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The Comcast Center

Formerly: One Pennsylvania Plaza
Built: 2008
Cost: $540,000,000
Designed by: Robert A.M. Stern Architects
Type: Skyscraper
Stories: 57
Maximum Height: 973 feet / 297 meters
Location: 1701 John F. Kennedy Boulevard, Philadelphia, United States
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Building Rating
80% of readers like the Comcast Center.
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Description by Wayne Lorentz
T he Comcast Center thrusts skyward from the heart of Philadelphia, pulling this historic city into the age of 21st century skyscrapers.

Sure, Philadelphia is no stranger to blue glass squarified skyscrapers. But this one eschews the gables and barn shapes that typify those that came before it. Instead of copying what had already been done through the years in Philadelphia, this one goes out on its own. Moreover, it does so boldly; even going so far as to have a flat roof to demonstrate that its presence is a solid representation of its height, and not some trick of spires or antennae stretching, reaching for the sky. This building is the sky.

And its facade is an excellent representation of that. Blue glass on all sides and not too many angles, it reflects the city and the sky around it rather than suck up all the available light like one of its nearby neighbors.

What angles it does have are expressed as additional corners. Vertical extensions to the glass monolith run nearly its entire height, tapering amongst themselves as they approach the crown.

The crown is the real star of the show here. Five stories of illumination to punctuate this building's already impressive height and to make sure that when the sun goes down people continue looking up. And it's not just the crown that brightens the night. The light show continues down the corners and back into the heart of the city.

  • Architect: Robert Stern
  • Associate architect: Kendall/Heaton Associates
  • Structural Engineer: Thornton Tomasetti
  • General Contractor: L. F. Driscoll Company
  • Developer: Liberty Property Trust
  • Vanity address: One Comcast Center, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 19103
  • At the time of its completion, this was the tallest building in Philadelphia.
  • Bounding streets: North 17th Street, North 18th Street, Arch Street, and John F. Kennedy Boulevard.
  • The cut-out is six stories tall on the south side, and two stories tall on the north side.
  • This was formerly the location of the Sheraton Penn Center Hotel and the Public Defenders Building.
  • There is a cafeteria for Comcast employees on the 43rd floor.

  • Floor space: 1,238,000 square feet
  • Elevators: 35
  • Parking spaces: 120

  • January, 2005: Construction begins.
  • January 3, 2005: This building's name is changed to the Comcast Center.
  • June 18, 2007: This building becomes the tallest in Philadelphia and Pennsylvania.
  • March, 2008: This building opens to the public.
  • June 6, 2008: This building officially opens.

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Things To Look For:
  • The recesses near the top of the building. Some people call them "handles."
  • The building's illuminated crown which hides mechanical systems including a tunes mass dampener to help the building cope with the wind.
Did You Know?
  • Only the top row of lights in the crown are colored. But they're pointed downward toward the blue-white lights of the rest of the crown so that the color blends. together.
  • One plan for this building had it rising 55 feet taller.

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Brent Kampert
Tuesday, October 6th, 2009 @ 10:26pm
Rating: Five stars.
I like this ultra-modern glass tower, it is currently the tallest in the city. I heard there were plans for a new building to replace it's record holder. I hope not though, this is my favorite Philly Building. It makes a great contrast to the skyline of Philly.

dan sammons
Thursday, September 11th, 2008 @ 8:58am
Rating: Three stars.
I was pleased to view the HD screen @ the mezzanine,one word explains it (you got to see it to appreciate it).

Aaron Burger
Monday, June 2nd, 2008 @ 5:07pm
Rating: Five stars.
Great to see this. Philly really needs it. This city's been a backwater for too long.

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