The Daily Pennsylvanian is a student-run nonprofit.

Please support us by disabling your ad blocker on our site.


Penn has been involved with the Cira Centre South project since its inception.

Credit: Sam Holland , HOLLAND

The developers of University CIty’s new FMC Tower are keen on setting the tone for the future of real estate development in University City.

With luxury suites and elevated green spaces, the FMC tower near Walnut and 30th streets is a part of a three-building project called Cira Centre South, which features an elevated urban green space called the Cira Green and the neighboring Evo skyscraper. FMC is the specialty chemical company who will be an anchoring tenant in the tower. The tower’s developer, Brandywine Realty Trust, calls the Cira Centre South project, “Philadelphia’s first vertical neighborhood” on its website.

According to Penn Facilities and Real Estate Services, “the FMC Tower will serve as a dramatic model of pioneering urban development in Philadelphia.”

Builders broke ground on the FMC Tower in May 2014, and the project is fast approaching completion. Standing at 730 feet tall, the tower is the sixth tallest building in Philadelphia. Upon completion, it will feature a combination of office, retail and residential space vertically stacked like a neighborhood. The top 19 floors will house 268 luxury apartments and extended-stay suites, while the bottom floors will feature office and retail space. Along with the FMC Corporation, the University of Pennsylvania will be a main tenant.

Penn has been involved with not only the FMC Tower, but alsothe entire Cira Centre South project since its inception. According to FRES, the University is a “longstanding partner” in Cira Centre South’s development and owns the ground upon which the FMC Tower sits.

Penn signed a 20-year lease in the FMC Tower and will occupy approximately 100,000 square feet of office space. According to FRES Director of Portfolio Management Laura Park Smith, the University has relocated four departments from various locations around campus into the FMC building, including the Office of Investments, Development and Alumni Relations, the Office of General Counsel and the Office of Risk Management. FRES managed the design, furniture specification and construction process for these spaces, Smith added.

According to Philly Voice staff writer Michael Tanenbaum, the FMC Tower mirrors the type of building styles University City will see in the future.

“The University City innovation district, expected to unfold in several phases over the next 20 years, will eventually include several new skyscrapers in the vicinity,” Tanenbaum wrote in a Philly Voice article.

According to Brandywine Realty Trust’s website for Cira Centre South, this vertical neighborhood continues “the Renaissance of Philadelphia” and functions as an “active embrace of today’s live, work, play social dynamic.”

“The architectural elements of the FMC Tower at Cira Centre South forever change the skyline of the city, dramatically presenting the building as the gateway to University City,” according to the website.

Brandywine Realty Trust’s website and FRES also highlighted the tower’s sustainability, citing its “sustainable LEED Silver certified design.”

In the long term, the FMC Tower figures into a more massive $3.5 billion Schuylkill Yards project planned in a partnership between Drexel University and Brandywine Realty Trust, according to Tanenbaum’s article.

The developers hinted that with the completion of the entire Cira Centre South project their influence will extend beyond University City to the greater Philadelphia area. Cira Center South is “shifting Philadelphia’s center of gravity” west, according to the project’s website.

Correction: Due to an editing error, this article previously stated that FMC stands for Food Machinery Corporation, but this reference has been removed since the name has been changed to simply FMC Corporation after diversifying to other industries. The DP regrets the error.