Friday Chit Chat: The New Comcast/Four Seasons Building/NBC Studios

Friday Chit Chat: What I Know About The New Comcast/Four Seasons Building

The very exciting new Comcast Technology Center is nearly complete, adding another exciting building to the skyline.

Early in December officials from both the Four Seasons hotel and Developer Liberty Property Trust came to my condo building to give us the lowdown on the new structure. I didn’t have time to write it until today.


According to the Comcast website: The $1.5 billion 60-story, 1,121-foot tower will neighbor Comcast Center, Comcast Corporation’s global headquarters, and become a dedicated home for the company’s growing workforce of technologists, engineers, and software architects. The facility will also create a media center in the heart of the City by becoming home to the operations of local broadcast television stations NBC 10/WCAU and Telemundo 62/WWSI and offer space for local technology startups.  At the top of the new building will be a Four Seasons Hotel Philadelphia at Comcast Center Rooms: 217 (38 suites). Total square footage of hotel: 263,000. Hotel floors 48th to 60th: Guest rooms: 48th-56th.

I’ve been kinda obsessed with what I’ve dubbed the ladder in the sky, cause without it’s skin (facade) it looks like a steel ladder. The lantern adds the additional footage to make the building the tallest in Philadelphia. It’s official building name is “Lantern”. The Lantern is actually the chimney for the building, it’s where the exhaust from the HVAC system will be venting. The HVAC system, ie cooling and heating, is housed in the lower part of the Lantern. So if you ever see smoke from from the Lantern, know it’s really a chimney. It’s a pretty impressive design.

The front door for the Comcast Technology Center will be on 18th Street, closest to Arch Street. It’s across the street from the side entrance of the Comcast building. There will be a walkway connecting the two buildings, as well as an underground tunnel which I will get to in a moment.

The representative from Liberty Trust said there were also upgrades made to the Arch Street Church which is located along the the walkway. For the first time ever the Arch Street Church will have a door that opens into the newly landscaped plaza.

The entrance to the Four Seasons is at 19th and Arch Streets, is a mirror image to the Comcast Technology Center entrance. The lower level of the Four Seasons will house two restaurants and a cafe, with cafe tables along Arch Street. There are two ballrooms as well. I am really surprised that one of them wasn’t located on a higher floor for maximum wow factor for wedding and events.

To get to the upper floors guests will take express GLASS elevators, those with vertigo may have a bit of a hesitation, but imagine the video selfies as you speed to floor 57 and up.

The very top floor of the Four Season’s will house two premiere restaurants in Philadelphia, the only ones with the most amazing, unobstructed views of the Delaware Valley, up to 25 miles away.

Here’s a Instagram photo from a construction worker of the view from the 60th floor. In the foreground is Rittenhouse Sq.

Here is a cross section of the first several floors of the Comcast Technology Center building. The right side is the “entrance” to the Comcast part of the building. The lobby will be open to the public and soars several floors high. This is also the entrance for the workers at Comcast. The far left side is the Four Seasons lobby. You can see there’s a parking garage below, but it’s not a public garage as the space is limited.

Here’s a sculpture that is being installed in the lobby of the Comcast Technology Center by Conrad Shawcross

There will be nearly 50 bike racks for workers, and there’s shower facilities for the workers who want to freshen up before work. Interesting there is not a door between the Four Seasons lobby and the public space of the new Technology Center.

On the floor above the garage is a tunnel that takes you from the Technology Center to the new Comcast building, and Market Place Food Court, and then connect you with the SEPTA Concourse at Suburban Station. In essence I think you can walk underground from 19th & Arch Street all the way to 13th and Market, and eventually when the the Fashion Outlets open, to 8th and Market Streets, as well to Broad and Spruce and 13th & Locust (This came in hand for me when I was a paralegal at 11th & Market and I needed to get home at 12th & Locust). Pretty cool. (this was a terrible photo I took from my IPhone at the chat with Comcast folks.)

The loading dock is located on Cuthbert Street

One of the construction workers instagramed a shot of the new NBC10 Studios. BTW years ago I rumored about the whole project, someone had tipped me off all the way down to the NBC studios moving to the building, which I wrote about in 2013 It’s been fun watching it come to fruition.
The Four Seasons Hotel is on schedule to open in the Fall. The Technology Center a little before that time.
I can’t wait….here are a few outlets with more in-depth articles on the building. Some of the pixs came from these sources, Instagram, my bad old phone and the Comcast site.
 15 things to expect when Comcast Technology Center opens this year


Congrats to Molly Eichel Who’s Heading to the Philadelphia Inquirer and welcome….

Today is my friend Molly Eichel’s last day writing the Philadelphia Daily News Philly Gossip Column, she’s heading to the Philadelphia Inquirer to be the assistant features editor. Eichel was at the helm of the widely read column since February 2013 when the prolific, sometimes infamous Dan Gross took a buy out during one of the previous owner, Interstate Media’s downsizing of the paper. 

