New Exhibit Will Put CITC, Norman Foster on Full Display

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The Comcast Innovation and Technology Center will completely change the Philadelphia skyline forever, yet it just doesn’t seem like people are as pumped about it as they should be. East Market is getting a ton of plaudits. The same can be said for the Gallery. Admittedly, we’ve been tracking the progress at the W Hotel more than the CITC. Here’s a little bit of perspective: the CITC will be nearly twice as tall as the W and feature the Four Seasons Hotel on its top 12 floors. If you’re scoring along at home, that’s Norman Foster, Comcast’s second skyline busting tower full of innovation, a marquee hotel in the clouds and it will be the tallest building in North America outside of New York and Chicago.

Thankfully, the Philadelphia Center for Architecture realizes this and has a cool exhibit starting this week. Designing Our Skyline: The Comcast Innovation and Technology Center by Foster + Partners will run from May 29 through June 21. Not only will you get to learn all about the soon-to-be-tallest building in the city, but there will also be detailed models on display, renderings and “a timeline of concept sketches by Pritzker Prize winning Norman Foster.” It’s also completely free, which makes it even better.

The opening reception for the exhibit will be held on May 29 from 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. at the Philadelphia Center for Architecture at 1218 Arch Street and feature music, beer, wine and hors d’oeuvers. Register here.

Morning Headlines: Comcast Announces It Will Keep Its New Tower For Itself

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Have you seen the interior renderings of the Comcast Innovation and Technology Center? Pretty swanky stuff, right? Well, it seems some tenants that had been slated to move into the tower once it was done will only have the renderings to go on just like the rest of us.

The Philadelphia Business Journal‘s Natalie Kostelni reports Comcast has announced it will take up the entire office portion of the building, which means only the cable bigwig and the 222-room Four Seasons Hotel will be its sole occupants:

David L. Cohen, executive vice president of the Philadelphia cable company, said Comcast has expanded the amount of space it will occupy and will take all of the building’s 1.28 million square feet of office space.

It’s a move to accommodate Comcast’s rapidly growing pool of employees. Cohen said they don’t need a “third tower” (psh, why not?) but they do need the space:

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Five Developments We’re Tracking in 2015

Photo credit: Ethan Schwartz via Flickr.

Photo credit: Ethan Schwartz via Flickr.

Here on Property we’ve been covering an assorted number of new projects poised to transform Philadelphia’s cityscape. As the new year approaches, that number will only continue to grow, and you can be sure we’ll be following all of them.

However, of those that have been announced for 2015, there have been some which have struck us as being potential game-changers. Below you will find five areas in Philadelphia development that we will keep a special eye on in the coming year.

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Morning Headlines: New Luxury Hotel to Replace Four Seasons After Renovation

Rendering of the Comcast Innovation and Technology Center interior.

Rendering of the Comcast Innovation and Technology Center interior.

The Inquirer’s Bob Fernandez reports the Four Seasons Hotel, set to move to the Comcast Innovation and Technology Center when it’s completed in 2018, will shut its doors at One Logan Square this June. Following an extensive renovation, its former site will reopen under a yet to be named luxury hotel (although whispers of a Marriott have been circulating.)

Sage Hospitality, Fernandez adds, will be in charge of the transition and intends to keep as many Four Seasons employees as possible:

Walter Isenberg, chief executive officer and president of Sage Hospitality, said that the Four Seasons in Philadelphia “has earned a spot as one of the city’s most important hospitality assets. While honoring the property’s past, we will make it relevant to today’s traveler as a modern luxury hotel. We are excited to be joining the Philadelphia community and look forward to introducing a new restaurant concept from our Sage Restaurant Group.”

Sage intends to retain as many Four Seasons employees as possible, Isenberg said.

Four Seasons to close for renovations in June [Inquirer]

In other news…

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PHOTOS: The Foundation Mat Concrete Pour for the New Comcast Tower

The largest concrete pour in Philadelphia history thus far (although some would beg to differ, see comment in the linked post) took place Friday night and continued on until Saturday morning. It was riveting stuff and apparently people gathered for the momentous occasion to immortalize it in social media heaven.

Below, some photos from the event:

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Morning Headlines: New Comcast Tower Requires the Largest Concrete Pour In Philly’s History

Rendering of Comcast Technology and Innovation Center via NBC10.

Rendering of Comcast Technology and Innovation Center via NBC10.

The Comcast Innovation and Technology Center will hold two titles when it’s completed: Philadelphia’s tallest skyscraper and largest concrete pour. According to the Inquirer’s Bob Fernandez, contractors are set to pour “400 truckloads of concrete” for the skyscraper’s foundation mat, “one of the largest concrete pours in city history” per city officials.

Fernandez reports the 1800 block of Arch will be closed during the pour, which will start at midnight tonight and end Saturday at 5:00pm. The foundation mat will be attached to city bedrock and weight up to 15 million pounds.

Rain or shine,’ concrete will pour in Center City [Inquirer]

Meanwhile, in other news…

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Gensler Will Design New Comcast Tower’s Interior (RENDERINGS)

Photo credit: Gensler

Photo credit: Gensler

A Monday press release has announced Gensler, a global architectural and design firm headquartered in San Francisco, will be working with Foster + Partners and Daroff Design Inc. to design the interior of the Comcast Innovation and Technology Center.

Among Gensler’s accolades are the Architecture Firm Award, presented to them in 2000 by the AIA, and the Corporate Design Excellence Award, given to them by the IIDA in 2013, 2012, and 2011.

According to the press release, the collaboration is meant “to create a functional, aesthetic, sustainable and progressive interior environment that will effectively integrate with the architectural design of the building” at 18th and Arch. LEED Platinum certification from the U.S. Green Building Council is sought for the interior.

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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 »

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