An item in today’s Center City Residents Association email newsletter says demolition will start soon on the double-parcel McIlhenny Mansion at the southwest corner of Rittenhouse Square, now owned by developer Bart Blatstein. And there will be some changes:
When the dust has settled, the one story curved brick façade and dome at 1916 erected in 1957 will be gone. The planned replacement is a four story 47 foot high addition. The addition’s roofline will match that of the mansion’s other property, 1914 Rittenhouse Square, erected in 1859 with three stories capped by a one story mansard roof with dormer windows. The façade of 1914 is to remain unchanged. The mansion’s back entrance on Manning Street currently consists of a single story structure, a garage with a double width door adjacent to a servant’s entrance. The plans call for a two story structure on the western end with bedrooms atop two oversize garage entrances. On the eastern side, the addition will rise a third story above Manning Street.
Below, the plans included in CCRA’s email.
Plans via Center City Residents Association
Last week the Philadelphia Historical Commission considered building changes requested by developer Bart Blatstein, who bought Rittenhouse Square’s long vacant McIlhenny Mansion in April as a personal residence. According to PlanPhilly, “the Blatstein case was considered from two vantages:”
whether the changes he was requesting were merely “alterations” or if they constituted “demolition” of historic fabric; and whether the design of the new building is compatible with the overall historic district.
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Tylenol heir Henry McNeil has been busy. He recently sold 1914-15 Rittenhouse Square (colloquially known as the McIlhenney mansion) to Bart Blatstein for the developer’s use as a private residence. McNeil’s own home was recently featured in a Wall Street Journal article about historic Philadelphia homes that have modern interiors. That home, a phenomenal 13,000-square-foot residence at 19th and Delancey. For enthusiasts of modern design, it is without compare in the Rittenhouse Square area.
1901 is being sold with a companion property that will sound familiar to those who follow building histories in Philadelphia: 1921 Manning. The duplex (with two parking spaces) used to be part of the McIlhenney Mansion parcel and is directly adjacent to it.
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Hank McNeil, who just sold Rittenhouse Square’s legendary McIlhenney Mansion to Bart Blatstein, is suddenly having a serious 15 minutes of fame. After a flurry of press about the mansion, McNeil gets highlighted in the Wall Street Journal for a piece about the mansion he actually lives in. The 13,000-square-foot residence at 19th and Delancey represents a new design trend: preserving a historic facade but transforming the interior into a contemporary design showcase. “Faced with strict codes and steep construction costs,” says the Journal, “more homeowners are installing modern interiors in old homes.”
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