PHILADELPHIA — A joint venture between Comcast Corp. and Liberty Property Trust will develop a 59-story mixed-use tower in Philadelphia for approximately $1.2 billion. The building, to be known as the Comcast Innovation and Technology Center and located on the 1800 block of Arch Street, will total 1.5 million square feet.

The development will include office space for Comcast employees and facilities for local broadcast television stations NBC 10/WCAU and Telemundo 62/WWSI, as well as a Four Seasons hotel, restaurant and connections to the Suburban Station of the Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority (SEPTA). The tower will be the tallest building in the United States outside of New York and Chicago and the largest private development project in the history of Pennsylvania.

“This is yet another historic moment for Comcast,” says Brian Roberts, Comcast chairman and CEO. “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.”

Comcast and Liberty will break ground this summer, with completion slated for the fall of 2017. The tower will seek LEED Platinum certification. Comcast will lease at least 957,000 square feet, or approximately 75 percent of the rentable office space, for a term of 20 years.

Upon completion, Liberty will manage and hold a 20 percent interest in the building, while Comcast will hold the remaining 80 percent interest. Funding includes approximately $900 million from the joint venture and $300 million in tenant-funded interior improvements.

Lord Norman Foster of Foster + Partners is serving as architect on the project, which will be constructed with glass and stainless steel adjacent to Comcast Center, Comcast’s headquarters. The building’s block-long lobby will feature a glass-enclosed indoor plaza in addition to the restaurant and concourse with SEPTA connections.

“This is a very special project,” says Lord Foster. “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.”

The Four Seasons hotel will offer more than 200 rooms, as well as spa, fitness, event and meeting facilities and its own top-floor restaurant with 360-degree city views. Four Seasons will continue to manage the brand’s existing Philadelphia hotel at 1 Logan Square and assist the property owner with the transition to a new brand prior to the expected opening of the new location.

According to a report by Econsult Solutions, the Comcast Innovation and Technology Center is expected to generate $2.75 billion in economic activity and more than 20,000 temporary jobs and 4,000 permanent jobs statewide.

“Comcast’s announcement is another chapter in Pennsylvania’s transformation,” says Governor Tom Corbett. “I’m excited that our partnership with Comcast will not only revitalize and transform Philadelphia’s downtown areas, but will also create new family-sustaining jobs. Comcast is not alone in believing in our workforce and in Pennsylvania’s very bright future.”

— John McCurdy

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