When people think of Philadelphia, they think of the Liberty Bell and Independence Hall. But tall buildings don’t often come to mind, probably because a certain city a few miles north has the skyscraper title sewn up. But Philadelphia, particularly Center City, is giving the Big Apple a run for its money.
City Hall used to be the one true skyscraper in Philadelphia; in fact, it was the tallest building in the world from 1901 to 1908. But over the last 25 years, many other buildings have been erected in Center City that not only tower over City Hall, but also give Philadelphia its breathtaking skyline.
Current Center City Giants
Philadelphia’s structures remained low-rise because for years the city’s leaders had a “gentleman’s agreement” not to build any structure higher than the stature of William Penn that sits on top of City Hall. This agreement was severed in 1987, and now several structures share the sky with City Hall, including:
One Liberty Place: This 61-story, 945-foot skyscraper was the first to break City Hall’s record as the tallest building in town. Today, it’s home to some of the largest law firms in Philadelphia and the biggest financial services companies in the world, including AIG, Merrill Lynch and Cigna.
Two Liberty Place: This 58-story, 848-foot skyscraper complements the commercial focus of its sister building with a condominium complex, a shopping mall and a 14-story hotel that’s home to the kind of wedding reception Harrisburg residents love to throw.
Comcast Center: As you might imagine, Comcast is the biggest tenant in this 58-story, 974-foot skyscraper, which now holds the title as Philadelphia’s tallest building. But other corporations like Citizens Bank of Pennsylvania lease space, and numerous shops and restaurants cater to tenants and passersby alike.
New Kids on the Block
Maybe you think Philadelphia would be happy just with these impressive buildings, but why stop at a few skyscrapers when you can have many? Plans are underway to build skyscrapers all over the city, including two in Center City.
Originally slated for groundbreaking in 2008, construction on Mandeville Place was delayed until December 2011. Following completion, it will house 45 condominiums on 43 floors, plus an 8-story hotel that observers expect will host a buffet Harrisburg PA residents and visitors will enjoy.
The building at 1441 Chestnut was going to be a condo building until it was going to be a Waldorf, and now a W Hotel. Many hope that this new construction will open the doors to more skyscraper construction in the neighborhood.
If Philadelphia looks good to you, you can thank the Center City skyscrapers that make it such a beautiful and bustling place to live and visit.
Michelle is an aspiring writer with a passion for blogging. She enjoys writing about a vast variety of topics and loves that blogging gives her the opportunity to publicly voice her thoughts and share advice with an unlimited audience.