Eichel had been a features writer, and brought that talent to the column, as she often wrote long form, in depth, interesting articles on her subjects instead of reporting on bad behavior and divorces. During her tenure she’s broken lots of stories on celebrities and Philly notables, including the recent news on Kaci McDonnell’s split with fiance Aaron Murry and Nicki Minaj partying with Meek Mill at 1825 Nightclub. Often people thought Molly and I were competitors as I chat about gossip here on the blog and on my twitter account, but we were actually comrade’s, covering stories, often different ones, occasionally the same ones, but always from different angles, sometimes sourcing each other. Aditi Roy Moves West.

And during her entire tenure my celebrity/notable photos have appeared in her column a few times a month. http://www.philly.com/philly/blogs/phillygossip/Tony-Goldwyn-fetes-the-Innocence-Project.html 
We do as you know, work for the same media outlet, Interstate General Media, LLC (I’m a freelance contributor.) With my own column, and my photos appear in the Phila Inquirer. Just last week I had a photo in the weekend section in an A.D. Amorosi article about Gene London at the Flower Show next week.

Congrats to  Jenny DeHuff (l) who is taking over the Philly Gossip column, here with Molly Eichel (r) Sunday night at the Philly.com, Philly Inquirer and Philly Daily News Oscar Viewing Party at the 
Hard Rock Cafe last Sunday night. Jenny has been covering the City Hall/Political beat and tells me she’s excited to cover the social beat as well. I for one am so excited to read her take on what’s new and exciting in the world of happening in Philly, especial the political angle. Not since Mary Patel gave up her political column in the City Paper, and moved to Hollywood, has anyone really covered the political going ons , parties and gossip. That is sorely missing in the City. So bring it on. Congrats again to both Jenny and Molly.  Jenny’s Column starts Monday.
 As Molly says in her last column today:
You should hit her up with any and all juicy tidbits. Email her at DeHuffJ@phillynews.com, give her a call at 215-854-5917 or follow her on Twitter, @PhillyGossipDN.
Read Molly’s last column here:  http://www.philly.com/philly/entertainment/celebrities/20150226_Philly_Gossip_changes_hands__Welcome_Jenny_DeHuff.html#ywd4VvdXjsAvk6BX.99


Qdoba Mexican Grill Closed at 19th and Chestnut, Pearl Properties Moves Ahead with what I reported weeks ago

I first reported a few weeks in November it looks like Pearl Properties is planning to build an apartment highrise down the street from Rittenhouse House Square. 

Follow me on Twitter   where I break news & rumors.
UPDATE 3/31/14: 

Pearl Properties has created preliminary plans to erect a high rise
residential apartment tower on the southwest corner of 19th and Chestnut
with the residential entrance on 19th. The project is just east of the
Boyd Theater site and across the street from the CVS pharmacy. The
plans call for the preservation of the property situated on the
southwest corner of 19th and Chestnut, recently occupied by the Qdoba
restaurant. Sketches show retail on two
floors accessible from the ground floor with the entry on Chestnut. The
site is zoned CMX4 (center city commercial mixed use), which prescribes a
floor area ratio (FAR) of between 500% and 700% depending upon whether
the property qualifies for Section 14-702 bonuses for amenities such as
public art, public space, underground parking or green elements. A 7
story building with a footprint occupying 100% of the buildable space
on a lot has an FAR of 700%, while a 14 story building with a footprint
occupying 50% of the buildable space would have an FAR of 700%. CCRA has
created a major development taskforce which has met twice with Pearl
Properties and is making arrangements for Pearl’s representatives to
present their plans at a public meeting to be held on April 29 at 7:00
PM, at a location still to be determined. Stay tuned.

I had heard that the deal between Little Pete’s and Mac’s Tavern fell
through after Little Pete’s owners got an offer they couldn’t refuse from Pearl
Properties. Pete was very generous when he broke the news to the
Mac’s Tavern peeps, who are now on the lookout for a new home on the west
side of Broad Street. Of course I was 100% this thing was going to happen, I am sensitive to the fact that it affects people and their livelihood. I wouldn’t have reported this had I known it wasn’t happening. (I probably could have waited on the Bloomingdale’s story since it’s so far out, but that is happening too. They are waffling on whether it’s going to be going in BCF or the KMart space. They definitely didn’t want the old Strawbridge because of 8th & Market area. Bloomies really isn’t fond of the KMart space.)

Qdoba Mexican Grill closed on Saturday. Now Pearl owns all the property from the corner to the Boyd Theater.

How amazing that Pearl Properties held on to the empty lot on the right for nearly a decade and then it all fell into place for them.
Look for Pearl Properties to build a 1st class, 20 – 25 story apartment building, with retail on the first floor. Look for a high end wrap around restaurant on the corner of 19th and Chestnut. This is a very exciting project for the Rittenhouse Square area, especially for the Chestnut Street revival which I’ve been writing about for the past year. 16th Street to 22nd Street. Great things are happening in the City.

check out my year end review here