Event Recap: Behind the Scenes Tour of Schuylkill Yards
On Tuesday November 19th, ULI Philadelphia presented a unique behind the scenes tour of the Schuylkill Yards development.
Following the 20th Annual ULI Real Estate Forecast on November 19th, ULI members were hosted by John Gattuso, President & CEO of Gattuso Development Partners, for a behind the scenes tour of the newly developed Comcast Technology Center.
Members were greeted by John in the lobby, where he went into detail on the process that began seven years ago to develop the largest skyscraper in North America outside of New York and Chicago. Five world-renowned architects were hired on a six-month contract to compete for the right to conceptualize their vision for the tower, with Foster + Partners ultimately winning the competition.
The first stop on the tour was The Universal Sphere, a 34-foot-tall installation that features an animated short film produced by Steven Spielberg and invites guests to explore the power of ideas. After experiencing The Universal Sphere, attendees were escorted to Comcast’s offices, the newest extension of Comcast’s corporate campus and home to 4,000 employees. Each office space features a three-story sky garden that serves as the focal point of the space and has a dedicated 1 to 1 occupied seat to dedicated breakout space seat ratio to foster a creative and collaborative work environment.
The tour then proceeded to the 60th floor to see the acclaimed JG Sky High lounge and Jean-Georges Philadelphia, featuring panoramic views and mirrored ceilings to ensure patrons have a city view regardless of their seat. The final stop was the five-star Four Seasons Hotel, which features 219 guest rooms, 15,000 square feet of event space, a luxury spa and fitness center, and a jaw-dropping infinity pool. When the hotel was being developed, John said that his goal was to not only create the finest hotel in Philadelphia, but one of the finest Four Seasons in the entire world.
One of the most interesting concepts at the Comcast Technology Center is the implementation of a “split core” design, which emanated from Comcast’s desire to have visual connectivity between the office space and hotel. Contrary to most high-rise office towers in the United States that are focused around a solid core and drive the public around the edge of the building, John proposed the idea of driving traffic into the center of the building. This idea resulted in the creation of the vertical campus that the Comcast Technology Center is today.
This article was contributed by Paul Rogers, Berkadia Real Estate Advisors and member of the ULI Philadelphia Small Scale + Impact Development Council.