2nd Comcast tower would be among tallest in U.S.

This image shows a cross-section of the blocklong lobby. The new $1.2 billion structure will be called the Comcast Innovation and Technology Center and is expected to bring about 1,500 permanent jobs.
This image shows a cross-section of the blocklong lobby. The new $1.2 billion structure will be called the Comcast Innovation and Technology Center and is expected to bring about 1,500 permanent jobs.
Posted: January 17, 2014

IMAGINE a multifaceted, sky-piercing glass-and-stainless-steel tower right across the street from the Comcast Center three years from now, forever raising the Philadelphia skyline.

Plans for the $1.2 billion Comcast Innovation and Technology Center at 18th and Arch streets were unveiled yesterday in the company of Gov. Corbett, City Council President Darrell Clarke and top executives from Comcast and its partner in the project, Liberty Property Trust.

Designed by world-renowned architect Lord Norman Foster of Foster + Partners, the 59-story, 1,121-foot tower is expected to be the nation's tallest outside New York and Chicago, and the largest private-investment project ever in Pennsylvania.

"When we built the Comcast Center, we thought it would be a vertical campus," said Brian L. Roberts, Comcast chairman and CEO. "But I never - and I don't think my dad could ever have - imagined how quickly we've outgrown this amazing home.

"We want to have the greatest technological capabilities of any high-rise in America in this new building."

The project would be funded in part by a $30 million Commonwealth grant - to be disbursed over several years - and $10 million from the city, all to be invested in infrastructure and expansion of the underground SEPTA concourse.

According to a study conducted by the Center City consulting firm Econsult Solutions, the project promises to bring more than 20,000 temporary construction jobs and about 1,500 permanent jobs to the city. It also estimates roughly $21.5 million in city tax revenue.

"When I can see a return on our investment of over 200 percent and see the number of jobs that it's creating, that's something we can predict," Corbett said.

"When you're growing the center of the city, you're growing more and more jobs."

The proposal, still in the vetting process, boasts soaring indoor open spaces with a clear, wall-to-wall view of the outside via a cross-section slicing through the horizontal center of the building. The loftlike environment would include a swirling, tubelike, glass slide connecting several floors.

Roberts said that both NBC10 and Telemundo 62 would move to the Innovation and Technology Center from City Avenue, and that the 1.5 million rentable square feet within the mixed-use tower also would include a new Four Seasons Hotel at the top.

Mayor Nutter joined the news briefing via satellite from Seattle, calling the new venture a "physical monument to the transformation of this city."

Construction is expected to commence this summer, with tentative completion in fall 2017.


On Twitter: @RuffTuffDH

|
|
|
|
|