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Thread: Comcast Center (Philadelphia)

  1. #1
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    Default Comcast Center (Philadelphia)

    Comcast Center:





    Comcast unveils plans for new headquarters
    $435 million skyscraper will be Philadelphia's tallest building



    Tuesday, January 04, 2005
    By Michael Rubinkam, The Associated Press

    PHILADELPHIA -- Philadelphia's newest skyscraper will also be its tallest, a 975-foot behemoth wrapped in tinted glass and named for its anchor tenant, Comcast Corp.

    Assisted by millions of dollars in state and local tax breaks, the nation's largest cable company said yesterday that it had signed a 15 1/2-year lease with Liberty Property Trust, developer of the $435 million downtown skyscraper to be known as Comcast Center.

    The most significant addition to the Philadelphia skyline in more than a decade, the 57-story building will rise above the city's signature tower, One Liberty Place, by 30 feet.

    Construction is scheduled to begin this month, with Comcast moving several blocks into the new building by fall of 2007.

    Comcast, which tripled in size when it bought AT&T's cable division in 2002, said it had outgrown its current headquarters across the street from City Hall.

    Comcast Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Brian Roberts said AT&T had asked the company to move to New York City as a condition of the sale. "My father [Comcast founder Ralph Roberts] and I both adamantly said that's a nonstarter, and it almost cost us the deal," Roberts told a news conference yesterday.

    Democratic Gov. Ed Rendell, who has close ties to Comcast, showed his gratitude by putting together a state aid package valued at $42.75 million, including $30 million for infrastructure improvements. The state Department of Community and Economic Development pledged another $12.75 million in grants, tax credits and job training assistance.

    In exchange, Comcast promised to create 600 jobs, with the possibility of adding as many as 1,000 to 2,000 more over the next decade.

    Rival office landlords complained bitterly about the public subsidies, fearing that Comcast Center would lead to a glut of downtown office space and lure away their corporate tenants.

    "It's all about putting a spin on it so the taxpayers can pay for something that both of the companies can well afford and the city doesn't need," said Dave Campoli, president of the Center City Owners Association, a group of major office landlords in Philadelphia that fought the subsidies. Campoli also works for HRPT Properties Trust, Comcast's current landlord.

    Mayor John Street noted that similar criticism was leveled at One Liberty Place when it opened in 1987. That building was the first to rise above the William Penn statue atop City Hall, which had served as the city's unofficial height limit for nearly a century.

    Critics of Comcast Center are "less than appropriately grateful" for Comcast's commitment to Philadelphia, Street said.

    Malvern-based Liberty Property Trust, which owns 60 million square feet of office and industrial space, first announced plans for the skyscraper four years ago. It is to be built atop a commuter train station at 17th Street and JFK Boulevard.

    Designed by New York architect Robert A.M. Stern, Comcast Center will feature a half-acre landscaped public park and a glass-enclosed winter garden that will serve as the new western entrance to Suburban Station. Plans also call for expanding Suburban Station's underground retail concourse.

    Stern, dean of the Yale School of Architecture, said the building's 13-foot ceilings would flood work spaces with natural light, while its glass skin would glisten brilliantly by day.

    Comcast "challenged us to examine every facet of skyscraper design and to evolve something that will be a new benchmark for this building type," he said.

    Comcast said it would initially occupy 534,000 square feet on 24 floors, or about 44 percent of the building's rentable space. Comcast also may request the construction of a second, 250,000-square-foot office building on the site.

    The project was dealt a setback in late November when the Republican-controlled Legislature refused to approve even more lucrative tax breaks sought by Comcast and Liberty Property Trust. But Rendell came to the rescue a few weeks later, putting together a deal that didn't require legislative approval.


    Copyright 1997-2005 PG Publishing Co.

  2. #2
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    975 feet! Flat roof!


    YES! YES! YES!


    2 57 story towers are being built by city hall as well, 745 feet and 615 feet. Plus the new cira center looks nice!


    Philly rules!

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    Good for Philly! I like to see recovery in other cities in this region.

    Oh, if only that building could be, say, at least 25 feet higher? :mrgreen:

  4. #4

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    Quote Originally Posted by PHLguy
    975 feet! Flat roof!


    YES! YES! YES!


    2 57 story towers are being built by city hall as well, 745 feet and 615 feet. Plus the new cira center looks nice!


    Philly rules!
    Which two are those? I thought the Center City tower was a non-starter. Anyway, are any of these projects going to result in new Center City jobs?

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    Those are 15th and Chestnut and Some Ritz project.

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    City Center Tower is officially a "visionary" project. The Chestnut Street tower is residential and will be built on the site of One Meridian Plaza, which was demolished in 1998 or so after being gutted by a fire several years earlier. The other building PHLguy mentioned is a 57-story Ritz-Carlton project.

  7. #7

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    Comcast Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Brian Roberts said AT&T had asked the company to move to New York City as a condition of the sale.
    I guess they broke the condition. To think we could've had another substancial building on our hand's....

  8. #8

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    How is Center City doing job wise? Will the Comcast Center do for Philly what Coke does for Atlanta or Oil does for Houston like they say it will? Could Philly tap into NYC's back office market.

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    Default Philly Trip Report (3/24,25,26 2005)

    I was in Philly for a couple of days to see the Dali exhibit.

    The Comcast Building is going to be HUGE and is situated perfectly. It is just so weird that this 975ft building is rising on a lot that abuts a beautiful old church and its residence. It is an interesting juxtaposition.

    We walked up to the Museum (we stayed at the Marriott next to the convention center). The Cira Centre is looking GORGEOUS. It has great lines and angles. Looks like a crystal prism rising on the landscape as it is west of City Center and stands alone. A top-notch design. Love it. A Cesar Pelli & Associates design that finally strays from his cookie cutter designs of late. It looked stunning.

