Morning Headlines: New Details on Comcast Skyscraper

Rendering of CITC. Photo courtesy of Comcast Corporate.

Rendering of CITC.
Image via Comcast Corporate.

After getting the regulatory process over three months ago, construction will soon begin on the Comcast Innovation and Technology Center, a joint project between Comcast and developer Liberty Property Trust.

The future 18th and Arch tower will include a Four Seasons Hotel with 222 rooms, as well as office space for the broadcasting/cable bigwig, which, according to PBJ’s Natalie Kostelni, made some changes to its lease:

Comcast has expanded the amount of space that it will occupy. The cable giant signed a 20-years lease on 982,275 square feet, or about 74 percent of the 1.33-million-square-foot building. It had initially taken 957,000 square feet.

The 59-story structure, to-be the city’s tallest tower (and the tallest building outside of New York and Chicago), has a $933 million price tag, of which $40 million comes from public city and state funds. The latter amount “will go toward infrastructure improvements, such as extending the subway concourse.”

Comcast skyscraper construction begins; new details emerge [Business Journal]

In other news…

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Morning Headlines: Karen Dougherty Buchholz Is Female!

The Inquirer reported yesterday on Karen Dougherty Buchholz, Comcast’s Senior Vice President of Administration and the organizational leader behind the CITC project, the planned skyscraper designed by London-based starchitect Norman Foster. The Inquirer dove deep into Buchholz’s career and her plans for the project:

A stylish dresser who stays fit with hot yoga, Buchholz, 47, is married to attorney Carl Buchholz, who is with DLA Piper in Philadelphia. They … have two children, Alex and Julia, plus seven pets – two dogs, three cats, and two chickens – in the northern suburbs.

Karen Buchholz’s recent reading includes fiction, The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt, and nonfiction, The Widow Clicquot by Tilar J. Mazzeo.

In the news stories leading up to the convention in the late 1990s, reporters noted that Buchholz was so obsessively well-organized that the young mother set the breakfast table for her young children before she went to bed.

Comcast CEO Brian Roberts’ fitness interests and nightstand reading currently eludes me, but I’m guessing that’ll be in the Inquirer’s next piece about the CITC. And Roberts has some penetrating insight into one of his top execs:

“One of the things that makes Karen the perfect lead for this is that she is super-organized and she’s a nice person and works well with teams.”

That is, indeed, the best kind of female employee: the kind who doesn’t let her PMS irritability get in the way.

Planning the new Comcast tower, from large to small [Inquirer] Read more »

Gallery: Norman Foster’s Luminous New Apple Store

istanbul apple store

Detail of an image, via Apple, of the new Norman Foster Apple store in Istanbul’s Zorlu Center.

As with all his projects, architect Norman Foster’s new Apple store in Istanbul, Turkey, is getting a lot of press. We don’t think there’s much that needs to be said about it, as the images speak for themselves. What do they say? “He’s coming to you next, Philadelphia. Smile.”

Gallery below.

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Don’t Tell Comcast, But Skyscrapers Herald Depression

Skyscraper economic index graphic via Arch Daily.

Skyscraper economic index graphic via Arch Daily.

Arch Daily highlights a Barclays analysis of skyscrapers today, pointing out that many notable projects since the late 19th century have acted as harbingers of financial. Included in that list? Philadelphia’s City Hall, built in the crash year of 1901, the first stock market crash of the NY Stock Exchange.

The most recent global example was the preposterous Burj Khalifa in Dubai, the tallest building in the world. But construction will soon start on Jeddah’s Kingdom Tower, which will out-Dubai Dubai by being 568 feet taller than Burj Khalifa.

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Morning Headlines: Civic Design Review Committee Gives Thumbs Up to Comcast & Foster

Rendering of CITC. Photo courtesy of Comcast Corporate.

Rendering of CITC.
Photo courtesy of Comcast Corporate.

The Civic Design Review Committee may not have the final say as to which projects get the go-ahead, but yesterday their approval of Comcast’s proposed Innovation and Technology Center, designed by London architect Norman Foster, ended the regulatory process for the building. Developers are now permits away from commencing construction this summer.

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Will the New Comcast Tower Be Good for Pedestrian Life? Or Bad?

Rendering of CITC. Photo courtesy of Comcast Corporate.

Rendering of CITC.
Photo courtesy of Comcast Corporate.

 John Pron, a former professor of architecture at Temple University’s Tyler School of Art, has a problem with Comcast’s burgeoning corporate campus. In an article published in last month’s Art Matters (recently made available online), Diane M. Fiske asks Pron what he thinks of the Norman Foster-designed CITC. Like most, he looks forward to the new building on Arch, even referring to it as “marvelous” and “dramatic.”

But Pron worries about pedestrian life. As it is, he says, pedestrian life between 15th and 30th along the stretches of Market and JFK suffers from little opportunity to connect with pedestrian activity along Arch Street and around Logan Square. Not helping matters is the north/northeast side of Comcast One, whose sidewalk-level design blocks pedestrians from easily entering Market and JFK.

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Someone Put Adderall in City Council’s Coffee

The city has never been more efficient. From PlanPhilly:

Less than six weeks after Comcast announced it would build a second tower in Center City, in what the company is calling the largest private investment in the history of Pennsylvania, nearly all of the approvals are in place for construction to begin. On Tuesday, two City Council committees approved five bills that would allow the project to move forward.

Rezoning for Comcast approved by Council committee [PP]

Morning Headlines: Comcast’s New Tower To Have Philly’s Most Expensive Rents

Rendering of CITC. Photo courtesy of Comcast Corporate.

Rendering of CITC.
Photo courtesy of Comcast Corporate.

Apart from its towering height (1,121 feet, 59 stories) the upcoming Comcast Innovation and Technology Center will have high rental rates. Surprise, surprise. In fact, it’ll have the most expensive in Philadelphia.

According to Liberty Property Trust CEO Bill Hankowsky, prices will be in the $30-$40/sq.ft range and will depend on how close to the space is to the top (higher up, higher prices). Read more »

Comcast Tower Architect Together With Julianna Margulies

norman foster marseille pavillion

Norman Foster’s Marseille Vieux Port Pavilion in France. Photo by Nigel Young for Foster + Partners

February’s issue of Architectural Digest features The Good Wife‘s Julianna Margulies on its cover. You have to imagine this kind of cover probably sells more issues than a cover like this one, but the story is legit: Margulies’ comparatively modest SoHo apartment was designed by Vicente Wolf.

In the same issue, a mere 22 pages away, a pavilion by the chosen architect for the Comcast Innovation and Technology Center is celebrated as one of 10 recently completed projects that represent “the best of the field’s cutting edge…projects that impress and amaze.” Norman Foster’s Marseille Vieux Port Pavilion in France is singled out as distinctive, compelling and a “sublime study in simplicity.”

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The Ultimate Annotated Guide to the New Comcast Skyscraper


By now you’ve seen the plans for the new Comcast Technology and Innovation Center, the eventual tallest building in the city that will include a “vertical campus” — look at Comcast talking like a Silicon Valley tech firm! — the Four Seasons, NBC 10, et cetera. A lot of people have been down on the design, but I like it. It’s not another glass tower, adding a completely different look to the skyline. The spire on top is silly, but I think all skyscrapers are required to have decorative nonsense now. Plus, it’s a giant middle finger to West Philadelphia from Center City. You leave your nonsense on that side of the river, college kids and crust punks! (Just kidding.)

But it’s hard to get through all the renderings and associated video. There’s just so much! Well, don’t fret. I spent hours examining the renderings for the new CITC — is this what we’re going to call it? — and have boiled down what you need to find in them.

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