Philadelphia’s skyline will soon change with the addition of a 59-story, 1,121-foot tower. Comcast Corporation and Liberty Property Trust are jointly developing the “Comcast Innovation and Technology Center” on the 1800 block of Arch Street in Center City Philadelphia. The $1.2 billion mixed-use tower is expected to be the tallest building in the United States outside of New York and Chicago and will be the largest private development project in the history of Pennsylvania.
The proposed high-rise will neighbor Comcast Center, Comcast Corporation’s global headquarters, and become a dedicated home for the company’s growing workforce. The facility will also create a media center in the heart of the City by becoming home to the operations of local broadcast television stations NBC 10/WCAU and Telemundo 62/WWSI and offer space for local technology startups.
The developers held an international competition of some of the most renowned architects around the world and selected Lord Norman Foster of Foster + Partners. The 1.517 million rentable square foot project will include a new Four Seasons hotel and a soaring, block-long lobby with a glass-enclosed indoor plaza accompaniment to Comcast Center’s existing, dynamic outdoor plaza. The lobby will feature a restaurant and a new concourse will provide direct connections with SEPTA’s Suburban Station, enhancing accessibility and providing new options for commuters.
“This is yet another historic moment for Comcast,” said Brian L. Roberts, Chairman and CEO, Comcast Corporation. “We continue to be proud to call Philadelphia our home, and are thrilled to build a world-class media, technology and innovation center right in the heart of the City, to bring NBC 10 and Telemundo 62 downtown, and to create thousands of jobs and further drive economic activity in the region. We have assembled an incredible design and development team to expand our vertical campus, and I am more excited than ever about the future of Comcast in Philadelphia.”
Lord Norman Foster commented, “This is a very special project. It is an opportunity to create a unique and sustainable model for mixed-use, high density development, which uniquely combines spaces for high tech research and development with restaurants, gardens, fitness facilities and a significant public reception space – a window on Philadelphia. At ground level this ‘urban room’ embraces the city; it opens the building to the public and anchors it as a vital new neighborhood. It also links directly into the below ground public transport system. Above this, the highly flexible loft-like spaces and studios are designed for a dynamic way of working – an engine for the city’s evolution as the kind of leading technology hub presently associated with Silicon Valley.”
In addition to office space, the Comcast Innovation and Technology Center will house a Four Seasons hotel, featuring more than 200 rooms. The luxury hotel will include world-class spa, fitness, event and meeting facilities as well as an exciting new restaurant located on the top floor of the building, offering spectacular 360 degree city views.
Four Seasons will continue to manage its existing hotel at 1 Logan Square and assist the owner with the transition to a new brand prior to the expected opening of the new hotel in 2017.
The Comcast Innovation and Technology Center will generate a staggering amount of upfront economic activity during the project’s construction period alone, including $2.75 billion in economic activity within the Commonwealth and the creation of more than 20,000 temporary jobs. The estimated direct and indirect ongoing impact of the Comcast Innovation and Technology Center is also remarkable, creating almost 4,000 new permanent jobs within the Commonwealth and 2,800 new permanent jobs within the City. The project will also produce $30.7 million in annual Commonwealth tax revenues and $21.5 million in annual City tax revenues.**
“This new building is a game-changer for Comcast and for Philadelphia,” said Mayor Michael A. Nutter. “A world-class building, designed by a world-class architect, built by a world-class developer for a world-class company, all happening in the world-class city of Philadelphia. This building will serve as yet another physical monument to the transformation of this city.”
Construction of the Comcast Innovation and Technology Center will commence in the summer of 2014, and the building is expected to be complete in the fall of 2017. It will seek LEED Platinum certification. Comcast will execute an initial lease for at least 957,000 square feet, or approximately 75 percent of the rentable office space, for a term of 20 years.
The project will be owned by a joint venture, 80 percent owned by Comcast and 20 percent by Liberty Property Trust, and managed by Liberty. The project includes an approximately $1.2 billion private investment of which approximately $900 million will be funded by the joint venture and approximately $300 million will be tenant funded interior improvements.