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What's Happening in:  Hawthorne 

Blatstein to present plans for mega-project at Broad and Washington

The Hawthorne Empowerment Coalition (HEC) has announced that there will be a meeting to discuss the future of the massive vacant lot at the corner of Broad and Washington Ave. on Monday, Nov 17.

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Bart Blatstein will present his plans for the lot at Broad and Washington next week.

Back in June, we learned that Bart Blatstein sought to develop the lot into a 30-story, 1 million square-foot Piazza in the sky, complete with 800 apartments and loads of amenities. Is that still the case?

Blatstein will present his plans at the monthly HEC meeting on Nov. 17 at 7 p.m. at the Hawthorne Cultural Center at 1200 Carpenter St. Blatstein originally planned for a 400,000 square-foot low rise complex without a residential component when he first announced his intentions back in March. Then, his plans changed in a big way in June . He told the Philadelphia Business Journal that he wanted to take everything he’s done in Northern Liberties with the Piazza and pack it into this new development, adding 800 units to the already conceived retail space. He called it ”a self-contained community where you will never want to leave.” It will be interesting to see what the nearby neighbors have to say about his plans.

Here's the previous, non 30-story version

Here’s the previous, non 30-story version

To give you an idea about how large this development is, the planned party/roof deck — with 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 — is roughly the same size of the Piazza, only 30-stories above the ground.

As you probably know, Blatstein is also waiting to find out whether or not his casino proposal, The Provence on N. Broad St., will be awarded the second casino license in Philadelphia. He also recently purchased the large vacant lot at Columbus Blvd. and Reed St., which he formerly owned and was also the proposed site of the Foxwoods Casino.

We’ll keep you posted when more information becomes available.

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48 Responses to Blatstein to present plans for mega-project at Broad and Washington

  1. ProvWitout November 10, 2014 at 1:21 pm #

    These plans look spectacular. They should not give Blatstein too much grief at the meeting.

    • Chu November 11, 2014 at 4:00 pm #

      Yeah ok man. The developer is always right. Forget what the neighbors have to say.

      • acer November 12, 2014 at 8:51 am #

        generally the neighbors are idiots with no forward thinking. whatever they say needs to be taken with a grain of salt.

        • New Neighborly Person November 17, 2014 at 11:40 pm #

          acer,

          Your remarks about the neighbors here are what makes it difficult for the old blood to trust us newbies. They are not idiots. Otherwise, they would let anybody come in here and do whatever they propose without even raising the slightest question. Condescension does not serve us well here. It only makes things more difficult.

      • Judge smails November 12, 2014 at 2:46 pm #

        Dude, it’s an empty lot with trash on it. Is that what you want?

        • New Neighborly Person November 19, 2014 at 7:33 pm #

          “Dude…” Nobody said they wanted an empty lot either…

    • Sonny November 15, 2014 at 1:27 pm #

      Take a closer look at the Piazza and you’ll see a dormitory with sheets hanging in the windows, shops that can’t stay in business longer than the free rent period, shootings, robberies,urine and vomit all over the neighborhood.

  2. enneirda November 10, 2014 at 4:14 pm #

    30 stories. 1 million square feet. you’ve got to be kidding.

    • ProvWitout November 11, 2014 at 4:02 pm #

      What is wrong with reaching for the stars?

      I liked the concept of having basketball courts as one of the amenities… Is that still part of the mix?

    • sddddff November 12, 2014 at 8:13 am #

      Why would that be bad. This corner has been an eye sore for as long as I can remember. It is at a prominent corner and should reflect it. I hope one day the vacant corner at Spring Garden and Broad gets a big tower also.

  3. Steve Shapiro November 10, 2014 at 7:45 pm #

    Do it!!! South Philly can do nothing but benefit from this.

    • ProvWitout November 11, 2014 at 1:23 pm #

      Agreed

    • Jacob C. November 11, 2014 at 3:58 pm #

      I agree with Steve. I’m thinking they should make sure it can accommodate all of the out of town parking it will draw.

      Looks amazing though!

  4. fred phien November 11, 2014 at 8:16 pm #

    Yeah make sure you close yourself off from the rest of the neighborhood, no need to engage with the little folks at ground level.

    • Chu November 17, 2014 at 1:14 am #

      They think developers know everything

  5. sddddff November 12, 2014 at 8:11 am #

    The 400,000 square-foot low rise complex without a residential component is a horrible plan for this spot. It looks like a crappy mall. I love the 30 story highrise/self contained community plan.

