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Blatstein aims higher — 30 stories higher — for Broad and Washington

Developer Bart Blatstein’s plan for Broad and Washington has gotten much bigger, and now he wants to build a sort of vertical Piazza in the sky.

The Philadelphia Business Journal reports that Blatstein intends to keep the mix of retail and amenities he started leasing in March, but he now wants to add a 30-story apartment tower with 800 units. All told, the development would be nearly 1 million square feet, instead of the 400,000 square foot retail he previously proposed.

Broad and washington

Says the PBJ:

A rough sketch that Blatstein made of his plan detailed all the services he wants to put into the project: a dog park, a pool, a running park, a private garden, fire pits, grilling areas, outdoor movies, and tennis courts that convert into volleyball pits. All of the outdoor activities would take place on the roof in an area roughly the same size as the Piazza. Aside from retail and restaurants, the interior would offer a game and a gaming room, a rock wall, basketball court, tech and bicycle shop, doggy day care and then some.

Here’s the previous lowrise plan:

From the leasing brochure in March

From the leasing brochure in March

The PBJ notes that this project would also be easier to put together than the Piazza, which took 15 years of assembling 100 lots, some through eminent domain: 

“This is not your standard building,” said Blatstein, who runs Tower Investments Inc. “I want to take everything I’ve done in Northern Liberties that is spread over several blocks and put it in one place. It’s a self-contained community where you will never want to leave. Every amenity known to mankind is here. For those of us with [attention deficit disorder], this will be the perfect place.”

Now he just needs to get neighborhood approval.

Check out the full story here. It’s worth a read.

But wait, what about the Philadelphia Arts Market that was supposed to go there temporarily? The driving force behind that effort, Elisabeth Garson, says she’s in a holding pattern and that her lawyer and the city are now negotiating with Hudson Capital. That means it still could happen this year.

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17 Responses to Blatstein aims higher — 30 stories higher — for Broad and Washington

  1. c.g. June 19, 2014 at 10:07 am #

    Yeah, a THIRTY story building won’t look odd in that area at all.

    ” It’s a self-contained community where you will never want to leave. Every amenity known to mankind is here. For those of us with [attention deficit disorder], this will be the perfect place.”

    Nice…but how does that help or add to the neighborhood if the people there “never want to leave”?

    • Jim June 19, 2014 at 10:27 am #

      It does nothing to help the neighborhood. Arts market would be great. Vacant lot might be preferable to this Blatstein disaster.

    • R Young July 1, 2014 at 2:10 pm #

      A movie theater and supermarket sound pretty good. Just because the inmates… I mean residents won’t want to leave doesn’t mean that folks from the neighborhood won’t be able to come in.

  2. Tiny Tim June 19, 2014 at 10:47 am #

    More details needed, but the residential component is a tremendous improvement over the previous idea.

  3. David June 19, 2014 at 11:05 am #

    I’m so glad the evil mega-developers are looking out for the thousands of discomforted Philadelphians suffering from ADD. Once everyone lives in an overpriced OCF or Blatstein dwelling we can all have finally have peace of mind and enjoy a cocktail at one of Stephen Starr’s many restaurants.

  4. AnthonyG June 19, 2014 at 11:53 am #

    Go Bart!!! The biggest intersection in South Philly needs a big building, not a vacant lot. Ignore the NIMBYs.

    • ProvWitout June 22, 2014 at 11:40 pm #

      “Ignore the NIMBY’S” is as ill conceived a philosophy as “shoebies go home” is at the shore points.. But I’m wasting energy typing about it… Because unfortunately, as the shore points learned its lessons int he 90′s, its a lesson only learned the hard way…

      • ProvWitout June 22, 2014 at 11:42 pm #

        But I do like the basketball court idea… If it is done right..

  5. dave June 19, 2014 at 12:36 pm #

    this would dramatically change the landscape of south philly for the positive. this trash-strewn weed lot has got to go. this would bring in jobs, retail, restaurants, people with money. I hope this gets passed soon. I walk by this eyesore every day and it has to go

  6. cg June 19, 2014 at 1:54 pm #

    Of course there’d be naysayers. This is great news, a great way of converting that godforsaken lot. This will really help to connect the northern end of S. Philly to the southward creep of Center City. Why would anyone be against this? This development will only attract more young professionals to the city (and S.Philly), which increases the tax base. If it happens to drive up rent or property taxes, so be it, and I say this as a property owner in E. Passyunk. Why do people feel entitled to live somewhere they can’t afford? Blatstein is doing great things for Philly, if we want to be a world class city then we need development like this.

  7. ProvWitout June 19, 2014 at 4:03 pm #

    A basketball court? Nice! I hope its not a tiny little court with double rims, and a high school three point line… I hope they at least have collegiate dimensions…

  8. Mary Sweeten June 19, 2014 at 9:09 pm #

    How about a FOOD CO-OP?

    • Reality Checker July 1, 2014 at 9:52 am #

      How about fuck a food co-op? How about this is a great proposal that is a game changer for the neighborhood. We need real businesses that make real money, and real people that spend money.

  9. PatioPhilly June 20, 2014 at 3:11 pm #

    Bring it!

  10. Brian M. June 22, 2014 at 9:07 pm #

    This proposal is a massive improvement from the prior one. Even if the final product is half as audacious as that sketch, South Philly’s in for a game changer.

    Now hopefully he doesn’t piggyback Carl and his affinity for stucco towers too closely.

  11. Rich Garella July 3, 2014 at 12:28 am #

    “It’s a self-contained community where you will never want to leave.” Never has it been more clear that Blatstein is not talking to me, or to anyone who is in and of the actual neighborhood. It’s not that I’dnever want to leave, it’s that I’d never want to go in, just like the Piazza, another faux-public space. With any luck the pampered post-collegiate popped-collar party people that he envisions will indeed never want to leave their climate-controlled luxury Habitrail®. That will be fine with me. Too bad it would deprive the rest of us of a prime space that could have been part of the city, but at least it won’t take any longer to walk past than it does now.

  12. E.S. July 3, 2014 at 11:20 am #

    I am a homeowner in the EPX district. I agree that development of the lot is badly needed, and that a mix of retail and residential is good, but we need to be careful that the developer doesn’t create an oversupply.

    We don’t want too many residential units and not enough buyers (look at the Murano at 21st and Market). We also don’t want so many buyers here that sales of existing row homes in East Passyunk and Point Breeze plummet (look at how the Piazza impacted the surrounding neighborhood). Too many buyers in this development will slow the incredible growth that these two neighborhoods are experiencing. People living in and fixing-up row homes are bringing life back into the community on the street level. It’s hard to do that from 30 stories up, no matter how hard you try. Lastly, what would it do to the growth of the existing East Passyunk commercial district? I would love to see the remaining vacant storefronts opened up before a large number of new ones are built.

    I’m not saying scrap the project – I’m saying let’s make our voices heard at the zoning meeting (when it’s scheduled) and make sure that the developer designs the project with a scale appropriate to the neighborhood. Remember that he wants to make money first and foremost- it’s up to us to reign him in.

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