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  #201  
Old Posted Apr 15, 2016, 1:04 AM
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Originally Posted by allovertown View Post
What you're forgetting is that there really is no need to even deal with the design review board. It's zoned CMX-5, he could build an enormous building here by right! But he's so obsessed with his stupid rooftop village that he has to get numerous variances to accommodate it.
My thoughts exactly.
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  #202  
Old Posted Apr 15, 2016, 2:32 PM
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Inga on Blatstein's Folly. From a "prominent developer": "I have been scratching my head trying to understand it," ... "but it makes no sense."

Read more at http://www.philly.com/philly/columni...high-rise.html
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  #203  
Old Posted Apr 15, 2016, 2:54 PM
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New Renderings of the Lincoln Square project across the street - subtitled: "How to Use a Rooftop." http://philly.curbed.com/2016/4/15/1...rings-revealed
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  #204  
Old Posted Apr 15, 2016, 3:23 PM
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In all honesty, I really don't care anymore. I just want that god-awful lot built out. It's not perfect but I'm okay with it for the following reasons:

1) 30+ floors and 400+ feet is absolutely awesome and will look great in our skyline.

2) No matter how imperfect this project is, it's still far better than what's there now. For god sake's, it's not even a parking lot! It's giant and literally serves no purpose.

3) I don't care for superblock massing or the pedestrian experience but at this location it's not a deal breaker for me. Something like this at say, 8th and Market would be a disaster. But Broad and Wash isn't Center City nor is it teeming with pedestrians.

4) The rooftop village? You never know. Potential retailers may push back enough that he re-configures the setup. Or maybe it stays but ends up being successful. Remember, he's going for national retailers, i.e., stores (like Target) that people make time to go to for a specific reason. He's not going for antique shoppes or other types of retail that rely on window shoppers and impulse buyers.

Do I love this project? No, it could be improved. But it's not horrific at this location and I'm okay with it. I say let's get this show on the road.
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  #205  
Old Posted Apr 15, 2016, 3:45 PM
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Originally Posted by McBane View Post
In all honesty, I really don't care anymore. I just want that god-awful lot built out. It's not perfect but I'm okay with it for the following reasons:

1) 30+ floors and 400+ feet is absolutely awesome and will look great in our skyline.

2) No matter how imperfect this project is, it's still far better than what's there now. For god sake's, it's not even a parking lot! It's giant and literally serves no purpose.

3) I don't care for superblock massing or the pedestrian experience but at this location it's not a deal breaker for me. Something like this at say, 8th and Market would be a disaster. But Broad and Wash isn't Center City nor is it teeming with pedestrians.

4) The rooftop village? You never know. Potential retailers may push back enough that he re-configures the setup. Or maybe it stays but ends up being successful. Remember, he's going for national retailers, i.e., stores (like Target) that people make time to go to for a specific reason. He's not going for antique shoppes or other types of retail that rely on window shoppers and impulse buyers.

Do I love this project? No, it could be improved. But it's not horrific at this location and I'm okay with it. I say let's get this show on the road.
Video Link
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  #206  
Old Posted Apr 15, 2016, 4:08 PM
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I'm hardly voting for an empty lot. One can be for development of the site while being disappointed (even horrified) by the execution. We're just complaining when it actually might do some good. I also think that a more sensible proposal stands a better chance of being built. Once shovels are in the ground, I promise to shut up. Like McBane, I'm hopeful that economics will accomplish what the CDR couldn't. If Blatstein gets his requested variances (making this "CMX-5-Plus," if you will), I assume that he could reconfigure the heck out of this and do whatever his prospective tenants want. I have a feeling this lot will still be empty or under construction when Lincoln Square is finished. Pearl would've been topping off by now.
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  #207  
Old Posted Apr 15, 2016, 4:37 PM
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When all is said and done, I think all Blatstein really wants is the right to build a huge parking garage in the middle of the block and then to leverage the supposed benefits of its presence to get others to develop the rest of the site.