  6. Paul November 12, 2014 at 8:35 am #

    This will not benefit the neighborhood, it will just bring in a bunch of fresh out of college rich kids who have no interest in being a part of the community in any way outside of their terms. That bakery that’s been here for 40 years? That should be an artisanal dog treat store. That bar everyone goes to? It’s too dirty, it should be a speakeasy. And how do we get rid of all these older people who keep walking past my self-contained oasis? They make me think of sad things :( I don’t like seeing an empty lot there either, but a re-creation of “The Island” may not be the best way to go.

    At least now when people are pissing in a corner during a concert it’ll be on the 30th floor, not someone else’s stoop.

    • Thesestreets November 12, 2014 at 1:33 pm #

      Which bakery will this development be displacing?

      • ChrissMari November 13, 2014 at 1:42 am #

        he was talking about what these assholes do when they get into an established community.

  7. SC November 12, 2014 at 10:38 am #

    The corner of Broad and Washington is exactly where a development like this should go. The intersection of two major streets? The southern border of an expanding Center City? A giant vacant lot that’s been an eyesore for years? Easy access to mass transit? “I don’t like young people” and “cars!” are not viable reasons to dislike this project. You know who keeps cities alive? Young people. Certain Philadelphians need to wrap their heads around the fact that if nothing ever changes, and new stuff never gets built, the city will start dying again.

  8. AnthonyG November 12, 2014 at 12:24 pm #

    If you bought a house next to a giant vacant lot, at the biggest intersection in South Philly, and did not realize that eventually it would be redeveloped on a large scale, that is on you.

    You failed to do your due diligence before investing in a home.

    BUILD, BABY, BUILD!

    • JSA November 12, 2014 at 3:40 pm #

      or you succeeded and are about to reap the rewards? gottem

    • ProvWitout November 17, 2014 at 4:54 pm #

      Build, baby, build…?

      AnthonyG has Sarah Palin level intelligence? LoL

  9. Tiny Tim November 12, 2014 at 3:35 pm #

    I live close. not across the street close, but close enough that it’s going to impact me. I’m all for big, even really big, but details matter. I’m fuzzy on the details, but I remember that there was either a main parking entrance or loading docks on carpenter st. in the original plans, which is totally nuts, especially because the school is across the street. Anyway, I might be remembering that incorrectly, but it’s the kind of detail that will matter. You can put a big project in there without totally messing with the residential neighborhood, but primary vehicle access should be on broad or washington (or both).

    • Ben W November 14, 2014 at 10:44 am #

      I agree with Tim, large or small does not necessarily have an impact on how a project affects a community, its all about how it responds architecturally to the street and surroundings. The facts are, in this case that a large project with a lot of residential units is appropriate for such a prominent intersection. On the other hand, we cant ignore the fact that the project also borders open space, and 3 story rowhomes, Where vehicular entrances are placed is critical to how it affects the neighborhood, i.e. Hawthorne doesn’t want another 777 Broad that in almost every way turns its back. My biggest concern is that making big box retail friendly at street level is an extremely difficult task, one that Blatstein and most likely, his architect have never encountered. Hopefully the conversation on Monday can help clarify how the street edge will be impacted.

  10. Woody Allen November 12, 2014 at 6:24 pm #

    man, there are some actual mongoloids in this comments section. How did you figure out the keyboard so quickly? Who say evolution is not a real thing?

    Anyone who think this “self contained village of rich newbies and priveledged cunts” will be anything but a blight in south Philly needs to be lobotomized.

    There are a million better uses for that land other than a yuppie moon colony. A playground for the actual children of south Philly, a charter school, a supermarket, a clinic, a ball field, a nuclear testing site, a pool of semen…

    Anything would be better than catering to these useless blue blooded trogs that the piazza has attracted.

    • ChrissMari November 13, 2014 at 1:40 am #

      seriously…. I love to see the lot developed and developed into something useful… not a fucking dorm for 20-30 something yuppie assholes to live out their prolonged adolescence. What will they add to the community?

      • Ian November 14, 2014 at 1:47 pm #

        They will spend money at stores that hire people and pay taxes which this city is terrible at doing. Do you understand how cities and economies and the passage of time work?

        • "Scuse me?" November 19, 2014 at 7:44 pm #

          You say they’ll spend money in stores…

          I agree

          The stores that are built INSIDE the self contained exclusive utopia the above comments refer to..

