New FMC Tower breaks ground and will help create new University City skyline

rendering of new fmc tower

The long-awaited Walnut Street tower of Cira Centre South, at 30th and Walnut Streets, has broken ground and will be referred to as the FMC Tower, named after the twin headquarters of specialty-chemical company FMC Corporation, the anchor tenants.  This new tower will be one of the tallest buildings in the city, standing at 49 storeys and a whopping 730 feet tall, just a few feet shorter than Three Logan Place, formerly known as the Bell Atlantic Tower, at 1717 Arch Street.  It will, also, be the tallest building on Walnut Street.  The FMC Tower is being developed by Brandywine Realty Trust, developers of the original Cira Centre next to 30th Street Station, and the Evo at Cira Centre South, the 33-storey student apartment tower being built at 30th and Chestnut Streets next door.  The new tower, designed by Pelli Clark Pelli Architects, is being called a “vertical neighborhood” because it includes office space, apartments, residential amenities, and retail all in the same building.  I had a chance to view the groundbreaking ceremony a few weeks ago, from atop the Walnut Street Bridge overlooking the construction site.

The FMC Tower will have 622,000 square feet of office space.  Approximately 60% of that space will house the twin corporate headquarters of FMC Corporation, which split into two companies recently, after they move from their current headquarters in the Mellon Financial Center at 18th and Market Streets.  The University of Pennsylvania will take up about 100,000 square feet, as well.  There will be 268 apartments, some of them furnished and being offered for short-term leases, administered by AKA, the local leader in short-term residential leasing.  There will be resident amenities, including a concierge service, a fitness center, a swimming pool, and an outdoor courtyard and green roof on top of the large garage that separates the FMC Tower from Evo.  The parking garage is adding a few floors and some spaces, and part of the green roof and courtyard will be accessible to the public and expected to have outdoor events, like concerts and movies showings.  Like with Evo, the first floor will have retail spaces, including at least one restaurant.  The retail will be along the 30th Street and Walnut Street facades, around the corner from retail on 30th Street in the first floor of the garage and across the street from the entrance walkway into the Penn Park.  The eastern side of the first floor will have a dramatic lobby space, with large windows providing a panoramic view of the Center City skyline and the Schuylkill River.  The FMC Tower will have two vertical sections (the section on the south side will be much taller) and a curved and angled facade with a truncated top and it will be covered in blue glass, like the original Cira Centre building, except at the street level where the blue glass will taper off at more diagonal angles.  The upper floors, in the taller vertical section, will have the apartments and the office space will be on the lower floors, in both the vertical sections, with higher ceilings for the office space.

Brandywine Realty trust would like to eventually build an even taller building behind 30th Street Station, at 30th Street and JFK Boulevard.  That tower would be 54 storeys and approximately 900 to 1000 feet tall and shaped like the original Cira Centre.  It is supposed to be an office building, so now that the Cira South development will soon be finished Brandywine may want to focus on that project, especially since the Cira developments have business tax breaks through 2025 only.  Besides the Cira Centre developments, University City and the Schuylkill Banks are seeing a huge amount of new development.  In University City, there are many new academic and medical developments, such as Drexel University’s Papadakis Integrated Sciences Building, at 33rd and Chestnut Streets, the new Gerri C. Lebow Hall for Drexel’s Lebow Business School, at 32nd and Market Streets, new buildings at the University City medical campus, and the Singh Nanotechnology Center, a couple blocks west of the FMC Tower on Walnut Street.  There are, also, new dormitories being built by Penn and Drexel, including the Hill Field College House, at 33rd & Chestnut, Chestnut Square, on Chestnut between 32nd and 33rd Streets, and Lancaster Square, at 34th Street and Lancaster Avenue.  There are new residences for a mix of students and workers, such as 3601 Market Street apartments, at 36th and Market Streets, 38Chestnut apartments, at 38th and Chestnut Streets, and The Hub II, at 40th and Market Streets.  There will, also, be more high-tech focused office buildings in the University City Science Center, including 3737 Market Street finishing up at 38th and Market Streets, and larger office buildings planned for a large parking lot, between 38th and 39th Streets on Market, and at 34th and Market Streets.  As if all that isn’t enough, a new hotel is planned for the northwest corner of 33rd and Chestnut.