He says he's building the parking because the neighborhood wants it, but I think he wants it. That is his mentality. He knows how to make money from low-risk parking oriented development. He's building a garage in the middle of a block next to the Piazza in NL right now, with no real plans to develop around it.

In either case, I suspect he may not really be interested in building out the rest of the project and plans to flip that action to whoever else might want to buy it.

This Broad & Wash and the NL sites may well end up looking a lot like the Realen property at 16th & Vine - a big ugly garage in the middle of the block with an apron of parking around it that Blatestein tries for the next few decades to flip at an inflated price - a la Realen - to whoever wants to take on the risk.

I hope I'm wrong, but I really think Blatstein has done increasingly unimaginative and half-assed work over the last 10 years after a brief attempt at self-reform. At this point, I don't think he has any interest in building anything of quality. He tried, to a degree, at the Piazza, but I think in the end that kind of development just doesn't suit a guy who wants to make a quick buck with minimal effort and risk.

It's his right to be that way, but that mindset leads to lame development (see: Realen).

How I wish he would retire and sell his stuff to someone who cares.
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  #208  
Old Posted Apr 15, 2016, 4:44 PM
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I do think his work, on the whole, has been rather unimaginative and auto-centric stuff. I always viewed him as a quick-buck artist among developers. Back in the day, he seemed to at least get stuff done, even if via the "low road." However, if I recall correctly, he had a number of schlocky plans that were never more than talk as well (some sort of amusement/carnival park on Del. Ave. comes to mind). While the Piazza seemed to herald a new era in his work, the more I read, the more it seems like a happy coincidence. With the Divine Lorraine coming along, I think the torch for "meh" developers who got lucky passes to Blumenfeld for the time being.
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  #209  
Old Posted Apr 15, 2016, 7:32 PM
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Originally Posted by Cro Burnham View Post
When all is said and done, I think all Blatstein really wants is the right to build a huge parking garage in the middle of the block and then to leverage the supposed benefits of its presence to get others to develop the rest of the site.

He says he's building the parking because the neighborhood wants it, but I think he wants it. That is his mentality. He knows how to make money from low-risk parking oriented development. He's building a garage in the middle of a block next to the Piazza in NL right now, with no real plans to develop around it.

In either case, I suspect he may not really be interested in building out the rest of the project and plans to flip that action to whoever else might want to buy it.

This Broad & Wash and the NL sites may well end up looking a lot like the Realen property at 16th & Vine - a big ugly garage in the middle of the block with an apron of parking around it that Blatestein tries for the next few decades to flip at an inflated price - a la Realen - to whoever wants to take on the risk.

I hope I'm wrong, but I really think Blatstein has done increasingly unimaginative and half-assed work over the last 10 years after a brief attempt at self-reform. At this point, I don't think he has any interest in building anything of quality. He tried, to a degree, at the Piazza, but I think in the end that kind of development just doesn't suit a guy who wants to make a quick buck with minimal effort and risk.

It's his right to be that way, but that mindset leads to lame development (see: Realen).

How I wish he would retire and sell his stuff to someone who cares.
This seems a little far fetched. Why would anyone build a giant parking garage at Broad and Wash? The comparison to the Realen garage doesn't make sense - that one is located right off 676 and right next to a hospital and adjacent to the CBD, Chinatown, and the Convention Center. What are the major attractions near Broad and Wash that will fill up a multi-level full square block parking garage? I'm not buying this theory.
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  #210  
Old Posted Apr 15, 2016, 7:52 PM
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IIRC Blatstein sold off his interest in the Piazza complex a couple of years ago, when he was going after that Provence proposal. Some New York developers (I wanna say "Richmond"?) own it now.
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  #211  
Old Posted Apr 15, 2016, 8:14 PM
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IIRC Blatstein sold off his interest in the Piazza complex a couple of years ago, when he was going after that Provence proposal. Some New York developers (I wanna say "Richmond"?) own it now.
Donald Trump's son in law Jared Kushner (well, his company) owns it.
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  #212  
Old Posted Apr 15, 2016, 9:10 PM
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This seems a little far fetched. Why would anyone build a giant parking garage at Broad and Wash? . . . . . What are the major attractions near Broad and Wash that will fill up a multi-level full square block parking garage? I'm not buying this theory.
Certainly no more farfetched than building a Provencal rooftop shopping village in the middle of a semi-blue collar neighborhood.

