This has been quite a week for Philadelphia’s commercial real estate market. The Philadelphia Business Journal is reporting that J.C. Penney Corp. will close two stores in the metropolitan area and that Comcast and Liberty Property Trust have joined forces to put up a new skyscraper in Center City.
Comcast Corp., of course, already has an eponymous office tower in Philly just a block away from the site of the announced project. The new tower should complement the existing structure, according to a Liberty Property executive, even as it redefines the skyline. Though not scheduled for completion until the end of 2017, the 1,121-foot tower should be the tallest building in the U.S. outside of Chicago and New York City. One World Trade Center in New York is currently the tallest structure in the country, standing at 1,776 feet, including the spire.
Comcast’s new building will have 59 stories and 1.5 million square feet of space; 1.284 million square feet will be designated as office space. The cable giant has committed to occupying about 75 percent of that; Comcast must decide by September 2015 if the company will use all of the space. Other tenants will include NBC-10, which will relocate its studios from Bala Cynwyd, and a 220-room Four Seasons Hotel.
The glass and steel exterior design of the new building goes hand-in-hand with Comcast’s vision for the employees that will be housed there. According to the Liberty Property official, the build-out of the Comcast Innovation & Technology Center will include more open, collaborative space instead of the usual cube farm.
The same Liberty Property official added that the venture will simultaneously move Philadelphia forward as a tech town and circle the city back to its manufacturing roots. The Innovation and Technology Center will create and produce products, just not the steel and textiles of yesteryear.
Taxpayers are kicking in less than half the $1.2 billion needed for the project. The state will pay $30 million and the city $10 million. Comcast and Liberty Property will take care of the rest.
Source: Philadelphia Business Journal, “Comcast, Liberty Property to construct new $1.2B skyscraper,” Natalie Kostelni, Jan. 15, 2014