press release

New Lighting of City Hall Exterior is Completed

JoAnn Loviglio
T 215.440.5546


Center City District, in partnership with the City of Philadelphia and with support from the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, relights a National Historic Landmark

PHILADELPHIA (June 26, 2024) – Center City District (CCD) today announced the completion of a project in partnership with the City to replace outdated façade lighting on City Hall’s historic exterior, first installed by CCD in 2004, with longer lasting and more energy efficient LED lighting to better highlight the landmark structure and provide new color options for holidays like the Fourth of July.

“As we welcome visitors and workers to the heart of our great city, both for next week’s festivities and for civic and cultural celebrations in the years to come, this investment highlights the setting for local government, and draws our diverse communities together,” Mayor Cherelle Parker said. “We’re grateful to partners including the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, who helped fund this initiative, and the surrounding buildings, who agreed to host the lights on their rooftops.”

New lighting fixtures have been installed on the rooftops of 10 adjacent buildings and at the base of the City Hall tower to illuminate the center and end sections on all four sides of the historic building as well as its clock tower, which can be seen from miles away. New additional downlighting will soon be installed on perimeter sidewalk poles to enhance nighttime visibility and safety for pedestrians.

Conceived and executed by Center City-based firm The Lighting Practice, which started working in 2022 with CCD in concert with the city’s Department of Public Property, the project utilizes the latest LED technology to bathe City Hall’s architectural features with white light, and also allows for programmable effects ranging from subdued seasonal palettes to colors celebrating significant holidays, sports team victories, or civic events.

The fixtures feature custom glare shields that allow for precise aiming and alignment designed to prevent light leakage on buildings that surround City Hall’s perimeter.

“Since 2004, the Center City District has partnered with the Department of Public Property to illuminate our landmark City Hall building,” said Bridget Collins-Greenwald, City of Philadelphia Department of Licenses & Inspections Director, Quality of Life. “This new lighting is a beautiful and meaningful enhancement to the building at the historic center of our city.”

To view the City Hall lighting press event, click on the image above or visit

The $6.85 million project was funded by a $2.5 million Redevelopment Assistance Capital (RACP) grant from the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, $2.35 million from the City of Philadelphia’s capital budget and $2 million from the CCD. The lighting units are located on the roofs of 10 buildings:

  • Justice Juanita Kidd Stout Center for Criminal Justice
  • Municipal Services Building
  • The Notary Hotel
  • Residence Inn Philadelphia by Marriott
  • The Wanamaker Building
  • One South Broad
  • The Ritz-Carlton Philadelphia
  • Centre Square
  • 1515 Market Street
  • 1500 John F. Kennedy Boulevard

“In addition to its important role as the seat of our municipal government, City Hall is an architectural treasure at the center of the city, visible from miles away, that deserves to be seen in all its glory,” CCD Chair Paul R. Levy said. “We’re pleased to be shedding new light on this stunning National Historic Landmark in the heart of Center City.”

Constructed in the ornate Second Empire style used for the Louvre in Paris and adorned with over 250 works of sculpture principally attributed to Alexander Milne Calder, Philadelphia’s City Hall took more than 30 years to build. Completed in 1901 on land that William Penn’s 1683 plans envisioned as the city’s Centre Square, it remains the tallest masonry-bearing building in the world.

“For nearly three decades, CCD has implemented lighting projects to enhance public safety, animate the city at night and create visual excitement,” CCD President and CEO Prema Katari Gupta said. “The new lighting greatly improves upon the previous high-intensity discharge (HID) lights that are shorter lived and less energy efficient than LEDs.”  

Founded in 1991 with a mission to keep Center City clean, safe and attractive, CCD has made lighting projects a key element of its work.

Since 1996, CCD has installed 3,000 pedestrian-scale lights throughout Center City. These 15-foot-tall lights have made downtown sidewalks markedly brighter, safer and more vibrant at night. CCD has also installed hundreds of 30-foot-tall vehicular lights to illuminate downtown roadways.

In 2002 and 2003, CCD illuminated the façades of nine major civic buildings along the Parkway including the Philadelphia Museum of Art, Free Library of Philadelphia, Cathedral Basilica of Saints Peter and Paul, Franklin Institute, and Academy of Natural Sciences of Drexel University.

During those years, CCD also illuminated 19 works of art along the Parkway including the Washington Monument (Rudolph Siemering, 1897), The Thinker (Auguste Rodin, 1929), All Wars Memorial to Colored Soldiers and Sailors (J. Otto Schweizer, 1934), Monument to Six Million Jewish Martyrs (Nathan Rapoport, 1964) and Swann Memorial Fountain (Alexander Stirling Calder, 1924).

In November 2004, CCD installed the first iteration of City Hall lighting projected from seven adjacent buildings onto select portions of the façade. In 2015, CCD installed and illuminated four pairs of monumental gates based on the unrealized original 1871 designs by architect John McArthur Jr.

In 2007, in partnership with the Philadelphia firms Vitetta and The Lighting Practice, CCD installed lighting on a dozen building façades along South Broad Street. The programmable color LEDs have been used to celebrate sports championships and holidays and were even illuminated in blue – along with many historic buildings in Center City’s skyline – to honor health care workers in 2020.

Over the years, CCD also has done many short-term illuminations of City Hall’s façade.


Center City District, a private-sector organization dedicated to making Center City Philadelphia clean, safe and attractive, is committed to maintaining Center City’s competitive edge as a regional employment center, a quality place to live, and a premier regional destination for dining, shopping and cultural attractions Through public space management, streetscape improvements, and economic development initiatives, CCD plays a pivotal role in shaping the urban experience for residents, businesses, and visitors.