Why would Bart build a garage smack in the middle of an empty lot in the middle of NL? People live near by and parking is getting harder, I guess.

Mainly, though, I think he thinks that the only way to attract big box retail in South Philly is to have hundreds of parking spaces. He's convinced that people in South Philly remain car dependent. So if he builds the garage - or gets the rights to build the garage - then he'll be able more easily to build a giant cheap generic stacked up big box center, or flip the concept.

I could see him building the garage and a cheap multi-story big box retail cube himself. But I imagine the residential tower will be pushed off to a distant future phase that may well be flipped to somebody else.

It's just my gut says Blatstein really has no intention of developing the residential tower anytime soon as he thinks of this mainly as a cheap car-oriented (albeit multi-story) big box retail center. he knows how to do that kind of stuff fast and cheap.

He's clearly not interested in creating a good urban design. i think he wants a car-oriented development because they're relatively easy to pull off cheaply or flip to other cheap developers looking for a relatively quick easy buck.

Blatstein is really becoming a negative influence in this town. He's just incredibly tasteless.
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  #213  
Old Posted Apr 17, 2016, 1:44 AM
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Certainly no more farfetched than building a Provencal rooftop shopping village in the middle of a semi-blue collar neighborhood.

Why would Bart build a garage smack in the middle of an empty lot in the middle of NL? People live near by and parking is getting harder, I guess.

Mainly, though, I think he thinks that the only way to attract big box retail in South Philly is to have hundreds of parking spaces. He's convinced that people in South Philly remain car dependent. So if he builds the garage - or gets the rights to build the garage - then he'll be able more easily to build a giant cheap generic stacked up big box center, or flip the concept.

I could see him building the garage and a cheap multi-story big box retail cube himself. But I imagine the residential tower will be pushed off to a distant future phase that may well be flipped to somebody else.

It's just my gut says Blatstein really has no intention of developing the residential tower anytime soon as he thinks of this mainly as a cheap car-oriented (albeit multi-story) big box retail center. he knows how to do that kind of stuff fast and cheap.

He's clearly not interested in creating a good urban design. i think he wants a car-oriented development because they're relatively easy to pull off cheaply or flip to other cheap developers looking for a relatively quick easy buck.

Blatstein is really becoming a negative influence in this town. He's just incredibly tasteless.
Bingo. All these critiques about the towers on this site seem pointless. He wants to build a place for the same big box stores we have Delaware Avenue within Center City and provide them plenty of parking, and that's all we're ever going to see here. He's a stripmall developer, and this is his answer to a downtown stripmall. Let's not forget, the Piazza would have been a stripmall if it weren't for the advice of Inga Saffron and an unrelated builder, and Erdy-McHenry's design.
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  #214  
Old Posted Apr 17, 2016, 2:43 AM
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Having a target, walmart, etc. would be detrimental to that (or any up-and-coming urban) area. The project right across the street is much better than this one.
Why can't he just build normal retail spaces?
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  #215  
Old Posted Apr 18, 2016, 4:43 PM
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Been gone for awhile, I hope you guys didn't mess up the rooftop villages while I was gone
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  #216  
Old Posted Apr 20, 2016, 1:20 AM
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Having a target, walmart, etc. would be detrimental to that (or any up-and-coming urban) area. The project right across the street is much better than this one.
Why can't he just build normal retail spaces?
Blatstein isn't interested in fostering a neighborhood here. Yes, a boring Big Box corner with 600+ parking spaces is going to suck the life out of the surrounding neighborhoods and kill small businesses, but for that exact reason it will be a cash-cow for Blatstein, and that's all he wants. Whatever Center City doesn't already have - Walmart, Home Depot, Best Buy - can fit in this spot, and every Center City and South Philadelphia resident will be walking to it, while those with cars will have ample parking. This is his answer to a stripmall where he knows a stripmall would never get approved.

