When it's finished, the new tallest building in Philadelphia will be something like the second child outdoing the first. In 2007, when the 57-story 957-foot Comcast Center was completed, it was like the communications giant announcing its arrival as a dominating media lord. A huge building befit a huge company, so to speak. But in the last month or so, work has begun on the Comcast Innovation and Technology Center, a $1.2B 59-story 1,121 ft (interesting number, eh?) at 18th & Arch. The building will neighbor the Comcast Center and reach out with a needle-like top that is similar to the Freedom Tower, the new World Trade Center in New York, as if poking the heavens and asking to bring good fortune to Philadelphia.
Back in December, when we last visited 22nd & Pennsylvania, the Best Western Hotel had closed its doors, suggesting redevelopment of the parcel could be on the way. This property, in case you've forgotten, is slated to become Rodin Square, an exciting mixed-use development that will be quite an upgrade over the unattractive hotel we have today. We first gave you the lowdown about it last summer. First time you're hearing about this project? Here's a refresher.
The project is designed by MV+A Architects and will include a huge new Whole Foods, relocated from a couple blocks away. The grocery store will front Pennsylvania Avenue, and will dwarf the current store, which is often bursting at the seams with customers. It will also overcome a common complaint at the Callowhill Whole Foods, offering 172 dedicated parking spots. But we have a feeling the parking demand will eventually expand to fill the space its given. Such is life.
On the 2100 block of Race Street, just south of the former home of the Please Touch Museum, an eight home project has been in the works for a couple of years. When we last checked in here in May of 2013, a former School District building had just been demolished in favor of an approved row of new homes with rear access parking. The homes have been under construction ever since, though the process has been measured. Currently, four of the eight have gone up.
Looking east on Race St.
Still vacant corner
As you can see, there's still plenty of work to be done on the four homes that have already been built. And at the corner of 21st & Race, land waits for the second phase of the luxury home project. We'll check back in some months from now, and things should progress some more in the interim.
Two summers ago we were worried about how the Made in America Festival had impacted the local grounds, specifically at Von Colln Memorial Field at 22nd & the Parkway. The ball fields at the park that usually serve as home field for youths instead served as space for trucks and stages and heavy equipment. After the concert, the fields looked like they'd squared off against a stampeding herd and lost. Fortunately, the fields were cleaned up and repaired in relatively short order, thanks to a combination of government and concert funds.
Across the street from the Wawa at 21st & Hamilton and behind the Rodin Museum, perhaps you've noticed a rather large pit with cars parked at the bottom. This section of the former City Branch could someday be part of a sunken rail park. And some of that space could also soon be covered by a new seven-story mixed-use building with residential units and "ground-floor retail."
We love Wawa
Across the street from Wawa
While any proposal is still in its early stages, it's not the first time developers have looked to build here. In the past, a twelve story building was proposed here, but those plans were never realized. Most recently, the area was pegged as an area ripe with future potential during the Phila2035 planning process, as an area that could be developed with streets, open space and more—with 1.6M sqft of redevelopment potential.