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Comcast Sets Plan For New, Taller Tower In Philly

Proposed $1.2 Billion, 1,121-Foot ‘Innovation and Technology Center’ To Break Ground This Summer 1/15/2014 4:02 PM Eastern

Comcast intends to alter the Philadelphia skyline significantly and spark economic growth in the city with the Comcast Innovation and Technology Center, a proposed $1.2 billion, 59-story tower that will serve as the taller neighbor of the Comcast Center, the company’s corporate headquarters building that opened in 2008 (see image below for a side-by-side artistic rendering).

Comcast said it will break ground on the new building this summer, and expects to complete construction in the fall of 2017. Comcast said it will execute an initial lease for at least 957,000 square feet, or 75% of the rentable office space, for a term of 20 years.

The joint venture behind the project will be 80% owned by Comcast and 20% by Liberty Property Trust, which will also manage it. Also on the financial end, the project will include private investment of about $1.2 billion, of which roughly $900 million will be funded by the joint venture, and approximately $300 million will be tenant-funded interior improvements.   

Designed by Lord Norman Foster of Foster + Partners, the 1,121-foot glass and stainless steel tower is expected to be the tallest building in the U.S. outside of New York and Chicago, and become the largest private development project in the history of Pennsylvania, Comcast said.

Comcast said the “mixed-use” will be home to its growing workforce of technologists, engineers and software architects, and serve as the operations of local broadcast television stations NBC 10/WCAU and Telemundo 62/WWSI, and offer space for local technology startups.

"This will not be a twin," Comcast CEO and chairman said, according to Philly.com, referring to the original Comcast Center. "We wanted to create an environment that's better than anywhere else. We are a different company than we were a few years ago. We are competing for talent all over the world and we have to offer something special."

According to the plan, the tower will support 1.517 million rentable square feet and include a new four Seasons hotel with more than 200 rooms, and direct connections with SEPTA’s Suburban Station.

Comcast claimed the project will generate $2.75 billion in “economic activity” in Pennsylvania during its construction period, and create more than 20,000 temporary jobs and 2,800 new permanent jobs within Philadelphia.

"This new building is a game-changer for Comcast and for Philadelphia," said Philadelphia Mayor Michael A. Nutter, in a statement.

September