood currently known as Miami-on-the-Hudson.


What's with this glass tower fetish many architects seem to have nowadays?


By citizen at February 28, 2006 12:50 PM4.

I think that any merit this has (and I don't agree that it does) is that when a building is not surrounded by other buildings of similar height, it may get a grandeur that it doesn't really have otherwise. It gains a kind of uniqueness. But once you put another modernistic building next to this, this one is ultimately diminished.



By Bing Cherry at February 28, 2006 12:54 PM5.

#3 in regards to glass. Its cheap and people prefer light and views.


By busybroker at February 28, 2006 12:58 PM6.

that is my old storage unit from my Penn days there across the street; Walnut Bridge. What a ghetto strip of turf. That rendering showing the riverfront trainyard/crack den all cleaned up and parklike has been around for. ever.


By greg.org at February 28, 2006 01:05 PM7.

30 proposed towers? and how many does NYC have in plans in Midtown. I am certain not nearly as many even though NYC has 8 times the population of Philly. The idea that traditionally conservative Philly is embracing high rise development on a broader scale than New York just shows what a mess New York has become. If New York ever wants to address its fundamental housing crunch it should quit the navel gazing and realize how other cities are engaging in unprecedented growth.


As for use of glass in architecture, its been popular since the fifties (see Lever House) and New York finally caught on to this development on the residential side with the Meier developments on the Hudson. Better late than never I guess.


By GrandPa at February 28, 2006 01:19 PM8.

As for use of glass in architecture, its been popular since the fifties (see Lever House) and New York finally caught on to this development on the residential side with the Meier developments on the Hudson. Better late than never I guess.


because lever house isn't in new york or anything...


By Boots at February 28, 2006 01:32 PM9.

I absolutely love it!!!!! Can't wait for One Prospect Place!!!


By bill at February 28, 2006 01:39 PM10.

Glass is used because it's the cheapest material for building these high rises. These buildings don't look the way they do because architects like Meier love glass. They're told the budget means they have to use glass and Meier obliges.


I don't have a problem with tall buildings per se. I just don't like buildings that don't contribute to street life and don't have a human sense of scale or design.


I do have to laugh at the idea that luxury skyscrapers will solve New York's housing crunch, though. The crunch is for working class to low-middle class housing. That really shows a lack of understanding of the underlying market.


By Bing Cherry at February 28, 2006 01:41 PM11.

The clean-up of the riverside strip with the extension of the path/park is complete. Philly's other waterfront is a disaster, it is good to see that things keep pushing forward on the Skuykill side.


By RealReal at February 28, 2006 01:51 PM12.

If glass is cheap, how come all these glass houses are geared towards the luxury market? I don't recall seeing many transparent towers for the mid to low markets. And what kind of light and view would you get if you're surrounded by other buildings?


By citizen at February 28, 2006 01:58 PM13.

12 comments and NO juvenile bitching about a post dedicated to philadelphia (or, rather, not-new-york)? color me impressed.


By wow at February 28, 2006 02:12 PM14.



Please read more carefully, of course Lever House is in New York, but my point was that the extensive use of glass in residential towers was really kicked off by the Meier buildings on the West Side. Vancoucer, Miami and other cities were building glass high rise residentials for years. Only recently did glass become fashionable for New York residential developments.



By GrandPa at February 28, 2006 02:13 PM15.

Um, GrandPa, Philly is rapidly losing population and it's barely building any housing. Check the Census on both counts. They have up-to-the-month construction totals direct from every major City, courtesy of the City's Buildings Department.


There are more housing units under construction in Jersey City than Philly, to say nothing of Manhattan, Brooklyn or Queens.


This Meier project isn't happening. Condos can be marketed in the conceptual stage in PA so its basically the developers testing the market. If anyone is familiar of this site, it's a horrible location and will never generate $3million+ sales. It's pretty much the worst location in Center City.


I bet you the site is eventually sold to Penn.


By Crawford at February 28, 2006 02:24 PM16.

Trump towers are all glass....


By Bing Cherry at February 28, 2006 02:25 PM17.

Guys, glass isn't cheaper. Ever notice that "affordable" housing is brick and "luxury" housing is glass?


Developers would save money by building crappy 80's-style Disney retro buildings (which would probably please the NIMBY crowd). Developers are building glass buildings because the high-end market prefers glass. If you want ersatz architecture go to the Jersey waterfront.


By Anonymous at February 28, 2006 02:33 PM18.

yes, the overall population of philadlephia is shrinking, but center city (and the relative wealth associated with it) is truly booming. the working class is sadly moving out--and often south or to jersey where the jobs are. the ebbs and flows are very different circumstances than those of new york, and comparing the two (or out-condo-ing each other) is pointless. This building will not make it off of the drawing board because of the current amount of the housing options, not the merits of glass or its imperfect (yet not terrible) location.


By note bene at February 28, 2006 02:57 PM19.

A lot of this new constrution in Philly is due to a 10 year tax abatement being offered on new construction.



Current Issues, Trends in Philadelphia Real Estate Development


"In all areas of Philadelphia, developers are rushing to convert old office buildings and factories and to construct new buildings— all to create luxury apartments, condominiums, and commercial uses that will benefit from Philadelphia’s 10-year real estate tax abatements on improvements. The 10-year tax abatements have created a market for high-end housing that was not present in the City of Philadelphia prior to the passage of City Council ordinances creating the present form of tax abatements."


By Matt L at February 28, 2006 02:58 PM20.

This site is really quite good. On the river, sweeping views over Fairmount Park, on the edge of townhouse blocks(Locust/Spruce/Pine)and the park connecting thie riverfront with the Art Museum is done.