Don't get me wrong, I'm not defending it. I think it's horrible, namely because Blatstein is being so shady about it. And perhaps worse, because no one - not even Inga Saffron - has pointed out what's really going on here. Anyone who thinks Bart is actually planning on building these monoliths has been blinded by his deliberately absurd sales pitch. It's classic bait-and-switch. He's thrown us a flashy rendering to argue over while he gets approval for his massive Big Box parking podium. As soon as the shovel hits the dirt, you can bet those towers are going to go away.

At best we'll get a clumsy, stunted apartment building on top of a garage. At worst, all we'll ever see is the podium with a PlanetFitness and a couple other major discounters. It's basically just the Gallery for the next generation.
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  #217  
Old Posted Apr 20, 2016, 2:58 AM
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Blatstein isn't interested in fostering a neighborhood here. Yes, a boring Big Box corner with 600+ parking spaces is going to suck the life out of the surrounding neighborhoods and kill small businesses, but for that exact reason it will be a cash-cow for Blatstein, and that's all he wants. Whatever Center City doesn't already have - Walmart, Home Depot, Best Buy - can fit in this spot, and every Center City and South Philadelphia resident will be walking to it, while those with cars will have ample parking. This is his answer to a stripmall where he knows a stripmall would never get approved.

Don't get me wrong, I'm not defending it. I think it's horrible, namely because Blatstein is being so shady about it. And perhaps worse, because no one - not even Inga Saffron - has pointed out what's really going on here. Anyone who thinks Bart is actually planning on building these monoliths has been blinded by his deliberately absurd sales pitch. It's classic bait-and-switch. He's thrown us a flashy rendering to argue over while he gets approval for his massive Big Box parking podium. As soon as the shovel hits the dirt, you can bet those towers are going to go away.

At best we'll get a clumsy, stunted apartment building on top of a garage. At worst, all we'll ever see is the podium with a PlanetFitness and a couple other major discounters. It's basically just the Gallery for the next generation.
The problem with this theory, though, is that the city's already zoned CMX-5. If he actually just wanted to build a vertical strip mall with a parking podium, he could by right ... he wouldn't need to make drama drama with this poorly-conceived plan of his. (And tbh I'd be fine with a vertical strip mall being here.) I don't think there's anything shady going on here -- I think he's just gotten enamored with something nearly everybody around him is saying is a bad idea, and he might be one of those types that just gets more fired up about realizing it the more he feels like it's being detracted.
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  #218  
Old Posted Apr 20, 2016, 3:27 AM
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The problem with this theory, though, is that the city's already zoned CMX-5. If he actually just wanted to build a vertical strip mall with a parking podium, he could by right ... he wouldn't need to make drama drama with this poorly-conceived plan of his. (And tbh I'd be fine with a vertical strip mall being here.) I don't think there's anything shady going on here -- I think he's just gotten enamored with something nearly everybody around him is saying is a bad idea, and he might be one of those types that just gets more fired up about realizing it the more he feels like it's being detracted.
I thought he needed a variance for the parking podium, no?
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  #219  
Old Posted Apr 20, 2016, 4:16 AM
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The problem with this theory, though, is that the city's already zoned CMX-5. If he actually just wanted to build a vertical strip mall with a parking podium, he could by right ... he wouldn't need to make drama drama with this poorly-conceived plan of his. (And tbh I'd be fine with a vertical strip mall being here.) I don't think there's anything shady going on here -- I think he's just gotten enamored with something nearly everybody around him is saying is a bad idea, and he might be one of those types that just gets more fired up about realizing it the more he feels like it's being detracted.
I agree. We are all just spit-balling here, but this makes much more sense to me than all the other speculations being thrown around. We'll see how everything plays out...
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  #220  
Old Posted Apr 20, 2016, 4:21 AM
allovertown allovertown is offline
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I thought he needed a variance for the parking podium, no?
According to Inga he needs two variances, one for the parking podium, another for his cloud city.
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