The legacy of one of Philadelphia's most prominent and controversial developers will ultimately be determined by what happens in Northern Liberties.
Broad and Cecil B. Moore
"This will be the single biggest development in the history of North Philadelphia," Blatstein told a crowd recently at the Union League. Picked by the Redevelopment Authority of Philadelphia, Blatstein is set to construct what he calls the "gateway to North Philadelphia" at the corner of Broad and Cecil B. Moore: an apartment complex with 800 beds for students, a six-screen movie theater and 60,000 square feet of retail.
What Blatstein's planning for this hurting former steel town in nearby Chester County is akin to restoring Michael Jackson's face--a whopping 750 apartments, 550,000 square feet of retail and commercial space, and 40,000 square feet of "entertainment facilities" over 10 to 15 years.
This site isn't Blatstein's--yet. He's one of two developers still in the running after a lengthy proposal process. The decision lies with Mayor Street, and could come next week or two years from now. Blatstein proposed a $258 million project spread over 14 acres that includes retail, entertainment, parking, residential buildings, a river tram and a concert venue. Blatstein, like the man who would be king, says developing Penn's Landing would be like "pulling the sword from the stone." (S.V.)
PW's Music Issue 2014