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17 Anniversary
2003
17
2020

FMC Tower and Cira Green

Posted on Tuesday, September 4, 2018

A 1.25 acre park, an urban green oasis, 100 feet above the street, free and open to the public

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A view of Cira Centre South which included (from left to right) FMC Tower, Cira Green and evo Philly

The History

The Construction of FMC Tower and Cira Green are some of the integral pieces of a redevelopment plan that has been decades in the making. Although just across the Schuylkill River from Center City, the Eastern most tip of West Philadelphia was a largely barren area due to the freeway infrastructure in the area.  What had once been green banks, sloping down to the river became the Schuylkill Expressway and a large number of railroad tracks feeding into the bustling 30th Street Station. All that transportation activity bustled below, while at the street level, elevated sidewalks allowed pedestrians to traverse from the busy campuses of University of Pennsylvania (Penn) and Drexel University, across the Schuylkill River and into Center City. 

Dating all the way back to the 1960s, there were plans to try and do something with the large swathes of unused land that sat between railroad tracks and highways, sunken 20 plus feet below street level. Many large venues and buildings including the former Veterans Stadium to the Pennsylvania Convention Center were proposed to be built on the land, but in the end, the challenges of building around all of those railroad tracks proved too costly of a challenge and the land remained undeveloped. 

But then in early 2002, Amtrak, the owner of the vacant land between the train tracks finally settled on a development plan. A series of skyscrapers was to be built on the land that would mix office, retail, residential, and even educational uses for the nearby universities. In 2005, the first tower, the Cira Centre was completed.  Designed by Cesar Pelli, the distinctive skyscraper, shaped almost like a shard of crystal, became the tallest building in West Philadelphia.

Then in early 2013, work began on the next two buildings of the complex, evo Philly, a residential high rise aimed at nearby students and FMC Tower, the headquarters of the FMC Corporation, as well as luxury residences and a hotel, AKA Rittenhouse. In between the two high-rises is Cira Green, an elevated park built on the roof of a parking garage, and it offers breathtaking views of Center City and West Philadelphia.

Cira Green

What to See

FMC Tower is the 7th tallest building in Philadelphia, and it is the tallest in West Philadelphia standing at 736 feet tall. Designed by Pelli Clarke Pelli Architects, it is designed to look similar in style to the original Cira Centre, though it much taller and less angular. Part of the building is used by AKA University City, an extended stay hotel that could be an ideal option if you are planning an extra-long trip to Philadelphia. Also inside FMC is the Walnut Street Cafe, a restaurant serving breakfast, brunch, lunch and dinner, run by a Michelin rated team of chefs. 

For most tourists though, the draw to the Cira South Complex will be Cira Green. Cira Green is situated on top of the parking garage that sits between FMC Tower and evo Philly.  The park sits 95 feet above street level and is sloped down to face the Schuylkill River and Center City. The views of the skyline are among the best in the entire city and the park itself offers a peaceful oasis above the street grid.  Programed events such as Yoga Classes and Beer Gardens also use the space at Cira Green occasionally, taking full advantageous of the unique setting.

Cira Green

Insider Info

Cira Green is also available to rent for private events and parties.  Nearly 100 feet in the air, wedged between two modern skyscrapers, with amazing views of the Schuylkill and the city skyline makes for a truly one of a kind back drop for a special event, such as a wedding.  For information on booking a private event, you can email Cira Green by clicking here.

How to Get There

For guests of The Constitutional Walking Tour, Cira Green is a bit of lengthy, but manageable walk. Starting from the National Constitution Center, where all of our tours begin and end, just head south towards Independence Hall and then make a right on Chestnut Street, Cira South is roughly 2 miles away right on Chestnut Street.  Alternatively, guests can take the Market Frankford Subway.  The closest stop to the National Constitution Center is just a block away at 5th and Market Streets and then you can disembark at 30th Street Station, just a block north of Cira Green.  If you plan on driving, parking is a breeze, because keep in mind, Cira Green actually sits on top of a parking garage.

To actually get to Cira Green, enter the parking garage via the entrance on 30th Street.  The elevator and stairwell to the top is marked by a sign for Cira Green right on the street, making it quite easy to find.

The Incredible View from Cira Green

Hours

Summer Months:
Daily: 6AM-10PM

Remainder of the Year:
Daily: 7AM-8PM

Additional Information

Cira Green
129 S. 30th Street
Philadelphia, PA 19104

View from the top of Cira Green

 

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