    • TomN November 14, 2014 at 3:13 pm #

      I live about 2 blocks away and I would LOVE to see this get built. It astonishes me how many backward thinking, anti-change obsessed people are in this city who would rather see the lot remain vacant than have a 30 floor tower be built. These types of developments bring in money that the city desperately needs. Without money, the said children of south Philly that you seem to care so much about won’t have the resources they need to get a proper education. There are literally 5 supermarkets within a half-mile radius from here…do we so desperately need another? The nuclear testing sites of the 1950′s are where you should be living…it fits perfectly with your 1950′s suburban-utopia mentality.

      • Sike! November 19, 2014 at 7:47 pm #

        You were making a persuasive argument. Then you thought it best to ruin it with some whacko 50′s nuclear site comment that made me think you’re a jack noodle..

  11. Mark Francis November 13, 2014 at 7:59 am #

    So okay, every corner of South Broad St. is going to be condos. Who in city planning is thinking about putting monies aside for the infrastructure? All the increased traffic this is going to cause on Broad St., just for starters. I’ll bet the belief is we will pass the cost on to the people who decide to live in these homes? It will be interesting to see the condition of the streets in 10 years.

    • AnthonyG November 14, 2014 at 9:16 am #

      Do you even know that this city used to have an additional 500,000 people living it?! And now your fearful that a 100 condos is going to cause “overcrowding”?

      • ProvWitout November 19, 2014 at 7:52 pm #

        Yeah you’re right AnthonyG! And ya know what else?!? They didn’t have any bump-out “improvements” on every corner snarling the natural flow of things! Like at that disgrace they put at 15th & Passyunk which makes it the most avoidable black in South Philly…

        Them extra 500,000 people you mention probably never said “Oh my!! That intersection is a nightmare! You actually have to look both ways and not be on facebook while you cross the street! Build us a peninsula on every corner! We need trainijg wheels for living in an urban area!”

        LMFAO

        • ProvWitout November 19, 2014 at 7:53 pm #

          16th & Passyunk***

  12. what it is called is money November 14, 2014 at 10:32 am #

    For all those who fear the future…without MONEY there is no future. Yuppies bring the green…maybe you are jealous that they have more green than you…but bring it baby. Rent now, buy homes later…spend your money in the city! The more they spend, the more taxes are raised the, god willing, better our services will be. Those who fear gentrification, get out. Sell your 23k row home for 200k and go to the burbs.
    im proud to be yuppy scum. you should be happy i live in your neighborhood, have no kids yet, sweep my sidewalks, fix my house, pay taxes and buy at your crappy corner stores and tasteless bakeries. There is no saving the schools, that is the only problem. It’s the future, either embrace it or get out the way.

  13. Ryan November 14, 2014 at 10:53 am #

    Development for that corner would be great, but it has to be done with the community in mind. They want to put basketball and tennis courts in? Cool, as long as they are publicly accessible and free. We should not be carving out such an important corner in Philly so that it can only be utilized by a privileged few trust fund babies. Of course, they’ll be the only ones that can afford to live upstairs but at least the community will get something in return. The development should flow seamlessly with the City landscape and it’s people, not stand as a fortress to keep everyone out.

    • chris November 17, 2014 at 10:27 am #

      Broad and Washington is definitely in need of development but I personally think putting a 30 story building at this intersection with a rooftop piazza isn’t the concept for the city.

      This intersection is understood to be the anchor (though underwhelming at the moment) to the Avenue of the Arts. It’s an opportunity along with the lot across the street with the historic train she to develop a new public cultural center for city.

      Most recently the lot has been used as the tent staging area for Cirque du Soliel. Along those lines, it would be great for the city to develop a permanent inner city public square/ performance venue to serve as the anchor to the Avenue of the (performing) Arts. Think along the lines of Chicago’s Millennium Park but on a smaller scale. Developing the lot across the street into a public marketplace, residences, etc. (i.e. Boston’s Faneuil Hall/ Quincy Market) could draw more activity/tourism to that area.

      Think about the community and the city as a whole. The idea of a 30 story tower with a rooftop piazza seems like it runs the risk of taking something that could become a GREAT PUBLIC SPACE for this city and turning it into a private, remote destination for an exclusive group.

  14. Dem November 14, 2014 at 11:24 am #

    Wow Another building to obscure skyline views… No problem to improve lot / area but do we really need a “30″ story building. REALLY!!!!!!
    Everyone who has a roof deck in South Philly should be concerned.

    Can we see alternatives?

