We’ve heard from multiple sources that developer Bart Blatstein is trying to finance the purchase of the Marketplace Design Center, best known as the sprawling interior design center at 24th and Market that has 40 showrooms in more than 350,000 square feet. In actuality, the property for sale also includes an attached six-story building on 23rd Street, whose tenants include the Philadelphia Housing Authority’s Human Resources office and the nonprofit MANNA.
In total, the buildings represent more than 470,000 square feet of space. Reports of the price tag have ranged from $40 to $50 million.
Showroom residents of the Marketplace have been understandably nervous about the future since the Marketplace went on the market a few months ago. The best-case scenario for them would be a new owner who’d want to use it as a source of income, in which case the showroom tenants and the top-floor restaurant Bistro St. Tropez could remain.
But that’s just not Blatstein’s style. He may have other things in mind–perhaps even new construction on top of the four-story building. What would it be? Given Drexel’s recent development frenzy, we wouldn’t be at all surprised if Blatstein was planning student housing here, a model with which he’s familiar. Some ground-floor retail could round things out. (Hidden City reports that Blatstein would keep the design center.)
Jim Galbally with Jones Lang LaSalle is marketing the building. As of press time, he has not returned a call for comment, nor has the Marketplace’s Diane Green or Blatstein himself.
UPDATE 9PM: Sources have now confirmed that Bart Blatstein has been chosen in the bidding process for the Marketplace Design Center and is finalizing the contract now.