5 Reasons Why Philly is About to Look Better Than Ever

A look at some of the most beautiful construction developments currently underway in Philadelphia

comcast-citc-Philadelphia-AerialGBCA

The following content is created in consultation with the General Building Contractors Association. It does not reflect the work or opinions of NBC Philadelphia's editorial staff. To learn more about GBCA, visit gbca.com.

From striking skyscrapers to revitalized neighborhoods, better hospitals and universities to top-class places to live, eat and visit, the vibrant canvas of Greater Philadelphia is transforming almost daily, with many innovative projects both pointing toward our future while celebrating our iconic past.

According to an E-Consult Solutions research project commissioned by the General Building Contractors Association (GBCA), the Philadelphia region enjoyed an estimated $6.5 billion of economic impact between 2013 and 2015 due to new construction and major renovation expenditures. This two-year construction boom resulted in thousands of new jobs, an estimated $107 million in business, wage, and sales taxes to the city of Philadelphia, and $331 million in taxes to the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.

But buildings are only as good as, well, the men and women who build them. That’s where the GBCA comes in. As one of America’s oldest trade associations, the GBCA has been advancing commercial construction by providing its more than 250 member companies with access to proven advocacy, networking opportunities, safety services, education and training programs for more than 125 years.

GBCA’s member companies are responsible for many of the groundbreaking construction projects that are revamping this city. The five projects below are emblematic of the commercial construction industry’s commitment to continue bringing more business and opportunity to the Philadelphia region, from technology to healthcare to green space to retail to mixed-use residences.

The Comcast Innovation and Technology Center


The bold new Comcast Center — which is being built by L.F. Driscoll Company, LLC — is poised to be the tallest building in Philadelphia. Soaring over the city’s skyline at 1,121 feet, the 60-story building will bring 4,000 new tech jobs into town, multiple public spaces and — at the upper levels — a Four Seasons hotel.

St. Christopher’s Hospital for Children Pediatric Critical Care Tower


Northern Philadelphia’s critical pediatric care is about to get a big boost thanks to Torcon’s latest project. Part of St. Christopher’s Hospital for Children’s $110 million expansion, the new 135,000 sq. ft. Pediatric Critical Care Tower was designed with both clinical functionality and overall patient well-being in mind. The four-story tower will add 50 critical care beds and 60 Level IIIC NICU beds in private rooms to the already innovative facility.

Central Green at the Navy Yard

The words corporate and bliss typically don’t go hand in hand. Unless you’re talking about Central Green. Built by Bittenbender Construction and located in the heart of Philadelphia’s Navy Yard — otherwise known as the city’s most up and coming corporate neighborhood (the Urban Outfitters HQ is here) — Central Green offers 4.5 acres of reclaimed urban tranquility. Replete with a hammock grove, bocce court, amphitheater, surrounding gardens, and spaces for play, it’s an historic site that’s rapidly shifted into one of Philly’s most innovative and progressive public spaces.

Fashion District Philadelphia

A city is only as good as its boutique shopping — just ask any fashionista. Which is why Fashion District Philadelphia — a revamp of the former Gallery Mall — is such an exciting project. The joint venture between Shoemaker Construction Company and Skanska USA Building will span three city blocks, making Fashion District Philadelphia the largest cohesive retail project in downtown Philadelphia. Expect 730,000 square feet of the best designer outlet brands and artisanal dining experiences.

FMC Tower

Combining offices, space for the University of Pennsylvania and luxury apartments, the FMC Tower is Philadelphia’s first vertical neighborhood. Add a health club (which includes a pool), retail space, an indoor-outdoor restaurant, movie theater and fire pits, and it’s no wonder why some people have dubbed it the piazza of the future. The work of Turner Construction and Madison Concrete, the 49-story FMC Tower stands over active railroad lines, making it a striking entry to the emerging University City neighborhood. 

To learn how GBCA is advancing commercial construction in the greater Philadelphia area, visit gbca.com.

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