<![CDATA[NBC 10 Philadelphia - ]]> Copyright 2014 http://www.nbcphiladelphia.com/feature/comcast-innovation-technology-center-philadelphia http://media.nbcbayarea.com/designimages/NBC10_40x125.png NBC 10 Philadelphia http://www.nbcphiladelphia.com en-us Wed, 23 Apr 2014 04:43:47 -0400 Wed, 23 Apr 2014 04:43:47 -0400 NBC Owned Television Stations <![CDATA[New Skyscraper a Gamechanger for Local TV]]> Wed, 19 Feb 2014 11:54:19 -0400 http://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/213*120/jim+rosenfield+jacquelin+london.jpg

The announcement that Comcast plans to build a 59-story skyscraper in Center City could be heard across the country Wednesday, but perhaps nowhere more loudly than six miles away at the NBC10/Telemundo 62 studios.

"It’s a gamechanger," said Eric Lerner, president and general manager of the station.

"I’m ready to move right now. Let’s go."

NBC10 and Noticiero Telemundo 62 will eventually relocate to the Comcast Innovation and Technology Center at 1800 Arch St. from the local station’s current location at 10 Monument Road, Bala Cynwyd.

NEW STUDIO

Tentative plans suggest at least three control rooms and three studios, along with the station’s sales department and administrative staff, will occupy the 6th, 7th, and 8th floors of the 1.5 million-square-foot building, Lerner said.

Details are still being worked out, but the offices will be designed in the open-floor plan style architect Lord Norman Foster presented.

"I’m going to be in the thick of the action," said Lerner, who currently works out of a corner office located on a different floor from the editorial staff. “I’m going to be much closer to news and sales."

News Director Anzio Williams also welcomes the change.

"We have always seen ourselves as innovators and on the cutting edge of broadcast journalism," Williams said. "It fits in perfectly."

The new facilities will be move-in ready by the end of 2017, about three and a half years after a planned summer 2014 groundbreaking, according to Comcast CEO Brian Roberts.

Two of the Philadelphia market’s four other stations upgraded their offices in the last ten years. CBS3 began broadcasting from 1500 Spring Garden St. in 2007 and 6ABC started operating out of a brand-new facility at 4100 City Ave. in 2009. FOX29 operates from 330 Market St.

Like many in the area, the local broadcast’s staff speculated on whether the station would move since talk of a possible tower began increasing in fall 2013. But few outside of leadership roles were privy to Comcast’s highly confidential plans before Wednesday.

Some expressed excitement about the new digs, including NBC10's Keith Jones, who tweeted "New Tallest Bldg in #Philly --New NBC10 Studios in Center City announced!" and Tim Furlong, who tweeted "nbc10 getting a new crib!"

But it is likely some concerns will arise given the staff is comprised of 230 employees who travel from across southeastern Pennsylvania, south Jersey and northern Delaware to man the 24-hour station.

Aside from possible commuting issues, employees living outside of city limits may wonder how city-wage tax will affect their paychecks.

"I think people will be naturally nervous," said Williams, who likened it to the worries anyone would have while moving.

"We have three-and-a-half years to look at these issues," Lerner said. "We hope to resolve them so when it is the fourth quarter of 2017 and we’re moving to Center City, they’re not issues."

An underground concourse will connect the Innovation and Technology Center to Suburban Station, increasing access to public transit for staff.

Lerner says he plans to take SEPTA, although he acknowledges there may be some days when he will need to travel by car to attend meetings or functions away from the office.

THE NEWSCAST

Crews heading out to cover breaking news will face other challenges, as the downtown location changes how they will access the area’s major roadways.
"We have unique challenges right now leaving Bala Cynwyd going to Center City," Williams said. "So I think we will have those same unique challenges just going the opposite way.”

Lerner added the central location gives the station "a competitive advantage when we cover City Hall and when we need to get the Mayor."

Both Lerner and Williams agreed that the difference in proximity to I-76 will not affect broadcast content and the station will continue to produce top-quality journalism that covers the Delaware Valley.

