Ballard Spahr’s real estate team played a leading role in laying the groundwork for the Comcast Innovation & Technology Center, the largest private development in the history of Pennsylvania. Scheduled to open in early 2018, the $1.2 billion 59-story skyscraper, which is adjacent to Comcast’s global headquarters in Philadelphia, is expected to be the tallest building in the United States outside of New York and Chicago.
The Ballard Spahr team, led by partner Alan S. Ritterband, represented Comcast in both the joint venture agreement with Liberty Property Trust and in the long-term lease of the building, which presented unique challenges.
“Comcast is an 80 percent owner and the major tenant. Since we were representing them on both sides, we always had to be mindful of which hat we were wearing,” Mr. Ritterband said. Anchor tenants in the 1.33 million-square-foot tower will be Comcast and its key affiliates, NBC10/WCAU and Telemundo 62/WWSI. The building also will be home to a 200-plus-room Four Seasons Hotel and a restaurant. Designed by world-renowned British architect Lord Norman Foster of Foster + Partners, the building will seek LEED Platinum certification. It also will have direct access to SEPTA’s Suburban Station, bringing added convenience to tenants and visitors.
The project’s economic impact is impressive. During the construction phase alone, the Comcast Innovation & Technology Center will generate $2.75 billion in economic activity within the Commonwealth and create more than 20,000 temporary jobs. The estimated direct and indirect ongoing impact of the Center will create nearly 4,000 permanent jobs in the Commonwealth and 2,800 permanent jobs in the City. The project also will produce an estimated $30.7 million in annual Commonwealth tax revenues and an estimated $21.5 million in annual City tax revenues.
Said Ballard Spahr Real Estate Department Chair Bart I. Mellits when the transaction was announced, “The project will make an extraordinary mark, both in generating economic development and in promoting the urban experience in Philadelphia. It will generate thousands of permanent jobs and make the City a more vibrant place to live and work. We are proud to have been part of it.”