Feb. 15, 2015
The core of the FMC Tower rises above the level of Chestnut Street at 30th in University City
By Mattie Stringer
Construction is well underway on the FMC Tower at Cira Centre South, at 30th and Walnut streets in University City. It's smaller, but just as reflective as its sibling, the Evo residential tower, which is already finished up the block at 30th and Chestnut streets. And now the foundation of the newest, and one of the tallest, towers in Philadelphia, has risen to the level of the elevated streets from the courtyard it ascended from below.
In all, the $341 million FMC Tower will peak at 47 stories, which is about 650 feet high. The tower will include 575,000 square feet of office space, 10,000 square feet of retail space, and 260 apartments. Almost half of the office space, 253,000 square feet, will be taken up by FMC, which will move its 546 workers to the tower by the summer of 2016. The University of Pennsylvania will lease four floors of space, occupying another 100,000 square feet. Who will take up the remaining 222,000 square feet of office space is still a mystery.
The construction site with the Evo apartment tower in the background
A 2,000-car parking garage, which was built by Brandywine Realty Trust for use by Internal Revenue Service staff housed in the former main post office at 30th and Market streets but which is underutilized by the IRS, will be combined with FMC Tower to provide parking for all the new office workers. However, the building is close to both the Amtrak/SEPTA Regional Rail and Market-Frankford Line stations at 30th Street, which should handle a sizable portion of workers coming from points further out in the city and the suburbs.
FMC considered moving to sites in both New Jersey and Delaware, but more than $10 million in Pennsylvania taxpayer money kept them in the City of Brotherly Love. FMC's current home is at 1745 Market St. in Center City. The company turned down tax breaks that would have come from the site being in a Keystone Opportunity Incentive Zone, but decided for the grants, which are paid out up front, instead.
The tower was designed by Pelli Clark Pelli and BLT Architects and is just one of at least eight 10-story-plus towers being built or already finished in University City in the last year.