On the east side of the Schuylkill River, a new apartment tower is planned for 25th and Locust Streets, at the entrance to the Schuylkill Banks park, Children’s Hospital is planning a huge multi-tower expansion along Schuylkill Avenue, with the first phase to begin soon, the Edgewater Apartments are approved to expand with a 22-storey apartment tower at 23rd and Summer Streets, and a large condo development is planned for 23rd and Arch Streets, overlooking the river and on top of the SEPTA railroad tracks.

All this development is creating a unified Center City/University City downtown with consistently placed active streetscapes and job centers along with an expanded skyline transversing, and along, the Schuylkill River.  If you are interested in buying or selling a home or investment property in University City, Center City, or elsewhere in the city, please contact me at gabriel.gottlieb@lnf.com or check out my Long & Foster agent portal, here, or our Long & Foster Center City office, here.  You can, also, view my Facebook realtor page, Gabriel G. Philly Realtor, and follow my twitter page, @GabrielGPhilaRE.  And, you can check out more about the FMC tower, here, including a cool video tour, and view these renderings and my pictures of the site and neighborhood, below.

Rendering of the future FMC Tower at Cira Centre South

Rendering of the future FMC Tower at Cira Centre South

Looking towards the site of the future FMC Tower from the east on Walnut Street

Looking towards the site of the future FMC Tower from the east on Walnut Street

Rendering of the future FMC Tower as seen from the South Street Bridge

Rendering of the future FMC Tower as seen from the South Street Bridge

Rendering of the future FMC Tower from the entrance to Penn Park

Rendering of the future FMC Tower from the entrance to Penn Park

Site of future FMC Tower from the entrance to Penn Park

Site of future FMC Tower from the entrance to Penn Park

Rendering of the future FMC Tower, at night, from the South Street Bridge

Rendering of the future FMC Tower, at night, from the South Street Bridge

Rendering of Cira Centre South at night

Rendering of Cira Centre South at night

Rendering of Cira Centre South, at night, from JFK Boulevard

Rendering of Cira Centre South, at night, from JFK Boulevard

Rendering of Cira Centre South, seen from the Spring Garden Street Bridge

Rendering of Cira Centre South, seen from the Spring Garden Street Bridge

Rendering of the ground floor, and retail on Walnut Street, of the new FMC Tower

Rendering of the ground floor, and retail on Walnut Street, of the new FMC Tower

Site of future FMC Tower, at 30th and Walnut Streets

Site of future FMC Tower, at 30th and Walnut Streets

Site of the future FMC Tower and the Center City skyline in the background

Site of the future FMC Tower and the Center City skyline in the background

Rendering of lobby of the new FMC Tower, as seen from the Walnut Street Bridge

Rendering of lobby of the new FMC Tower, as seen from the Walnut Street Bridge

Rendering of the entrance to the new FMC Tower

Rendering of the entrance to the new FMC Tower

Rendering looking into the lobby of the new FMC Tower

Rendering looking into the lobby of the new FMC Tower

Rendering looking from lobby of new FMC Tower at Center City skyline

Rendering looking from lobby of new FMC Tower at Center City skyline

Rendering inside lobby of new FMC Tower

Rendering inside lobby of new FMC Tower

Rendering of view of Center City skyline from upper Floor of the new FMC Tower

Rendering of view of Center City skyline from upper Floor of the new FMC Tower

Rendering of green roof and courtyard over the parking garage

Rendering of green roof and courtyard over the parking garage

Rendering of rooftop plaza on new FMC Tower

Rendering of rooftop plaza on new FMC Tower

Model of entire Cira Centre development, with outdated design for Chestnut Street tower

Model of entire Cira Centre development, with outdated design for Chestnut Street tower

Construction from June 24 at the site of the future FMC Tower

Construction from June 24 at the site of the future FMC Tower

Center City skyline from the site of the future FMC Tower

Center City skyline from the site of the future FMC Tower

Looking at the retail along 30th Street at the base of the parking garage

Looking at the retail along 30th Street at the base of the parking garage

Looking north up 30th Street towards original Cira Centre

Looking north up 30th Street towards original Cira Centre

Street signs at 30th and Walnut Streets

Street signs at 30th and Walnut Streets

Looking east on Walnut Street towards Center City

Looking east on Walnut Street towards Center City

Looking west on Walnut Street into University City

Looking west on Walnut Street into University City

AFSCME Building at 30th and Walnut Streets

AFSCME Building at 30th and Walnut Streets

World Cafe Live on Walnut Street

World Cafe Live on Walnut Street

Penn Park across Walnut Street from future site of FMC Tower

Penn Park across Walnut Street from future site of FMC Tower

Amtrak Acela train, along Penn Park, will pass by future FMC Tower onto 30th Street Station

