Monday, January 03, 2005

The Skyline is a changing

We already have a new 30 story building rising next to 30th Street Station (where, thanks to a stupid, stupid law, one of the richest city law firms is moving, and then the partners will pay zero city wage taxes). And now, we have the "Comcast Center," ready to start at 17th and JFK. When the building is completed, it will be the largest in the city, eclipsing Liberty Place I and II.

From the Inquirer:

The skyscraper, to be called Comcast Center, will be built on a site, already cleared, across 17th Street from Suburban Station on John F. Kennedy Boulevard. The project, to cost $465 million, includes a new entrance to the commuter railroad station that extends below a planned public plaza in front of the building.

The announcement comes after extended and bitter controversy over proposed tax breaks for the tower, which were rejected late last year by the Pennsylvania General Assembly, and a subsequent $30 million grant provided by Gov. Rendell.

Owners of rival buildings turned off decorative lighting for a time last summer to protest the building, which they said would create a glut of office space in an already weak real estate market.

When finished late in 2007, the building will be, at 975 feet, the city's tallest. Comcast has signed a 151/2 year lease 534,000 square feet on 24 floors, or 44 percent of the 1.2 million square foot tower.

It has options to expand into virtually all of the space.

Media Consolidation is a bad thing. That said, if it is going to happen anyway, we mine as well have the behemoth have their headquarters located in our hometown. And, generally, I have to say that Comcast never really threatened to leave if they didn't get their 30 mil tax break, unlike a lot of big corporations. (Plus, they did start Comcast Sportsnet, the greatest channel in local television history.)

I do wonder though, in a city that still is losing more than its gaining, whether two new skyscrapers hurt more than they help. After the initial economic benefit of actually building them, a glutted commercial real estate market does not help our city.

(Update: This really will be a dramatic change to the skyline. Take a look here, and see just how much taller the building is than anything else.)


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