Literally HUGE News From Comcast
Comcast just announced that it is building a new skyscraper that, according to Comcast subsidiary NBC, will “redefine Philly’s skyline, create thousands of jobs and shift the city’s image from a Rocky, blue-collar town to a city of innovation that rivals the Silicon Valley.” This is freaking awesome.
Comcast is working with Liberty Property Trust to build the 59 story Comcast Technology and Innovation Center, which definitely needs a catchier name. It will be located at 1800 Arch St, and will be a $1.2 billion development. The CTI Center (nope, that’s not much better) will be home to 4,000 employees focused on apps, software and business services. The Comcast TIC (but it’s so freaking big, we can’t call it a tic…) is designed by Lord Norman Foster, who designed London’s famous 30 St. Mary Axe, which is better known as “the Gherkin” and creates plenty of precedent for thinking of a clever nickname for this truly awesome new development in Philadelphia. In the news conference announcing this development, Mayor Nutter described it as “world-class” no less than a hundred times, and I agree.
Perhaps the best part of this story isn’t the shiny new building, but the news that Comcast is committed to making Philadelphia its technological hub. Comcast plans on adding and moving 1,500 employees to Philadelphia once they complete the ComcasTIC (that name is no good, either, but brand savvy). That news alone is worth celebrating, as a massive company like Comcast can help anchor an entire economic sector. Combined with the growth the start up sector encouraged by developments around the University City Science Center, the rise in collaborative spaces like Impact Hub, Seed Philly, Indy Hall, and other great initiatives like Technical.ly Philly, Comcast’s renewed commitment to Philadelphia signals a bright future for its tech and start up economy.
That said, tech geeks aren’t the only nerds who can celebrate. City planning dweebs and other urbanists will delight in the news that a Fortune 100 company decided to expand its downtown campus rather than develop another suburban office park like so many other companies do. Comcast is doing so despite higher real estate costs and the city wage tax. That shows that Comcast understands how space influences employee interactions and that, increasingly, employees prefer to live and work in urban environments.
So, this is great news for Philly. In honor of this outstanding development with a horrible, horrible name, I hereby swear to hold off on bitching about my cable bill for at least a month.
No word yet on whether they will put a tiny Billy Penn statue at the top of the 125-foot blade, which puts all area sports fans on edge. We will update if this issue is resolved.
Finally, make sure to check out the photo gallery. Foster’s firm included mock-ups of what the building will look like when you instagram it from West Philly, amongst other great renderings of the design.
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