Thursday, July 24, 2014
Inquirer Daily News

Blatstein moving downtown; will expand Piazza (Update)

Bart buys Rittenhouse mansion

Blatstein moving downtown; will expand Piazza (Update)

Developer Bart Blatstein has bought, for $4.2 million, the McIlhenny mansion on Rittenhouse Square, from drug heir Hank McNeil, he confirms. Bradley Maule wrote it up earlier here at hiddencityphila.org.

Bart tells me he plans to fix it up and live there with his wife, Jule. I reminded Bart he was saying just last year that he had no plans to move downtown; despite all the years he spent building movie theaters and stores down in South Philly, up at Temple, and eventually all manner of apartments and restaurants and shops at the old Schmidt's Brewery site (now Piazza) in Northern Liberties, he told me then that his family preferred the suburbs, the house where his kids grew up.

"The house they grew up in they are attached to. As we all are," Blatstein agreed. But the kids long ago moved out and are on to their own careers. So "it's time. I like the challenge of something difficult. This presented itself. Jule didn't push me. She's a very easy-going laid-back girl. It was me, thinking, Which neighborhood do I want to be in? What's a good location for us? This is a real neighborhood for us. I'm looking forward to moving back in the city." 

Also since last fall, Blatstein has gone into the casino proposal business, and sold part of the Piazza site to New York developer Jared Kushner. 

What about the build-out of the two additional apartment buildings planned at Piazza? I asked? "I still own that land," along with the building where his Tower Investments offices are located, Blatstein said. at the Piazza. When will he build more? "I'm looking at it now. The market here is very hot. This neighborhood is on fire. Even across Girard Ave north, everything's being sold." 

Joseph N. DiStefano
About this blog

PhillyDeals posts raw drafts and updates of Joseph N. DiStefano's columns and stories about Philly-area finance, investment, commercial real estate, tech, hiring and public spending, which he's been writing since 1989, mostly for the Philadelphia Inquirer.

DiStefano studied economics, history and a little engineering at Penn, taught writing at St. Joe's, and has written the book Comcasted, more than a thousand columns, and thousands of articles, and raised six children with his wife, who is a saint.

Reach Joseph N. at JoeD@phillynews.com or 215 854 5194.

Joseph N. DiStefano
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