Liberty Place is a skyscraper complex in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, United States. Prior to the construction of Liberty Place, there was an agreement not to build any structure in Center City higher than the statue of William Penn on top of Philadelphia City Hall. The tradition lasted until 1984 when developer Willard G. Rouse III of Rouse & Associates announced plans to build a building complex that included two towers taller than City Hall. Despite the opposition, construction of One Liberty Place was approved, when One Liberty Place was completed, it was the tallest skyscraper in Philadelphia. Phase 2 of the project included Two Liberty Place, a hotel, a mall. Construction began 1988 after Cigna agreed to lease the entirety of the skyscraper, construction was completed in 1990, making Two Liberty Place the second-tallest building in the city. The two towers held their place as first and second tallest buildings in Philadelphia until the Comcast Center was topped off in 2007, Liberty Place was designed by architect Helmut Jahn and his firm Murphy/Jahn. The steel and blue glass skyscrapers were heavily influenced by New York Citys Chrysler Building, the major influence is the spire made of gabled angular setbacks. Two Liberty Places spire is shorter and squatter, a design influenced by the needs of tenant Cigna, in the 2000s Cigna reduced its presence in the tower, which led to the owners converting the upper floors into 122 luxury condominiums. Below the two towers is the 289 room Westin hotel and the 143,000 square feet Shops at Liberty Place, the main feature of the mall is a round atrium topped by a large glass dome. In Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, there was an agreement not to build any structure in Center City higher than the statue of William Penn on top of Philadelphia City Hall. The tradition lasted until the 1980s when developer Willard G. Rouse III of Rouse & Associates announced plans to build a building complex that included two towers taller than City Hall. Prior to any development plans, Rouse wanted to acquire real estate in Philadelphia and he eyed a block in Center City occupied by parking lots. The Oliver Tyrone Pulver Corp. also eyed the land for development, under the rules agreed upon, the highest bidder would get the option to buy the others property. Rouse won the auction in 1983 for an undisclosed amount, rumors and local lore speculate Rouse spent so much money buying the land that he had to build something that justified the expense. Opposition to the project had begun before the April 5 official announcement at a Planning Commission meeting, the meeting was attended by 300 people and a number of attendees were opposed or skeptical of the idea that the skyscrapers would be taller than City Hall. Critics feared breaking the agreement would lead to the development of more tall skyscrapers that would end up dwarfing City Hall. Critic of the plan and former Philadelphia city planner Edmund Bacon said, Once smashed, the location of City Hall was intended as the citys center from the citys founding and critics feared taller buildings would move the citys center away from City Hall
One and Two Liberty Place
One Liberty Place (back) looms over City Hall (front).