    • Ian November 14, 2014 at 1:51 pm #

      Prominent city intersections SHOULD be dense. Not one story junk with surface lots like that church meeting house on broad. Yes cities build tall buildings, they expand and get denser and constantly change. Why is that a foreign concept to people that live here? This is not a town, it’s a ever evolving CITY.

    • AnthonyG November 14, 2014 at 2:08 pm #

      Tall Buildings in City Obscures Skyline!

      Is that a headline from the Onion??

      • Shrimp Louie November 17, 2014 at 5:40 pm #

        bwahahahaha! Good one!

  15. Corey Latislaw November 17, 2014 at 9:34 am #

    I’m all for progress in general, but a 30 story building is completely out of character for this area. Trading an eyesore block for an eyesore building (strip mall with condos on top) does not revitalize our neighborhood. I would want a well crafted building that either is a throw back to when builders created architectural marvels with quality materials or something like the Comcast Center that blends (somewhat) with the sky.

    I could see the surrounding home prices going either way on this one. As one commenter said, it will ruin so many views of the city and definitely discourages me from building the deck I had planned. The only nearby view from Columbus Square would be obstructed by this new building. That said, it could give us needed amenities and create more value on that block with ripple effects on both sides of Broad.

    I don’t have millennial hate as many commenters do, but something that creates a dorm/self-contained mentality is problematic at best. I want to bring in new members to the *neighborhood*, not to a self-contained community.

    Parking and and car ingress/egress are valid concerns. I also want to see amenities, such as tennis/basketball courts, open to the public.

    • ProvWitout November 19, 2014 at 7:59 pm #

      Agree

  16. chris November 17, 2014 at 10:42 am #

    Broad and Washington is definitely in need of development but I personally think putting a 30 story building at this intersection with a rooftop piazza isn’t the best concept for the city.

    This intersection is understood to be the anchor (though underwhelming at the moment) to the Avenue of the Arts. It’s an opportunity along with the lot across the street with the historic train she to develop a new public cultural center for city.

    Most recently the lot has been used as the tent staging area for Cirque du Soliel. Along those lines, it would be great for the city to develop an inner city public square/ performance venue to serve as the anchor to the Avenue of the (performing) Arts. Think along the lines of Chicago’s Millennium Park but on a smaller scale. Developing the lot across the street into a public marketplace, residences, etc. (i.e. Boston’s Faneuil Hall/ Quincy Market) would draw more to activity/tourism to that area.

    Think about the community and the city as a whole. The idea of a 30 story tower with a rooftop piazza seems like it runs the risk of taking something that could become a GREAT PUBLIC SPACE for this city and turning it into a private, remote destination for an exclusive group of people.

    • chris November 17, 2014 at 10:44 am #

      * historic train “shed” *

  17. Eric November 17, 2014 at 12:56 pm #

    Why don’t we wait and see (later today perhaps?) what the actual plans end up being before going all NIMBY and crying about the evil Blatstein ruining the character of what is now a (no offense) negligible, semi-rundown neighborhood? Do we know for a fact that neighborhood folk are shut out of the project and that the millenials will hide behind the castle walls with no real local interaction? No, we don’t, that’s simply the small-minded myopicness that so many Negadelphians love for some odd reason.

    Speaking of the dreaded millenials, sorry, as much as a large percentage of Philly neighborhood knuckle dragger-types may seem to hate them, getting college-educated young people (and their tax base) to actually stay in the city instead of moving elsewhere (as they’ve done historically) is more important than preserving Center City views for a few lucky people (such as myself, incidentally). They’re the future of the city, and they’re whom the city actually cares about, so we’d all best get used to it going forward.

    And if you really have a jones to live in a retrograde city hemorrhaging population like the Philly of your childhood memories, I hear Detroit fits the bill nicely and has plenty of homes for sale on the cheap. You can pretend it’s still 1969 forever! Find a nice place to hang your framed Frank Rizzo pic and enjoy!

  18. Steve November 17, 2014 at 1:02 pm #

    30 stories may be a bit out of scale with the surrounding area, but the retail needs to be supported by a large customer base nearby. This development will bring a lot of amenities to the community that are currently lacking, and from a planning perspective it makes sense to maximize density at major intersections of commercial streets, and for them to be very close to mass transit (the subway station is a block away) and the subway has plenty of capacity to handle increased ridership. This will help make the neighborhood safer with more eyes on the street. I welcome this development, although I wonder if the real estate market can absorb 800 units, or if they should scale back the buildings to 20 stories or so with fewer, although still a sizable number of residential units.

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