Amtrak Acela train, along Penn Park, will pass by future FMC Tower onto 30th Street Station

Evo at Cira Center South, as seen from Walnut Street

Evo at Cira Center South, as seen from Walnut Street

View of Cira Centre South and Center City from Penn Park

View of Cira Centre South and Center City from Penn Park

View of Cira Centre South from Penn Park

View of Cira Centre South from Penn Park

Looking south down the Schuylkill River, from Walnut Street Bridge, at the new Schuylkill Banks boardwalk to South Street

Looking south down the Schuylkill River, from Walnut Street Bridge, at the new Schuylkill Banks boardwalk to South Street

Looking at Center City skyline from Schuylkill Avenue

Looking at Center City skyline from Schuylkill Avenue

Looking towards the site of the future FMC Tower, from the east, on Walnut Street

Looking towards the site of the future FMC Tower, from the east, on Walnut Street

Rendering of the future FMC Tower from the brochure

Rendering of the future FMC Tower from the brochure

Evo and parking garage from Walnut Street Bridge

Evo and parking garage from Walnut Street Bridge

Cira Centre South from Schuylkill Banks (Schuylkill River Park and trail)

Cira Centre South from Schuylkill Banks (Schuylkill River Park and trail)

Former 30th Street Post Office (IRS Building), 30th Street Station, and Cira Centre, above Schuylkill Expressway

Former 30th Street Post Office (IRS Building), 30th Street Station, and Cira Centre, above Schuylkill Expressway

Groundbreaking ceremony announcement from May 14

Groundbreaking ceremony announcement from May 14

Site of FMC Tower groundbreaking ceremony

Site of FMC Tower groundbreaking ceremony

Brandywine Realty CEO Jerry Sweeney speaks at FMC Tower groundbreaking ceremony on May 14

Brandywine Realty CEO Jerry Sweeney speaks at FMC Tower groundbreaking ceremony on May 14

University of Pennsylvania President Amy Gutmann speaks at groundbreaking ceremony of FMC Tower on May 14

University of Pennsylvania President Amy Gutmann speaks at groundbreaking ceremony of FMC Tower on May 14

Banner announces new FMC Tower after groundbreaking ceremony

Banner announces new FMC Tower after groundbreaking ceremony

Fireworks after unveiling of banner of new FMC Tower at the groundbreaking ceremony

Fireworks after unveiling of banner of new FMC Tower at the groundbreaking ceremony

Vacant site at 1911 Walnut Street could be developed soon

Vacant site at 1911 Walnut Street could be developed soon

Rittenhouse Square Park is a half mile from new FMC Tower on Walnut Street

Rittenhouse Square Park is a half mile from new FMC Tower on Walnut Street

Rittenhouse Row shopping district down the street from future FMC Tower on Walnut Street

Rittenhouse Row shopping district down the street from future FMC Tower on Walnut Street

Left Bank Apartments is west of future FMC Tower on Walnut Street

Left Bank Apartments is west of future FMC Tower on Walnut Street

New Singh Nanotechnology Center, on Walnut Street, near future FMC Tower

New Singh Nanotechnology Center, on Walnut Street, near future FMC Tower

 

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About gabrielcgottlieb

I am a real estate agent at Long & Foster Real Estate Center City and someone who likes to write about development and urban planning in the City of Philadelphia. Contact me at Gabriel.gottlieb@LNF.com if you are interested in buying or selling a home or investment property in Philadelphia.
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4 Responses to New FMC Tower breaks ground and will help create new University City skyline

  1. mw91 says:

    I’m excited for the building but I really hope they decide to scrap the FMC logo at the top. looks terrible. Let them put a giant sign at street level instead if they must

  2. looks great! That will be a great improvement to the city, cant wait!

  3. Bernard Jakksen says:

    How far along is the actual construction?

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