Comcast CEO Brian Roberts unveiled on Wednesday the new Comcast Innovation and Technology Center that will be built in downtown Philadeliphia. The 59-story tower will cost around $1.2 billion to build, and it will be home to 4,000 Comcast employees primarily focused on software development and business services. The skyscraper will also house the area’s local NBC and Telemundo affiliates. The 1.5 million square foot building will be a joint venture between Comcast and Liberty Property Trust with Comcast controlling 80% of the venture. The company’s current home, the 58-story Comcast Center also located in Philadelphia, was finished in 2008 and it is currently the 17th tallest building in the United States and the tallest American building outside of New York and Chicago. Daniel Safarik, editor at the Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat, believes it is likely that the new Comcast tower will surpass the Comcast Center as the largest American building outside of New York and Chicago.
Construction will begin this summer and the completion date is 2017. The exterior of the tower will be all glass and steel. Comcast CEO Roberts is hoping to achieve LEED Platinum certification for the building. The top 13 floors will be home to a Four Seasons hotel that will offer 200 luxury rooms on the top floor. Other design features include the all glass main elevators along the exterior of the building so employees can see the city as they ride the elevator to work each day. Lord Norman Foster, who designed the London Millennium Footbridge, is the lead architect for the project. The plans for the lobby will be inviting, but Roberts declined to add any more details. An atrium will be located on every third floor and the lobby will have a water feature. Philadelphia sports fans will be happy to know that Comcast plans on moving the William Penn statue from the top of the Comcast Center to the top of the new tower. Historically, no building in Philadelphia could be taller than the William Penn statue located on top of City Hall. When this was abandoned in the 1980s, the city began a sports title drought. Comcast decided to place the statue on top its building in 2007, and the Phillies won the World Series in 2008. Click here to see a gallery of renderings for the new building.