HISTORIC STATION

The station at 10 Monument Road is an icon in its own right. The 100,000-square-foot building was constructed specifically for broadcasting in 1952 – a first in the country.

"Most likely we will sell it," Lerner said. "I don’t know of any uses that either our division or Comcast has for this property."

Real estate experts say it is unlikely another production company would acquire the property, but it is poised to attract buyers.

"There are very few sites as big as NBC10," said David Binswanger, president of Philadelphia-based real estate firm Binswanger Management Corp.

Most commercial properties within the City Ave District are multi-tenant, making the Bala Cynwyd property a unique opportunity for full development once the station vacates the building, he said.

The current zoning on the property means a developer could build as high as 200 feet, or about 9-stories, depending on the project, according to Lower Merion Township records.

The building is part of the townships historic inventory, meaning any developer planning to demolish or renovate the exterior of the structure will need plans reviewed and recommended by the Lower Merion Historic Commission, according to Michael Wylie, zoning officer.

But that won’t deter buyers, said Spencer Yablon, vice president in the Philadelphia office of Calabasas, Calif.-based Marcus & Millichap.

"Lower Merion is not looking to have that sit vacant," said Yablon, who suspects a new office building would go up at the site.

"It is close to 76…It is a good location in terms of visibility and prestige. It is tough to find ground out there," said Yablon, who added the vacancy in Bala Cynwyd is 100 basis points lower than the rest of the suburbs.

Binswanger agrees that office space is a viable option, citing employers’ desire to avoid city-wage taxes.

"Retailers are less concerned about that," he said. "Because of the number of employees that actually occupy the building, it is less of an issue."

Although a mixed-use property, which includes an office tenant, is also a possibility, Binswanger added.

An overlay district encourages the creation of a mixed-use environment along City Avenue, he said.

No final decision on selling the property has been made, Lerner said.

Either way, NBC10 is trading one of the area’s marquee buildings for another.


Contact Alison Burdo at 610.668.5635, Alison.Burdo@nbcuni.com, or @NewsBurd on Twitter



Photo Credit: Sarah Glover]]>
<![CDATA[Comcast Seeks to Redefine City]]> Sat, 25 Jan 2014 03:58:26 -0400 http://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/213*120/COMCAST+INNOVATION+AND+TECHNOLOGY+CTR18.jpg

Comcast Corp. announced Wednesday that it’s building a new, iconic skyscraper that will redefine Philly’s skyline, create thousands of jobs and shift the city’s image from a Rocky, blue-collar town to a city of innovation that rivals the Silicon Valley.

“It will be a melting pot of talent and people who want to change the world in the businesses that we are in,” said CEO Brian Roberts.

Comcast is partnering with Malvern-based Liberty Property Trust to erect the 59-story Comcast Innovation and Technology Center at 1800 Arch St.

The $1.2 billion development will be home to up to 4,000 employees dedicated to developing new apps, software and business services for the Philadelphia-based company.

“We laid out a vision for what our technology could become,” Roberts said. “Where you could get whatever you want on whatever device whenever you wanted.”

Inside the 1,121-feet-tall tower, a slew of “technology geniuses” will be working together in a collaborative environment to ensure Comcast and Philadelphia steadily advance in the 21st century.

DESIGN

Set to break ground in summer 2014, Roberts envisioned “an urban vertical loft.”

Five world-renowned architects competed and Lord Norman Foster, who designed the 1,214-feet long London Millennium Footbridge, prevailed.

Roberts says, the 1.5 million-square-foot mixed-use property will aim for LEED Platinum certification - an ambitious undertaking for such a large building.

Once construction is complete, the Comcast Innovation and Technology Center will be the tallest structure in Philadelphia, surpassing the company’s current headquarters by 150 feet, and among the top 10 tallest buildings in the country.

The top 13 floors will be the new home of the Four Seasons, which is relocating from Logan Square.

