New skyscraper could change Philly skyline

<div class="meta image-caption"><div class="origin-logo origin-image none"><span>none</span></div><span class="caption-text">Pictured is a model of the proposed American Commerce Center. (Photo courtesy of</span></div>
March 14, 2008 2:52:24 PM PDT
A world-class architectural firm has decided that things are looking up for Philadelphia ... about 1500 feet up. The website first reported that the firm of Kohn Pederson Fox unveiled a design for the American Commerce Center. It would rise to 89 stories at 18th and Arch Streets.

The location has been a parking lot for 30 years, but by 2012 the owners and developers plan to create the tallest skyscraper in Philadelphia.

The building, plus its spire, would be a full 525 feet taller than the Comcast Center, which is currently the tallest building in the city.

The half-billion dollar American Commerce Center would be complete with a 5-star hotel and plenty of retail space. The biggies would be nearly 1 and half million square feet of office space.

Mayor Nutter is gung ho.

To hear the business boosters tell it Philadelphia can use the additional office space, despite an apparent recession.

The Chamber of Commerce says the office vacancy rate for top shelf space is only 8 and half percent. Overall, the estimate is just over 10 and a half percent. Philadelphia, for all its troubles, is hot.

There are more big plans for the 30th Street area near the river and expressway that include two more office towers between Chestnut and Walnut Streets. The University of Pennsylvania is one of the partners in that endeavor, which is also targeted for completion in 2012.

The designers hope to break ground on the American Commerce Center next year.