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Commerce Square is a Class-A, high-rise office building complex in Center City Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, United States. Commerce Square consists of One and Two Commerce Square, two identical 41-story office towers 565 feet (172 m) high that surround a paved courtyard of 30,000 square feet (2,800 m2). Architecturally, the granite-clad towers feature setbacks on the north and south sides of the building and are topped with a pair of stone diamonds with cutout squares in the center. The towers were built as part an office-building boom Philadelphia was experiencing on West Market Street in the late 1980s. Designed by IM Pei & Partners (now called Pei Cobb Freed & Partners), the towers were developed in a joint venture between Maguire Thomas Partners and IBM. IBM also leased more than half of One Commerce Square for the company's Mid-Atlantic headquarters. Construction of the first phase, which included One Commerce Square, the plaza, and retail space, began in 1985 and was completed in 1987. The project's second phase, Two Commerce Square, did not begin until a lead tenant was secured for the building in 1990. Consolidated Rail Corporation (Conrail) agreed to be Two Commerce Square's lead tenant and make the skyscraper its corporate headquarters after a two-year search for office space in the region. Two Commerce Square ended the skyscraper construction boom of the 1980s when it was completed in 1992. No other office skyscraper was built in Philadelphia until Brandywine Realty Trust (NYSE: BDN) built the Cira Centre in 2005.
In the 1990s, Commerce Square's lead tenants reduced their presence dramatically in the towers. IBM moved some of its operations out of Philadelphia in the early 1990s, and Conrail was bought by Norfolk Southern Railway and CSX Transportation later in the decade. Almost all of Conrail's operations were moved out of Philadelphia by the 2000s. Commerce Square was praised mainly for its design of two towers surrounding a plaza. Renowned Philadelphia urban plannerEdmund N. Bacon praised Commerce Square and its plaza by saying it "will prove to be one of the finest commercial projects to be built in this century". (Full article...)
Image 24Pennsylvania's population growth from 1790 to 2000 (from Pennsylvania)
Image 25The possessions of Britain (pink), France (blue), and Spain (orange) as of 1750. The French later lost their North American possessions to England after the French and Indian War, fought from 1754 to 1763 (from History of Pennsylvania)
Image 26Road and rail map of Pennsylvania (from Pennsylvania)
Image 35Bethlehem Steel in Bethlehem was one of the world's leading steel manufacturers for most of the 19th and 20th century. In 1982, however, it discontinued most of its operations, declared bankruptcy in 2001, and was dissolved in 2003. (from Pennsylvania)