The vacant lot on the northeast corner of Broad and Washington. | Photo via Google Street View.
Developer Bart Blatstein agreed to pay $18 million for a vacant lot at the corner of Broad & Washington under a contract with the property’s owner that’s now in question, according to a report in the Inquirer this morning.
Blatstein and representatives of N/H Philadelphia Properties, a New York-based real estate investment firm that owns the lot, met in court on Tuesday. The owner is seeking to send Blatstein on his way empty-handed, claiming that the agreement of sale expired on May 15. Blatstein, who got approval from the Zoning Board of Adjustment to build a 32-story apartment tower and rooftop retail village on the site Tuesday, still believes he’ll be able to build his project.
$18 million for a vacant lot, y’all. Though the property is assessed at $5.2 million, the owners say they’ve already received offers that exceed $18 million from other parties. Blatstein’s lawyers said that the owners are trying to cut off Blatstein while exploiting the process he went through to get additional zoning approvals on the property, according to the Inquirer.
The west elevation of the revised Blatstein mixed-use project. Rendering | Cope Linder Architects
The Zoning Board of Adjustment voted 5-0 to approve developer Bart Blatstein’s proposed apartment tower and rooftop retail village at Broad & Washington in South Philly on Tuesday morning, according to Ron Patterson, Blatstein’s attorney.
The board had previously voted to grant exceptions for the project, then vacated its vote. On Monday, a lawyer for the property’s current owner, N/H Philadelphia Properties, asked the board to delay its vote again, saying Blatstein didn’t have the right to pursue zoning approvals for the property because an agreement of sale had expired. Read more »
The vacant lot on northeast corner of Broad and Washington | Photo via Google Street View
A lawyer for N/H Philadelphia Properties, the New York real estate company that owns the long-vacant lot at the corner of Broad Street and Washington Avenue in South Philly’s Hawthorne section, has sent a letter to the Zoning Board of Adjustment saying that developer Bart Blatstein has no legal right to the property and asking the board to hold its decision on the zoning approvals Blatstein is seeking for 30 more days.
For two years, Blatstein’s development company, Tower Investments, has been pursuing a project at the corner involving a 32-story apartment tower and a rooftop retail village. The zoning board heard his application for special exceptions last month, but opted to hold its decision for two weeks. It later voted to approve the project, then decided to vacate that vote because two weeks hadn’t passed. At a meeting last week, when the board was scheduled to take its final vote, two board members were absent and no vote took place. Read more »
This lot at the northwest corner of Broad and Washington will remain empty at least one week longer than it otherwise might have because of the need to observe protocol. | Image via Google Street View
Since we’re sure many of you following the saga of 1001 South Broad, Bart Blatstein’s megaproject at the northeast corner of Broad Street and Washington Avenue, are still scratching your heads wondering how it was that the Zoning Board of Adjustment voted on Blatstein’s request for special exceptions, then undid its action, we have an explanation for you courtesy of Department of Licenses and Inspections press spokesperson Karen Guss.
It seems that the vote-unvote was a byproduct of an admirable effort on the part of the ZBA to get the flow of appeals moving more expeditiously. Read more »
The west elevation of the revised Blatstein mixed-use project. Rendering | Cope Linder Architects
On Wednesday, the Zoning Board of Adjustment voted to approve developer Bart Blatstein’s plans for a 32-story apartment tower and rooftop retail village on a vacant lot at Broad and Washington in South Philly. Then, later, it realized it had jumped the gun by voting just one week after the zoning hearing, at which time it had said it would hold its decision for two weeks. So it vacated its vote and will presumably vote to approve the project next week.
But on Thursday, Councilman Kenyatta Johnson—who opposed the project when it went to the zoning board—introduced a bill that would put a one-year moratorium on construction of any kind on that property. Read more »
The revised design for Bart Blatstein’s Broad and Washington development, which received the special exceptions he sought from the ZBA today. Rendering | Cope Linder Architects
After saying it would need two weeks to mull over everything developer Bart Blatstein presented at its April 26th meeting, the Zoning Board of Adjustment Wednesday voted to grant the two special exceptions Blatstein sought for his mixed-use residential/retail/office development at the northeast corner of Broad Street and Washington Avenue. Then, later in the same meeting, the board reportedly decided that it should wait until it said it would vote and vacated its earlier decision.
