There is a proposal afoot to build what would be the tallest building in the Western Hemisphere and the second-tallest building in the world when stacked against existing buildings, at 18th and Arch streets, in Center City. A 2,000-foot-tall condominium building is under construction in Chicago.
The American Commerce Center, at a proposed 1,500 feet, would be 525 feet higher than the Comcast Center, now Philly's tallest building at 975 feet, a block away.
It would surpass the Empire State Building's 1,250 feet.
Phillyskyline.com waxed poetic in its description of what's happening:
"Your Philly skyline is about to change. About to incur a growth spurt. About to shatter any notion of Philadelphian reservedness, about to take A New Day A New Way to a whole other level."
Generating this excitement is the proposal to construct what would be a mix of retail, hotel and office space - and even a movie theater - in an $800 million, 2.2-million-square-foot skyscraper on what is now a parking lot.
The proposed building will need zoning adjustments, but it apparently has the backing of Mayor Nutter.
Through his press secretary, Doug Oliver, the mayor said he believes the building "would be a spectacular addition to Philadelphia's skyline. Sustainability efforts and building green continue to be hallmarks of this administration and the plans for this particular project are consistent with those goals."
The civic association that covers that neighborhood is watching and waiting.
"Obviously, when you drop something bigger than the World Trade Center into a neighborhood there are bound to be implications," said Rob Stuart, president of the Logan Square Neighborhood Association. "We will identify them and see if they can be mitigated. It is clearly out of scale with a lot of our neighboring buildings."
Stuart said his association was briefed a week ago by the developer and his team and "we are formulating a task force to work on the project."
"There are going to be a lot of discussions. The design might change as a result."