Guests staying at one of the more than 200 luxury rooms will check in on the top floor, where the hotel’s restaurant will be located.

Featuring a 360-degree view of the city, the eatery will be open to the public, who can also visit the shops filling 2,682-square-feet of retail space. The stores will line an underground concourse, an extension of the current link between Suburban Station and the Comcast Center that will include the Innovation and Technology Center when construction is complete.

The NBC10 studios, after 62 years on City Line Avenue in Bala Cynwyd, will relocate to Arch Street. Its existing headquarters was the first building in the United States constructed for television production. Comcast acquired the local affiliate along with 30 Rockefeller Plaza in New York and the Englewood Cliffs-based CNBC headquarters when it completed its purchase of NBC Universal from General Electric in February 2013.

“There won’t be any other television station like it in the country,” said David Cohen, Comcast's executive vice president.

Noticiero Telemundo 62, the Spanish-language news program recently acquired by NBC Universal and relocated to the NBC10 studios, will also move to the new building. The station is partnering with NBC10 on the production of their daily 6 p.m. and 11 p.m. newscasts.

The studios will not be ground-level, so passersby will not be able to watch live newscasts like they do with The Today Show in New York. But reporters can use the outdoor plaza for live shots.

“It will be one of the exciting destinations in Philadelphia,” Roberts said.

Like the Comcast Center’s video wall, the new building’s lobby will also have a feature that attracts visitors. Roberts declined to name specifics, except to say it will be “inviting.”

“We asked Norman Foster to try to bring a design and a building that would be alive," he added. "A place where things get invented and things get imagined.”

The Pritzker Prize-winner’s creation fused a modern, open floor plan more common among tech-startups with the height of a traditional office building.

“We’re competing for talent with Silicon Valley,” said Cohen. “We want to have a building and a facility and a feel that is competitive with that.”

Foster situated the all-glass elevator along the tower’s exterior on 19th street – a dramatic shift from the more typical placement in the center of a building.

“Every time you get off a floor,” Roberts said, “you’ll be looking right through the building back to either the [Arch Street Presbyterian] Church or the Comcast Center.”

The contemporary design includes a water element along the ground floor and an atrium every three floors, further generating the feel of a youth-oriented, shared workspace.

“We transformed ourselves into a software company,” Roberts said. “That sensibility and vibe and culture wants hip, cool, young loft-type space.”

EVOLUTION

Since taking the helm as Chief Executive Officer in 2002, Roberts has navigated the company - founded by his father in 1963 – through a myriad of technological advances.

“We used to be a cable company,” said Roberts.“We would not call ourselves that any longer.”

The Fortune 500 firm began as a single-system cable operator in Tupelo, Miss. The company, which went public in 1972, morphed throughout the 20th century as it incorporated telecommunication services, introduced the regional sports networks known as Comcast SportsNet and added other broadcast channels like E! Entertainment.

In 2002 the corporation launched high-speed Internet services and Video On Demand and DVR services became available the following year.

Comcast pushed the envelope again in 2009 by offering the initial version of Xfinity TV, which allowed customers to stream video online.

More recently Comcast's cloud-enabled television platforms X1 and X2 allowed subscribers to send a video from their mobile device to their television with the push of a button.

Today the company operates Universal theme parks, creates original films and oversees national and regional programming, while continuing to hold true to its roots with subscriber-based cable, high-speed internet and voice services.

“We have completely transformed …the definition of who we are,” said Roberts, who added the company is now situated at the “cross-section of technology and media.”

And the transformation means more than new products. It means new jobs.

ECONOMY

The skyscraper, scheduled to be complete by the end of 2017, will house up to 4,000 Comcast employees.

“We are trying to contribute to our city in the best way we know how,” he added. “And one of those ways is employment.”

Approximately 1,500 of those workers will be new hires, while the remainder will relocate from other offices in the greater Philadelphia region and other lab spaces throughout the country and world, Roberts said.

Engineers, product and software designers, and marketers will make up the bulk of the long-term positions.