    Philly still suffers the plight other cities like Cleveland and Columbus in that it isolates residential areas, commercial areas and retail areas. City Center was really dead. Old City had the tourists. South Street had the crowds. It still suffers from an over-abundance street life and street scape killing parking lots and garages. It's a wonderful city to walk, but they need to abandon the anti-urban dedication of land to cars.

    The Old City is chewing up the great lawns in front of Independence Hall in an effort to create a version of Washington D.C.'s Mall. Some of it works, some of it doesn't.

    The Independence Visitor Center is rather intrusive, but offers some orientation for visitors as well as relevant movies, public restrooms and a very helpful and accessible info desk. Security is absolutely ridiculous and crowd flow, management and practicality has been given very little thought. Visitors to Indepence Hall now need tour tickets (reasonable). They have to pass through security akin, yet more invasive, than airports. This occurred in the old Liberty Bell building (which is now exclusively a security checkpoint). Visitors then walk to the new Liberty Bell Center for a series of movies, displays and exhibits on the Liberty Bell and the opportunity so see the bell itself. It was a totally ridiculous exhibit and the totally uninspired building design destroys the "old city" feel that the expanse of lawn in front of Independence Hall had. You leave that building to be herded into police barrier pens on the corner, where you must wait to be walked across the street by security guards to Indepence Hall, which is now fully enclosed in an inpenetrable security zone. A real paradox - Indepence Hall inside a restricted zone. It was excessive and just so silly, especially when you walk the next three blocks east on Market Street to endless culturally relevant and historic American building that have no security at all. So stupid.

    But, I must bring another building to everyone's attention. The new National Constitution Center was excellent. We were weary of visiting this place as Philly seems intent on creating something from nothing, but this was great. The building itself is very nice inspired piece of architecture. It works flawlessly as a museum and the exhibits (all interactive) were incredibly creative, not only engaging visitors of all ages, but somehow managing to stimulate thoughts, reactions and interplay. The exhibits were just excellent. It has a new exhibit hall opening on Lincoln and the constitutional crisis of his presidency, that I am inclined to return to Philly to see - it was that good.

    I don't know if anyone has pictures or renderings of the National Constitution Center or the Cira Centre, but both are worthy of posting here.

    By the way,if anyone needs restaurant recommendations, I had a great meal at a place called Jones on 7th & Chestnut - $115 for four people - (excellent comfort food in a very nicely designed space). I also ate a phenomenal meal at Striped Bass - $216 for dinner for two (with one bottle of wine & half a bottle of champagne) - but it was a exceptional in another stunning dining room.

    That's my two cents...
    Last edited by BrooklynRider; March 26th, 2005 at 10:11 PM. Reason: clarification

  10. #10

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    Phillys lookin nice.
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  11. #11

    Default Where are the people?

    BrooklynRider...
    Next trip into Philly I suggest checking out Walnut/Chestnut/Locust streets especially around Rittenhouse Square as well as the Avenue of the Arts (Broad St. south of City Hall). These areas are the most diverse with office, residential, and restaurant/retail all sharing the same real estate. They are much more 24/7 than the convention center area (which is where the Marriott is located), and always filled with people.

  12. #12

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    I would agree with jmhoriel. Convention Center/ Hotel area is badly misplaced. Right next to the Convention Center they have the Gallery Mall which is an ultra- urban hangout. Not thats there is anything wrong with that but it seems like an odd mix, having suburban conventioneers and tourists mingle with the urban youth of Philadelphia.

    Rittenhouse,Walnut St and University City is where most of the foot traffic is.

    I go to school at Villanova and center city/university city is really becoming a very impressive section of the city. Heres a few updates on some of the bigger projects that are going on in philly. Center City is only about 3.5 sq. miles but there is currently 3 billion dollars worth of investment alone in center city.

    Mandeville Place- 43 story mixed tower-proposed- 2006 commencement



    Waterfront Square- 5 tower condo complex 23-37 stories-Under Construction


    Symphony House- 31 story Condo/Theatre- UNDER CONSTRUCTION





    Cira Centre- Nearly complete- Far Right








    Comcast Center-- Under construction


  13. #13

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    Quote Originally Posted by Stern
    I guess they broke the condition. To think we could've had another substancial building on our hand's....
    Lets not get too greedy. I applaud Comcast and Brian Roberts for showing loyalty and support to Philadelphia. They are in a tough position, stuck in the middle of the world's two most powerful cities. For the past 50 years they basically have been shunned by all national developers. I hope Philly can keep rebounding and reclaim some of its past glory.

  14. #14

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    Hey Cromwell, is that a rendering or a photo of Mandeville Place (43 story mixed tower-proposed- 2006 commencement)?

  15. #15

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    Archit, its a rendering. Mandeville Place was announced a couple months ago and if things go smoothly the project should begin next spring. However as with all Philadelphia projects you can never be to certain until you see the first steel anchor beam in the ground. It's a tough city to get big projects done, you have to grease an awful lot of hands.

    Comcast-57 stories
    Cira centre- 29 stories
    Symphony House-31 stories
    Waterfront Square Complex 21-25-29-33-37 stories are all underway.

    There are also 95 new smaller developments/ conversions(sub 20 stories) going on at the present time in center city.

    There are 2 dozen bigger condo towers in the planning and proposed stages. There is an amazing 37 story condo by Robert A.M. Stern that is currently being held up by Nimby's on Rittenhouse Square. As the aforementioned 57 story and 50 story condo towers being torpedoed by feuding developers.

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