Philly is losing population, but Center City is gaining. 3 million though for a low floor??? That seems highly unlikely when you can get a 7,500sf house on the 1800 block of Delancey for less


By old philly hand at February 28, 2006 03:01 PM21.

it's a gigantic cell phone tower. wow.


By asdf at February 28, 2006 03:27 PM22.

I'm basing my statement on discussions I've had with several architects (which always started with me asking "Why the hell do they build everything with glass nowadays?").


Granted, they could have all been wrong or I was just asking the wrong people, but I'm pretty sure it's true that glass is a cheap option for building these towers. If you've heard differently, fine. But at least don't speculate based on some public housing.


By Bing Cherry at February 28, 2006 03:34 PM








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This isnt bad....but it seems to have an unnecessarily thin design.  It appears to have more room on the left side of the project, or even in front of it for that matter.  Why waste this valuable land on a low two story bldg. if you are going to do something as big as this?


This does seem to fit in with its context.  The bldg. does not disrupt the current traffic network or city layout.  I say if you can accomplish this (with any bldg.) you can have my nod of approval.

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Foster + Partners Unveil 1,121-Foot Comcast Tower for Philadelphia

15JAN2014 by Karissa Rosenfield


Comcast Corporation and Liberty Property Trust has commissioned Foster + Partners to design a 59-story, $1.2 billion mixed-use tower planned to neighbor Comcast’s existing global headquarter in Philadelphia. The 1,121-foot glass and stainless steel building is expected to be the tallest in the United States, outside of New York and Chicago, and the largest private development project in the history of Pennsylvania.


With over 1.5 million square feet of rentable office space, the new “Comcast Innovation and Technology Center” will serve the company’s growing workforce as well as provide space for local technology startups. By becoming home to the operations of several local broadcast television stations, the building will also establish itself as an important media center in the heart of the city.


In addition to the office space, the tower will also include a 200-room Four Seasons hotel, sky-high restaurant, world-class spa, fitness, event and meeting facilities, as well as direct access to SEPTA’s Suburban Station and a block-long, glass-enclosed indoor plaza that compliments the headquarters existing outdoor plaza.




"Life is 10% what happens to you and 90% how you respond." -- Coach Lou Holtz

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Philly has something like 20 buildings over 300' either being built or about to get built, in the Center City/neighborhing Univ. City. This includes 4 at or above 600'. It's happening all at once. Cranes galore!

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So Key tower is 57 stories and 950' . We should just add a taller mast to piss them off :-D


We should have done this when they built Comcast. Now, we just need to add about 30 more stories :D

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Philly is really on the rebound.  Good for them--glad to see the city making a comeback.


Sorry to add a rail comment to this (OK, not really), but Amtrak's Acela will get a boost from 135 mph to 160 mph between Trenton and New Brunswick in the coming years. That should put Center City Philadelphia within 1 hour of Midtown Manhattan. The fastest train is already 1 hour, 8 minutes. Getting that under 1 hour should make Philly more attractive to real estate investors.

"Life is 10% what happens to you and 90% how you respond." -- Coach Lou Holtz

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I like that Philly keeps getting taller and taller.  You look at the Philly skyline in all the old Rocky movies and it looked gross.  They got some nice balance and drama to the skyline from all sorts of different angles now.

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You weren't allowed to build above William Penn atop City Hall (562 ft) until the mid-1980s when they lifted the gentleman's agreement and built one and two Liberty Place.

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I have. It was one of those things that was "understood." I remember there was a lot of controversy about Liberty Place when it was built.


There was a similar understanding that buildings should not be built taller than Terminal Tower in Cleveland. In fact, when Sohio proposed its new headquarters on Public Square, it purposefully planned it to be slightly lower than Terminal Tower. However, it's proposed width was continued all the way up to the top floor. Planning Commission asked Sohio to taper the corners so that its mass didn't dominate the neighboring Terminal Tower.



"Life is 10% what happens to you and 90% how you respond." -- Coach Lou Holtz

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Some fun trivia for everyone. On top of the current Comcast building there is a small replica of City Hall so William penn continues to be on top of the city's skyline. And if you want even more Philly goodness: the last time the Phillies won the World Series was right before liberty place was built. They hand won again because "Penn wasn't on top of the city's skyline anymore" until

Comcast was built and they put that little statue on top of the building. Sure enough the year they finished Comcast and Penn once again dominated the skyline (2008) the phillies won the World Series.

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Net: "top 10 city-to-city mitigation paths from 2009 to 2013" NYC-Philadelphia largest interstate migration. https://t.co/0Q14Lpk8ZS

"Life is 10% what happens to you and 90% how you respond." -- Coach Lou Holtz

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Amazing what $500 million per year in additional state funds will do for transit and the confidence in developing around rail stations -- just two years after SEPTA issued its "doomsday" plan to shut down nearly the entire regional rail and urban rail system if it didn't get state support.....


30th Street Station District draft plan: Reopen SEPTA tunnel by 2020, cap rail yards by 2050



The 30th Street Station District team released a draft plan for overhauling the station and the surrounding area in advance of the plan’s penultimate public feedback meeting, which will be held this Wednesday, March 16th from 4 to 7 p.m. at the station.


In its draft form, the plan calls for reopening the tunnel connecting 30th Street Station to SEPTA’s nearby subway and trolley station, building two new bridges over the Schuylkill River, opening a new intercity bus terminal, expanding public space surrounding the station, and launching new retail options inside.


Most ambitiously, the draft plan calls for covering the rail yards and Northeast Corridor lines next to 30th Street Station with a partial cap, allowing for the development of an expensive new neighborhood above.






"Life is 10% what happens to you and 90% how you respond." -- Coach Lou Holtz

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