He estimated the project will add 20,000 temporary construction jobs to Philadelphia.

While the city stands to gain from the $1.2 billion project, it will also contribute $10 million in grants towards construction. The Commonwealth will chip in an additional $30 million in grants.

The joint venture of Comcast and Liberty Property Trust will apply for the city's 10-year tax abatement, said William Hankowsky, president and CEO of the real estate firm.  But, he added, there are no plans to seek tax-increment financing.

The $40 million in total assistance is just shy of the $42.75 million in financial incentives the city and state provided for the construction of the $540 million Comcast Center.

The taxpayer monies will be dedicated to public infrastructure improvements, such as the concourse, Roberts said.

He also says the tax revenue generated during the construction phase will pay off the investment and then some. The city will receive about $15 million in taxes, while around $60 million will be returned to the state, Roberts said.

“I think it is a net win right off the bat for everybody,” he said.

Long-term, the project will have an even more dramatic impact on a city widely known for its underdog mentality.

“The goal was to build a technology and innovation center unlike anything in the world,” Roberts said.

The building’s design and central location is meant to attract the talented and tech-savvy to a city that has steadily lost white-collar jobs since 1970.

“The heart and soul of the company is based here in Philadelphia,” Roberts said.

And now much of its brainpower will be here too.


Contact Alison Burdo at 610.668.5635, Alison.Burdo@nbcuni.com, or @NewsBurd on Twitter



Photo Credit: Foster & Partners]]>
<![CDATA[Look Inside the New Comcast Skyscraper]]> Thu, 16 Jan 2014 18:03:41 -0400 http://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/213*120/COMCAST+INNOVATION+AND+TECHNOLOGY+CTR171.jpg The Comcast Innovation and Technology Center will be a $1.2 billion world-class, state-of-the-art facility along the 1800 block of Arch Street.

Photo Credit: Foster + Partners]]>
<![CDATA[New Comcast Tower Builds Expectations for Future]]> Thu, 16 Jan 2014 00:54:54 -0400 http://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/213*120/COMCAST+INNOVATION+AND+TECHNOLOGY+CTR4.jpg

A new skyscraper will soon be reshaping the Philadelphia skyline for the second time in a decade and along with the physical building, there are hopes that the development will redefine the city's destiny.

On Wednesday, Comcast CEO Brian Roberts unveiled The Comcast Innovation and Technology Center, a 59-story glass and steel skyscraper, from the 45th floor of the company's global headquarters, Comcast Center, in Center City Philadelphia.

"I don't think my dad could have ever imagined we'd outgrow this amazing home," Roberts said, speaking of his father Ralph Roberts, who founded the company. "We want to have the greatest technological capabilities of any high-rise in America in this building."

Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Corbett, City Council President Darrell Clarke and the head of Liberty Property Trust, the real estate company constructing the building, were all on hand to take part in the announcement.

Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter also joined in via video conference from Seattle, Wash., where he is delivering a speech.

Being built across the street at 18th and Arch Streets, the tower and its spire will soar 1,121 feet into the sky and house Comcast employees, tech startups, NBC10, Telemundo 62 and a new Four Seasons Hotel. The center was designed by famed British architect Norman Foster, known for London's "The Gherkin" and Millennium Bridge and Apple's new "Spaceship" headquarters.

"This building will serve as yet another physical monument to the transformation of our great city," Nutter said. "Philadelphia is a city that belongs on the world stage."

While the physical construction of a new tower is at the center of this development, leaders are hoping it will serve as a catalyst to turn Philadelphia into a hub for entertainment, and most especially, technology and tech talent.

Comcast plans to have its software development teams housed inside the building's "urban lofts," which include thee-story atriums in several parts of the building, alongside news and entertainment content creators from its subsidiary NBCUniversal.

The company also seeks to nurture new talent inside the center -- offering state-of-the-art space to growing technology companies.

