A local developer has big plans for the northeast corner of Broad Street and Washington Avenue in South Philadelphia. Bart Blatstein is seeking approval from the city’s Planning Commission to build a major mixed-use development on a vacant 4-acre block that could bring nearly 1,000 apartments and an 80-room hotel to the city.
Plans call for the construction of a 34-story, 944-unit luxury apartment tower (with 80 hotel rooms on floors two through nine), 11 ground-floor retail stores, 882 parking spots and 357 bike parking spaces, at the corner of South Broad Street and Washington Avenue.
The 371-foot-high building will need zoning variances for roof decks for non-residential use and a parking garage.
The L-shaped development will also comprise a smaller residential building with approximately 60 units and additional commercial/retail and dining establishments on its fourth-level rooftop, dubbed the ‘Village.’
The Village is set to include outdoor gathering spaces and more intimate exterior pathways lined with small retail boutiques and both formal and casual dining establishments, reminiscent of a French village in Provence.
Overlooking the pedestrian streets, this surface will also feature two stories of quaint but luxurious walk-up apartments totaling approximately 100-120 units.
The site of the project, viewed as a gateway intersection between South Philadelphia and Center City, is bounded by South Broad Street to the west, Washington Avenue to the south, N. 13th Street on the east and Carpenter Street to the north.
Vehicle access to both the parking facility and the numerous internal off-street loading dock facilities is proposed to be through curb-cuts and entrance portals, two of which are along Carpenter Street and one along Washington Avenue. No curb cuts are proposed along S. Broad or S. 13th Streets.
Blatstein’s proposal, which could bring approximately 1.8 million square feet of residential and commercial space, will be reviewed by the Civic Design and Planning Commission on March 1.
Zoning variances will be needed for the project’s roof decks for non-residential use and parking garage. The site is already zoned CMX-5, the most permissive commercial zoning classification in the city. The CMX-5 zoning requires a special exception to include parking spaces above ground.
Washington Avenue is brimming with potential, and its future has become a hot-button topic in real estate circles. Developers have snapped up its many vacant lots and aging industrial buildings, and the city has been seeking to re-zone the former industrial thoroughfare in order to spur its development.
Trendy businesses have open alongside long-standing construction supply warehouses, seafood mongers and auto-repair shops.
The developer’s past projects in the city include the development of Piazza in Northern Liberties, which is modeled after Rome’s Piazza Navona, as well as shopping centers on Columbus Boulevard in South Philly.
A few years ago, Blatstein unsuccessfully attempted to convert the old Inquirer building on North Broad Street into a hotel and casino.
In a partnership with Cescaphe Event Group, the developer is also planning to convert the former PECO power station next to Penn Treaty Park in Fishtown into a wedding venue and event space.
Mr. Blatstein is currently building a mansion for himself on Rittenhouse Square.