Glass Tower Starts Construction at 20th and Market

The corner of 20th and Market is going to look at lot different. Full rendering below.

The corner of 20th and Market is going to look at lot different. Full rendering below.

It was more than a year ago when Brandywine Realty Trust announced specific plans for a building that would sit on the lot at 20th and Market Street, next to the Independence Blue Cross building, which recently completed its own street-level renovation. Throughout the day on Friday, there was a lot of activity at 1919 Market Street (the vacant lot’s actual address), with a large construction vehicle making tracks in the dirt as I stared down from my nearby office window 36 stories above. People moved back and forth, industrious as ants. A public announcement had to be coming soon.

Indeed, today the company that was named Developer of the Year by Development Magazine announced that it has formed a joint venture with Berwyn-based real estate company LCOR and the California State Teacher’s Retirement System that will make the 29-story mixed-use building possible. Brandywine will handle retail, which is currently slated to be a ground-floor CVS, and the public parking lot that will accommodate 215 cars. Hunter Roberts Construction will manage the process of building the 455,000-square-foot  tower, which was designed by Barton Partners.

Here’s what we know in terms of details:

Read more »

It’s Skidmore, Owings & Merrill for 30th Street Station

30th street station revision

Rendering of the new vision for the area around 30th Street Station via Amtrak.

As first reported by PhillyDeals, Amtrak has announced the members of the team that will, in the next two years, develop the joint master plan for the Drexel-funded development project around 30th Street Station.

The group will be led by Skidmore, Owings & Merrill (SOM), one of the most influential architecture, engineering, and urban planning firms in the world. They’ll work in partnership with Parsons Brinckerhoff, OLIN, and HR&A Advisors, but be guided by a “coordinating committee” consisting of representatives from (deep breath, now) Amtrak, Drexel, Brandywine Realty Trust, SEPTA, PennDOT, City of Philadelphia, New Jersey Transit, CSX Corporation, Penn, PIDC, Schuylkill River Development Corporation and University City District.

Will there be many meetings? There will be many meetings. (Feel free to send the leftover bowls of candy this way, guys.)

Read more »

Sky Candy: 19 New Renderings of the FMC Tower

FMC Tower rendering

Night falls on the FMC Tower at Cira Centre South, to be completed in 2016. Rendering via Brandywine Realty Trust.

Yesterday was the groundbreaking for the much anticipated FMC Tower at Cira Centre South, a development project from Brandywine Realty. It was, not surprisingly, a who’s who of politicians, academics, architects, media folks, planners, builders, real estate bigwigs, developers, and probably even pigeons that are well-known in their community.

Councilwoman Jannie Blackwell said to the audience, “I don’t know who’s running the city, ’cause all the important people are here.”

That tidbit came from Hidden City, which offered thorough coverage of the event as well as extensive details about the 49-story, 730-foot building itself, which will be “the skyline’s starting point.”

Now, the renderings:

Read more »

Morning Headlines: Pelli’s FMC Tower Breaks Ground Today With Fireworks, Vintage Air Pump, More

Screen Shot 2014-05-14 at 10.26.05 AM

Today’s groundbreaking for the 690-foot tall, 49-story FMC Tower at Cira South celebrates the start of a construction project that will probably go through 2016. The building — two blocks from 30th Street Station — is being designed by Pelli Clarke Pelli Architects (Cesar Pelli’s firm) with the same aesthetic approach they brought to its nearby sister property, the Cira Centre.

Along with those FMC offices, there’ll be 268 residential apartments, a spa and fitness center, ground-floor retail and restaurants; office space for other occupants, like Penn; and a sky bridge and glass elevator bringing visitors to the elevated Cira Green park.

The groundbreaking is going to be a PR blitz of epic proportions.

Read more »

Tetris on the Cira Centre Tomorrow Night

Cira Centre PongTo kick off this year’s Philly Tech Week, Drexel University and Brandywine Realty Trust have partnered to bring another mega-size video game, Tetris, to the exterior of the iconic Cira Centre next to Amtrak’s 30th Street Station. It’s too late to enter the lottery for a chance to actually play, but everyone will be able to watch as the game takes over both sides of the angular tower tomorrow evening.

During Tech Week last year, lucky players stationed at the Philadelphia Museum of Art got to play Pong on the north side of the building. That game got into the Guiness Book of World Records for “Largest Architectural Video Game Display”: it utilized 460 already installed LEDs over 59,800 square feet of the tower’s north side. This year’s game is set to top that: players will use both the north and south sides of the building to play simultaneously—against each other or cooperatively—with one set of players stationed at Eakins Oval outside the Art Museum, and the other at Drexel.

Read more »

Breaking: New Giant Skyscraper Announced As Part of Cira Centre South [UPDATED]

Rendering of the high-rise tower to be built at 17th and Market.

Rendering of the high-rise tower to be built at Cira Centre South.

Brandywine Realty Trust and the FMC Corporation have a huge announcement today: FMC will have a new headquarters, and that headquarters will be called FMC Tower at Cira Centre South. The design, like that of the original Cira Centre, will be handled in part by Pelli Clark Pelli. According a press release sent this morning, the building will be the sixth tallest office building in Philadelphia at 650 feet and 47 stories.

It will consist of approximately 830,000 rentable square feet: 575,000 square feet of Class A office space, 10,000 square feet of retail space, and 260 luxury apartment suites with concierge services and market rate rental housing.

Groundbreaking is currently scheduled for mid-2014.

More details to follow… See here for renderings.

Brandywine to Pay $69 Million in Cash for Philadelphia’s Twin Towers

commerce_tallinsunBrandywine Realty Trust will acquire One and Two Commerce Square on Market between 20th and 21st for a total price of $331.8 million–a $238 million mortgage and $69 million in cash.

At 41 stories, the first of the identical office towers to open, in 1987, was the second building in Philadelphia that rose higher than the William Penn statue atop City Hall. The second building was finished in 1992. Both were designed by Henry Cobb, a partner of I.M. Pei, who would later design the Constitution Center. Now the twin towers, as some call them, are a familiar part of the skyline, and are a feather in Brandywine’s cap.

The Philadelphia Business Journal’s Natalie Kostelni writes, “the acquisition solidifies Brandywine as the lead landlord of Center City trophy space.”

Read more »