Debate continues on proposed Philly skyscraper

July 15, 2008 3:55:12 PM PDT
Architects are aiming high in an attempt to alter the Philadelphia skyline once again. The recently completed Comcast Center stands at 975 feet. Developers of the proposed "American Commerce Center" want to dwarf that at 1,500 feet. But first they need permission.

If built, a gleaming tower would spring from a parking lot - its 1,500-foot spire dwarfing the nearby Comcast tower and everything else.

Today, those who want to build it released details at a planning commission meeting. The emphasis was not on its size, but on public amenities: A 'green space' public plaza six-stories above the street, a public museum, and public restrooms located in the public underground concourse.

Some who live near 18th and Arch worry the building will overwhelm, block views even the sun. But supporters of the tower say in a global market place tall signature building would attract new employers.

Many at the meeting seemed unconvinced and warmly applauded their state senator Vince Fumo when he vowed to fight what he called an atrocity.

Details, as well as pros and cons were discussed at the lengthy meeting ? the first of what is sure to be many about this particular project.