Mr. Quotable: Top 20 Things Bart Blatstein Said Last Night at the Salon

bart blatsteinHe was something between an inspiring commencement speaker and a Catskills comedian. Developer Bart Blatstein sat down with Philly Mag Editor-in-Chief Tom McGrath yesterday at the Barnes Museum to talk about development, casinos and other issues pertaining to the future of the city. It was a ThinkFest Salon, an event meant to keep the conversation going until the next ThinkFest in the fall.

  1. “Apathy and complacency is what kills innovation.”
  2. “The press wouldn’t give me front page news when I built the Piazza, but when that double murder happened [there], that was front-page news.”
  3. “Some developers get too full of themselves. They think every project will work just because the last one did.”
  4. “I hate the word ‘visionary.’ I like the term ‘experience.'”
  5. Re: the challenges of building in Philadelphia, “Your ideas and visions always outgrow your pocketbook.”
  6. In response to, “[Is the high cost of building in Philly] about the price of labor?”: “You’re trying to get me to say something.”
  7. “Philadelphia is a sleeper. Buy real estate here. It’s ridiculously cheap.”
  8. Best areas to invest in: the stretch between NoLibs and Temple, and Callowhill. “The push now is going to be north. Temple is a great anchor.”
  9. Re: his purchase of the McIlhenney Mansion on Rittenhouse Square: “I started out in a rowhouse and I’m ending up in a rowhouse [laughter]. Well, it is a fixer-upper.”
  10. “I have to move from the ’burbs. I’m bored sick.”
  11. “There’s a profound disconnect between institutional, entrepreneurial and political entities in the city. The lack of communication is the biggest problem we have.”
  12. “Comcast is a silent giant.”
  13. “People in this town don’t say boo. Everything is off the record, on background.”
  14. “It takes vision with clout to change the city.”
  15. “Philadelphia is like a cockroach. You can’t kill it.”
  16. “We’re going to demolish the large structures [at Ortlieb’s]. I just couldn’t figure out an adaptive reuse for them. It’s a shame. They’re cool old buildings.”
  17. Re: increasing walkability: “It’s been called the new urbanism. It’s not. It’s the old urbanism.”
  18. “Kensington South is very hot.”
  19. “University City is exploding with growth, but it’s not as walkable as it should be.”
  20. Re: what he wants his legacy to be: “That I helped move it a little bit further in the right direction.

More: Bart Blatstein Opts for “Invisible Man” Over Brand Name [Philly Post]