The view from the 24th Floor of the FMC Tower | Image via Albert Lee, @urphillypal on Instagram
We’re taking a decidedly different turn on this week’s installment of Photo of the Week–and for good reason.
As you know, we typically delve into the #PhillyScape tag to grab the beautiful scenes of Philadelphia. Today, we were fortunate enough to be invited to tag along on a sky-high Instameet with Albert Lee (@urphillypal on Instagram), Brandywine Realty Trust (@brandywinerealty) and 20-or-so of Philly’s top Instagrammers to tour the glistening FMC Tower at 30th and Walnut.
You’ve seen what it’s like to be on top of the tower crane at One Riverside. Now, let’s take a trip to the other side of the Schuylkill River, as we climb to the construction site at the 24th floor for a few stunning open-air views of Philly from about 300-feet in the sky.
A look at an all-new suite at AKA Rittenhouse | Image courtesy AKA Rittenhouse
If you spend any amount of time around Center City, there’s a good chance that you have seen the FMC Tower rising along the banks of the Schuylkill River. Half-built, yet incredibly captivating (we love cranes), the tower will be the headquarters of FMC and, lest you forget, it’s also going to house its very own AKA extended stay suites.
While little is known about the layout and look of those sky-high suites, we do know that if the newly redesigned penthouses and suites at AKA’s Philly flagship on Rittenhouse Square are any indication of what we can expect, then AKA isn’t messing around. And that’s just how we like it.
Three luxurious penthouses and 15 suites (or residences, as they’re called) were repositioned to set AKA apart on Philly’s rapidlygrowinghospitalityscene. We’re told that more renovations are on the way, and the folks at AKA hooked us up with some glossy images to give our readers a sneak peek at the new-look residences.
What if Philly’s next skyscrape could be built in under a month? It’s not Lego, it’s now actually possible. A construction firm called Broad Sustainable Building (BSB) just assembled their new 57-story tower–called Mini Sky City in Changsha, China–in just 19 days. 19 days! How did they construct a building roughly the same height as the BNY Mellon Center so quickly? Well, it’s the world’s tallest pre-fabricated skyscraper.
Using “energy-efficient, factory-produced Lego-like blocks,” crews were able to complete about three floors per day. Here’s more from Sploid:
This building has 19 10-meter-high atriums, 800 apartments, and office space for 4,000 people. [BSB representative Xian Min] Zhang claims that the use of modules reduced the use of concrete by 15,000 trucks, which he says almost eliminated all the release of dust in the air, an important advantage in pollution-ridden China.
Now that we’ve all had a chance to adjust to that that whole spring forward phenomenon, let’s take a few minutes to look at a handful of projects that are making progress as we officially head into spring. Remember, you’re not losing an hour of precious sleep, you’re gaining another hour of glorious sunlight!
Sure, the near-record breaking concrete pour at the turn of the year may have garnered all of the attention, but that’s winter type stuff. Spring will see the city’s soon-to-be-tallest building rise higher and higher out of the large hole at 19th and Arch. To be frank: that’s exciting. Comcast has recently said they’re going to take up all of the office space within the building and it’s possible that it’s not the last one in the area for the cable goliath. Don’t forget: the Four Seasons will also become one of Philly’s most exclusive hotels as it moves from the Parkway all the way up to the top floors of the CITC.
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.
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.”
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.
The Inquirer’s architecture critic, Inga Saffron, has occasionally been accused of being too negative — a charge leveled at most good critics at one time or another. In her latest Changing Skyline column, Saffron praises the West Philadelphia building boom in her own subdued way: “It’s nice to see the city’s skyline stretching west.”
You can hear the hesitation shimmer around that period, though, and indeed, Saffron does have a concern: that the Cira Centre South site, where the FMC Tower (rendering pictured) and the Evo building will be, is isolated from the Schuylkill waterfront “by a large, triangular moat, which looks down on the train tracks that feed into 30th Street Station and is one of several barriers that make walking there an unpleasant, and often hair-raising, experience.”
Here are some things we didn’t tell you yesterday but are nonetheless important regarding FMC’s new corporate headquarters, a skyscraper to be built as part of the Cira Centre South complex (here’s yesterday’s news, though not in a proverbial sense):
• The location will be the northeast corner of 30th and Walnut.
• The company will occupy the building by June 2016
• The architect of record on the building will be BLT Architects.
• The tower will cost $341 million.
• There will be a 2,000-space parking garage that will also be used by IRS workers at the former post office
• The 260 luxury apartment suites will be market-rate rentals that will include concierge services. Read more »
Currently, FMC Corporation is at the BNY Mellon building in Center City at 18th and Market, so its new building as part of the Cira Centre South complex will be a change. It’s a locally founded and based company, one that’s been in the Delaware Valley for almost six decades, and its global HQ has been in Philadelphia proper since 2001.
Let’s have a look at the way FMC’s new tower will integrate with the Cira Centre South area. These renderings are all from a presentation posted on Brandywine Realty Trust’s website, hence the page numbers.