"We also want to incubate new companies and partners that we work with. We will have space dedicated to incubation and working with academic institutions," said Roberts. "And really try to do research and development."

"What is the future going to be 10 years from now?" Gov. Tom Corbett asked. "Maybe the next Google is going to start in one of those rooms."

Venture capitalist Josh Kopelman, whose company First Round Capital moved into Center City from Montgomery County in 2012, is encouraged by the new development and its potential impact on Philly's growing tech scene.

"More tech talent in Philly, attracted by Comcast, can only help the environment here," he said. "We’ve seen Comcast doing more and more to encourage entrepreneurism in Philadelphia – and I love the fact that they are doubling down here."

Chris Cera, owner of Old City software company Arcweb, founded Philly Startup Leaders -- one the largest groups of local entrepreneurs in the region. He's "delighted" Comcast is strengthening its roots in the city and hopes that translates to the company making a larger investment in the local tech scene than they have in the past.

“I would love to see Comcast acquire a Philadelphia startup. That would be a huge thing that would get the city excited and the scene that I play in excited," he said.

Cera, a Drexel University graduate and lifelong local, said one building won't be enough to transform Philadelphia into the East Coast Silicon Valley. However, he says it can stop the "brain drain" of technology talent, who go to college in the city before leaving with their new ideas.

"That building could have been built in New York," he said. "I do believe that Comcast is the type of company that is going to go after world-class talent."


Contact Vince Lattanzio at 610.668.5532, vince.lattanzio@nbcuni.com or follow @VinceLattanzio on Twitter.



Photo Credit: Foster & Partners]]>
<![CDATA[Who Is Architect Norman Foster?]]> Wed, 15 Jan 2014 23:14:37 -0400 http://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/213*120/Norman+Foster.jpg

Known for creating innovative and unique buildings and structures, Norman Foster and his design firm have left their mark on skylines across the Earth.

Based in London, Foster and his firm Foster + Partners have been lauded by the architecture industry for cutting-edge designs and sustainability, garnering more than 600 awards and international fame.

Some of Foster’s most well-known buildings are located in London. “The Gherkin,” as it’s known to locals, is an oblong shaped circular tower and home to Swiss Re insurance company. Built in 2003, the 41-story tower is one of the most iconic buildings in the British capital’s skyline.

London City Hall is another unique structure designed by the firm. Sitting on a large plaza that opens the structure to its citizens, the building is also highly sustainable – a hallmark of Foster’s designs. A curved form allows the building to be shaded as much as possible and cut down on air conditioning. The interior is also naturally ventilated and the cooling system uses groundwater pumped from underneath the structure.

The Millennium Bridge, a 1,049 foot pedestrian bridge, crosses the River Thames connecting St. Paul’s Cathedral to the Tate Modern on in the city’s Southwark neighborhood. The bridge has been featured many times in various international films including Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, where it was destroyed by Death Eaters.

Further west in Germany, Foster spearheaded the restoration of the Reichstag – Germany’s parliament building – which was heavily damaged by war over the decades. Naturally, the existing stone structure was given a facelift, but with that came a new roof terrace. The terrace surrounds a glass dome cupola that shines light into the center of the building. For energy efficiency, the building burns refined vegetable oil to produce electricity.

In the United States, Foster designed the Hearst Tower in New York City. The glass and steel skyscraper rises out of a 1920s masonry building originally commissioned by William Randolph Hearst. The building’s lobby is completely housed inside the original six-story structure. It was also the first office building in Manhattan to achieve the U.S. Green Building Council’s LEED gold certification.

Apple's new headquarters, a 2.8 million-square-foot ring-shaped structure, in Cupertino, Calif., is also being designed by Foster. The $5 billion project has been nicknamed the "Spaceship" and will have 100 acres of green space in the center of and around the building.

