Comcast's high-tech tower getting old-media upgrade: sidewalk newsstands

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Artist's rendering of news kiosks planned for sidewalk outside the Comcast Technology Center set to open this year in Center City.

Digital media giant Comcast Corp. plans to furnish the sidewalks outside its new-technology high-rise with an old-media staple: newsstands.

The company plans a pair of kiosks selling newspapers and magazines — as well as coffee, croissants and sandwiches — on Arch Street, near the northwestern and northeastern corners of the Comcast Technology Center building that is set to open later this year, according to a presentation this week to the city’s Art Commission.

The stands aim to make the streets more active near the entrance of the tower’s offices at 18th Street and near the 19th Street entryway for the Four Seasons hotel that will open on the 60-story building’s top floors, said John Gattuso, regional director for Liberty Property Trust, the project’s developer with Comcast.

Comcast hopes to display advertisements on the backs and sides of the kiosks for its consumer-technology brands and programming from its NBCUniversal studio division, Gattuso said. Liberty and Comcast are negotiating a contract with Philadelphia officials to allow the commercial operations on the publicly owned sidewalks, he said. The deal would include payments to the city.

The kiosks, each with a footprint of 16-feet-by-7.6-feet, were designed by London-based architects Foster & Partners, which also designed Comcast’s technology tower, and are being built for $1.6 million.

They will be operated by Robert Nix III, who has run news concessions at Philadelphia International Airport, Gattuso said.

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