Well this is kind of fun. This week, our own social media guru, Jack Cotter, spotted a lighted Christmas tree on the southwest corner of the rising core of the Comcast Innovation and Technology Center at 18th and Arch.
The Foster + Partners-designed mega project will eventually rise to 1,121 feet in the sky, becoming the tallest building (spire included) in Philadelphia, and tallest in the nation outside of New York and Chicago.
While that’s all well and good, but we want to know if this is (was) the highest Christmas tree in the city.
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Is that little CITC we spot reaching for the sky? Gosh, they grow up so fast! Feels like just yesterday we were hungrily perusing local Twitter and Instagram feeds in the hopes of getting a peek into its massive foundation pour. And now, nearly a year later, Philadelphia’s next tallest skyscraper is closer to becoming a reality than ever before.
Officially titled the Comcast Innovation and Technology Center, Comcast’s second tower is due to be complete sometime in 2017. When it opens, its Gensler-designed interior will look like this and will house more Comcast offices, as well as 200-some rooms for the Four Seasons Philadelphia, which, understandably, ditched Logan Square in favor of being, well, up in the air.
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.
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:
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.
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…
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:
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…
How will Comcast’s new Innovation and Technology Center change Philly? Just off the stage from her ThinkFest talk, Karen Bucohholz gave us the 15-second pitch: