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Comcast’s new research center reaches for the skies

Thu, 01/16/2014 - 12:20pm
Mike Robuck

Not content with already having the tallest skyscraper in its hometown of Philadelphia, Comcast announced yesterday that its new research center will be even taller when its finished in 2017.  The glass and stainless steel Comcast Innovation and Technology Center will over shadow the neighboring Comcast Center, which is the cable operator’s headquarters that opened in 2008. The 1,212-foot tower, which will cost $1.2 billion to build, will be 59 stories high while the Comcast Center checks in at 975 feet.

When it’s completed, the Comcast tower will be the largest tower in the United States outside of skyscrapers in New York and Chicago.

The technology center will be the “dedicated home” for Comcast’s technologists, engineers and software architects, as well the location for local the NBC and Telemundo affiliates.

The mixed use tower will also give an economic boost to Philadelphia and the surrounding area by creating thousands of jobs and by providing space for local technology startups.

"This is yet another historic moment for Comcast," said Comcast Chairman and CEO Brian Roberts. "We continue to be proud to call Philadelphia our home, and are thrilled to build a world-class media, technology and innovation center right in the heart of the city, to bring NBC 10 and Telemundo 62 downtown, and to create thousands of jobs and further drive economic activity in the region.  We have assembled an incredible design and development team to expand our vertical campus, and I am more excited than ever about the future of Comcast in Philadelphia."

Designed by Lord Norman Foster of Foster + Partners, the 1.517 million rentable square foot project will include a new Four Seasons hotel and block-long lobby with a glass-enclosed indoor plaza accompaniment to Comcast Center’s existing outdoor plaza.  The lobby will feature a restaurant and a new concourse and will provide direct connections with SEPTA’s Suburban Station for easy access by commuters.

The project will be owned by a joint venture, 80 percent owned by Comcast and 20 percent by Liberty Property Trust, and managed by Liberty. The project includes an approximately $1.2 billion private investment of which approximately $900 million will be funded by the joint venture and approximately $300 million will be tenant funded interior improvements.   

Construction of the tower will start this summer and finish in the fall of 2017. Comcast will execute an initial lease for at least 957,000 square feet, or approximately 75 percent of the rentable office space, for a term of 20 years.

"This is a very special project.” Norman Foster said. “It is an opportunity to create a unique and sustainable model for mixed-use, high density development, which uniquely combines spaces for high tech research and development with restaurants, gardens, fitness facilities and a significant public reception space – a window on Philadelphia.

“We look forward to continuing our collaboration with Comcast and Liberty Property Trust to further develop an outstanding location and a new landmark on the Philadelphia skyline."

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