A Philadelphia Inquirer news report stated that board chairman Jim Moylan could not be reached for comment on why the board went ahead and voted a week before it said it would. A source who remained until the end of the meeting to hear another case later reported that shortly before that last case, the board members recused themselves, then came back and announced that they had to vacate the earlier vote because their earlier vote to continue Blatstein’s case for two weeks had to stand. Read more »
So far, no one’s been happy with Bart Blatstein’s 1001 South Broad proposal. The developer gave the ZBA so much material that it wants two weeks to mull it all over. | Rendering: Cope Linder Architects
Bart Blatstein will have to wait two more weeks to find out whether he has permission to pursue his vision for a rooftop retail village and 32-story apartment tower with garage parking for 600 cars on a long-vacant lot at Broad Street and Washington Avenue, at the southwest corner of Hawthorne. The zoning board opted to hold a decision on the project while it considers the “excessive information” presented at a hearing on Wednesday afternoon.
Blatstein is seeking two special exceptions from the zoning code to build 1,000 apartments and 625 parking spaces on the lot. At the hearing, community members objected to the project over a host of concerns, while zoning board chairman Jim Moylan tried to limit their comments to the two issues before the board: the above-ground parking garage and the retail uses on the roof deck. Steve Cobb, a lawyer in Councilman Kenyatta Johnson’s office, also testified that Johnson is opposed to the project in its current form. Read more »
The Civic Design Review panel was as critical of Bart Blatstein’s revised proposal as its neighbors have been of the original. Perhaps he should go back to the drawing board? | Rendering: Cope Linder Architects
Residents of Northern Liberties can recount the long, drawn-out process that transformed what might have been a strip mall into Bart Blatstein’s most highly praised development, The Piazza at Schmidt’s.
Blatstein might want to consider pursuing that same involved path now if he is serious about creating a truly transformative project at Broad Street and Washington Avenue, for it’s clear that no one is really satisfied with what he is now proposing.
The latest group to register its discontent is the Civic Design Review committee, which took up Blatstein’s slightly revised proposal for 1001 South Broad yesterday. A story in The Philadelphia Inquirer captured that group’s general sentiment in the words of its chair, Nancy Rogo Trainer: “If this is the best you can do to improve this scheme, in my mind I’d go back to the drawing board.” Read more »
Will an open stairway lure visitors to the rooftop shopping village at 1001 South Broad any more than an enclosed one would? Rendering | Cope Linder Architects
No sooner had we reported that it was “back to the drawing board” for Bart Blatstein’s proposed mixed-use development at 1001 South Broad Street in Hawthorne than drawings came back from the drawing board.
The revised design from Cope Linder Architects that he will submit for a second round before the Civic Design Review Panel on April 5 looks exactly like the one that left the panel somewhat skeptical about its pedestrian enticements when he appeared before the panel on March 2—with one big exception and one less noticeable change. Read more »
The Lincoln Square proposal (left) is just starting down the path towards realization, while Tower Investments’ proposal across Broad Street (right) will be revised yet again. | Renderings: Lincoln Square, © BLT Architects, courtesy MIS Capital LLC; Blatstein, Cope Linder Architects
With the announcement last week that Alterra Property Group had signed on to develop the mostly empty lot at the northwest corner of Broad and Washington, complete with renderings of a mixed-use project to be dubbed “Lincoln Square,” both sides of the most prominent underdeveloped intersection on Broad Street are now in play. Bart Blatstein‘s Tower Investments, of course, has big — and controversial — plans for the northeast corner of the intersection.
The two projects are similar in concept but different in form, and their receptions thus far reflect the differences. Residents of Graduate Hospital have so far given Lincoln Square a warm reception, according to news reports, while those living in Hawthorne still want Bart Blatstein to give his proposal a big haircut.
Up until now, though, there’s not been a single spot where you can turn to for a complete rundown of the two projects’ merits, demerits and progress. With the table below, we’ve fixed that problem for you. Read more »