One Penn Center at Suburban Station: Home of Bond Collective Center City

By Julia Kropf

Bond Collective Center City occupies the penthouse level of One Penn Center atop the historic Suburban Station, with an expansive terrace overlooking some of the city’s most iconic landmarks, including City Hall.

A quintessential Art Deco structure with ornate elements throughout, One Penn Center tells a story that goes back to the early 20th century, and starts with the Pennsylvania Railroad. Originally in its place, the Broad Street Station (built in 1881) served as a hub for both electric trains and steam trains coming into the city. In 1930, after a fire wrecked much of the original station, Broad Street Suburban Station was constructed next door, along Pennsylvania Boulevard (now John F. Kennedy Boulevard).

Original Broad Street Station

Original Broad Street Station; Image Source

This new headquarters of the Pennsylvania Railroad was named for its purpose of serving as the arrival point for commuters coming from the Philadelphia suburbs. The original Broad Street Station was later demolished after the opening of 30th Street Station in West Philadelphia and the underground tunnel that connected the two new stations (The Inquirer). Where the Broad Street Station once stood is what now makes up the West Market Office District of Center City Philadelphia. While the underground station is still known as Suburban Station, the building later became known as One Penn Center as part of the Office District.

Suburban Station remained the headquarters for the Pennsylvania Railroad until 1957. By 1983, the South Eastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority (SEPTA) had taken control of both the Pennsylvania Railroad and Reading Railroad, the terminal for which was located at what is now the Reading Terminal Market and the Pennsylvania Convention Center. In 1984, SEPTA opened a tunnel connecting Suburban Station to the former Reading Railroad terminal (now Jefferson Station underground), meaning all three Philadelphia stations were connected as part of the SEPTA Regional Rail, which is still used today for commuters traveling to and from the Philadelphia suburbs (The Inquirer).

IMG_2520.jpeg

Suburban Station; Postcard Source: Alexandra Kelly (Bond Collective Member)

1931 Entrance.jpeg

Suburban Station Entrance 1931; Image Source

At the time of its opening, Suburban Station was an image of modernity and technological progress. The Art Deco design reflected that with its ornate, decorative geometric metal, stone, and woodwork (The Encyclopedia of Greater Philadelphia).

IMG_2557.jpeg

Beautiful Metalwork in Elevator; Image Source: Julia Kropf, Bond Collective Staff

Later in the 20th century, the building underwent a years-long renovation, during which the Art Deco style and much of the original craftsmanship were maintained. 

pasted image 0.png

One Penn Center Renovated Entrance; Image Source

unnamed (1).jpeg

One Penn Center Renovated Lobby; Image Source

As part of the renovation, two mosaic murals by Joyce Kozloff were installed in the lobby in 1985. The images in the murals represent the original Pennsylvania Railroad and Pennsylvania founder William Penn (Association for Public Art).

pasted image 0 (1).png

Lobby Mural Galla Placidia in Philadelphia by Joyce Kozloff; Image Source

pasted image 0 (2).png

Lobby Mural Topkapi Pullman by Joyce Kozloff; Image Source

One Penn Center continues as a hub of business in Center City Philadelphia with its ease of access to the city’s public transportation systems and major thoroughfares. Bond Collective opened its first location outside of New York City in One Penn Center in 2019, officially becoming part of the building’s long history as an essential part of Philadelphia’s infrastructure. 

To visit our Center City Philadelphia location at this iconic site and learn more about our office space, click here.