One of his more unique projects, Foster’s firm designed Spaceport America in the Jornada del Muerto desert in Las Cruces, N.M. The world’s first commercial spaceport, it features launch pads, runways and a terminal and is home to Virgin Galactic.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Photos: Norman Foster Designs]]> Wed, 15 Jan 2014 20:10:57 -0400 http://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/185*120/The+Gherkin+and+Millennium+Bridge.jpg Here are some of the most iconic buildings and structures designed by world-famous architect Norman Foster.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Comcast Tower Ripple Effect]]> Thu, 16 Jan 2014 00:53:36 -0400 http://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/213*120/COMCAST+INNOVATION+AND+TECHNOLOGY+CTR39.jpg The announcement of the new Comcast skyscraper comes amid something of a construction boom in Center City. NBC10's George Spencer looks at the big picture.]]> <![CDATA[Comcast CEO Speaks on New Skyscraper]]> Wed, 15 Jan 2014 17:29:23 -0400 http://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/213*120/Comcast-1.jpg Comcast chairman and CEO Brian Roberts talks to NBC10’s Lu Ann Cahn about the company’s exciting new skyscraper that will redefine Philly’s skyline and create thousands of new jobs.

Photo Credit: NBC10.com]]>
<![CDATA[A Look Inside Comcast's New Building]]> Fri, 17 Jan 2014 16:12:51 -0400 http://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/213*120/WCAU_000000006025651_1200x675_117705795981.jpg Comcast Corporation announced on Wednesday that it’s building a new and iconic skyscraper that will redefine Philadelphia. Take a look inside the innovative new building.]]> <![CDATA[Comcast Announces Plans to Build New Tower]]> Thu, 16 Jan 2014 00:51:12 -0400 http://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/213*120/COMCAST+INNOVATION+AND+TECHNOLOGY+CTR40.jpg Comcast announced Wednesday it will break ground on a second, even taller high-rise in Center City. NBC10's Keith Jones shows us the exciting plans.]]> <![CDATA[Renowned Architect Unveils New Skyscraper]]> Wed, 15 Jan 2014 19:08:37 -0400 http://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/213*120/WCAU_000000006026151_1200x675_117848131620.jpg Renowned architect Lord Norman Foster shows his newest design, an iconic skyscraper that will redefine Philadelphia.]]> <![CDATA[Gov. Corbett Speaks on New Comcast Building]]> Wed, 15 Jan 2014 21:06:29 -0400 http://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/213*120/WCAU_000000006026197_1200x675_117880899573.jpg Pennsylvania Governor Tom Corbett shares his thoughts on the new Comcast building.]]> <![CDATA[Mayor Nutter Speaks on Comcast Building]]> Wed, 15 Jan 2014 20:29:36 -0400 http://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/213*120/WCAU_000000006026226_1200x675_117874243601.jpg Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter shows his excitement on the new Comcast building that promises to change the city's skyline and redefine its culture.]]> <![CDATA[Comcast CEO Announces New Skyscraper]]> Wed, 15 Jan 2014 19:12:19 -0400 http://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/213*120/WCAU_000000006026004_1200x675_117787203609.jpg Comcast CEO Brian Roberts announces the building of a new and iconic skyscraper in Philadelphia.]]> <![CDATA[Council President Speaks on Comcast Building]]> Wed, 15 Jan 2014 19:13:55 -0400 http://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/213*120/WCAU_000000006026234_1200x675_117875267781.jpg Philadelphia City Council President Darrell Clarke speaks during the announcement of Comcast's innvovative new building project in Center City.]]> <![CDATA[Comcast: Redefining Philadelphia]]> Fri, 17 Jan 2014 16:11:46 -0400 http://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/213*120/COMCAST+INNOVATION+AND+TECHNOLOGY+CTR39.jpg ]]> <![CDATA["Reverse the Curse" Statue to Remain Atop Philly]]> Thu, 16 Jan 2014 12:59:56 -0400 http://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/210*120/Mini+William+Penn+Statue+Comcast+Center.JPG Comcast expects to move a tiny statute of William Penn intended to reverse the curse against Philly sports teams to be moved above the new Comcast tower.

Photo Credit: NBC10.com]]>