HomeDiagramsDatabaseMapsForum
     

Go Back   SkyscraperPage Forum > Global Projects & Construction > General Development


Reply

 
Thread Tools Display Modes
     
     
  #13101  
Old Posted Nov 7, 2019, 2:43 PM
mcgrath618's Avatar
mcgrath618 mcgrath618 is offline
Exhausted Drexel Student
 
Join Date: Jan 2017
Location: University City, Philadelphia, PA
Posts: 1,585
Philadelphia’s Delaware waterfront has moved beyond gas stations and big box stores. Why can’t Bart Blatstein? | Inga Saffron
Quote:
Every couple of years, developer Bart Blatstein resurfaces with the same moldy proposal for a Super Wawa gas station on Columbus Boulevard in South Philadelphia. He knows that the Delaware waterfront master plan, which was the product of a lengthy public process, forbids new, auto-centric uses near the river. He also knows that the city has been working for years to transform the area into a walkable, urban neighborhood. But Blatstein could care less about what the public wants.

His argument is always the same: Nothing has changed on the Delaware since the master plan was adopted in 2011. Columbus Boulevard is, and always will be, a junked-up sprawl of big-box stores and drive-throughs. Ergo, his gas station is the best development that Philadelphia can hope to get. Blatstein will be advancing this narrative when he goes before the Zoning Board next week (Tuesday, 9:30 a.m.) to make his case for the Wawa pumps.

But Blatstein’s gas station proposal has been kicking around for so long that time has passed him by. This isn’t the same Delaware waterfront where he built strip malls in the 1980s. Columbus Boulevard is a place in transition, a hybrid of urban and suburban forms.

It’s true that the overly wide street hasn’t become the avenue of elegant apartment towers that Philadelphia once envisioned, but housing is slowly but surely starting to fill in the empty acres along the Delaware. The Cherry Street Pier and Fringe theater are now well-established fixtures in the city’s art scene. A series of pier parks, described in the master plan as a string of pearls, are now starting to resemble a completed necklace.

Within the next two years, the city will start construction on a 12-acre park that will replace the Great Plaza and cover the great gulch of I-95, eventually creating a seamless link between the river and Center City. In anticipation, the agency that oversees the waterfront has put out a call to apartment developers to submit proposals for two large Penn’s Landing sites. More and more people are walking and biking along Columbus Boulevard. A gas station would take the waterfront backward.

How the Zoning Board will respond at Tuesday’s hearing is anyone’s guess. Blatstein isn’t just coming back with the same outdated proposal, he also has a devious new strategy to win approval for it.

Instead of trying to convince the Zoning Board to let him put the gas station on Columbus Boulevard (at the intersection with Tasker Avenue), he now claims that those pumps won’t actually be located on the boulevard itself. How has he achieved this sleight-of-hand? With a questionable subdivision that carves off a 20-foot-strip of land along the street, effectively giving the proposed gas station a different address.

The artifice is so obvious that it’s hard to imagine anyone falling for Blatstein’s little trick. Except that the Department of Licenses & Inspections did and signed off on the arrangement in September. As a result, Blatstein doesn’t need a formal variance from the Zoning Board, merely a lesser standard of approval called a special exception.

Virtually every group involved with the waterfront has expressed outrage over the ploy. The Planning Commission condemned the project at its October meeting, noting that motorists would still enter the gas station from Columbus Boulevard by driving across the subdivided property. The Delaware River Waterfront Corp. plans to testify against the proposal. Pennsport Civic Association will be there, too.

“It’s an end run” around the master plan, complained Matt Ruben, who chairs the Central Delaware Advocacy Group, a coalition of waterfront neighborhoods. The group also plans to speak out against Blatstein’s gas station.
It’s not just this one case. If Blatstein’s subdivision strategy is allowed to stand, it will break the zoning code. You can easily imagine other developers trying the same maneuver, along the waterfront and in other places in Philadelphia. Don’t like your property’s zoning restrictions? Subdivide!
Maybe the biggest argument against Blatstein’s waterfront narrative is staring him in the face from the other side of Columbus Boulevard. While he claims the avenue remains an auto-dependent highway, another developer, Cedar Realty Trust, is making plans to build two mid-rise apartment buildings at the intersection with Reed Street.

The design is as urban as they come, with the buildings fronting directly onto Columbus Boulevard and the ground floors set aside for retail. One of the buildings will even replace the parking lot of the Riverview movie theater — one of Blatstein’s early, auto-centric projects. Cedar’s mid-rises are exactly what the master plan calls for. If Cedar can do it, so can Blatstein.

Blatstein got his start as a developer by buying up former industrial sites along the Delaware and replacing them with small shopping centers. During the ‘80s and ‘90s, when the southern part of Columbus Boulevard was an overgrown wasteland, and walking there was nearly impossible, highway-style projects seemed like an improvement.

Those shopping centers made Blatstein very wealthy — so wealthy that he recently built himself a house on Rittenhouse Square that is said to be worth close to $16 million. Since moving there two years ago, he has become active in the neighborhood’s civic life. He took over the presidency of the tony Friends of Rittenhouse Square and injected a new vigor into the organization.
Blatstein also has helped out the local civic group, the Center City Residents Association, rethink its annual fall fund-raising event. Instead the usual neighborhood house tour, Blatstein has offered to open up his home as the sole destination — for $1,000 a ticket. The Oct. 22 event netted the CCRA $22,000, twice the amount it usually raises. Blatstein says he wants to make sure that the Rittenhouse Square area remains an urban showplace.

The neighborhood is lucky to have someone with his skills committed to that goal. But the Delaware waterfront and the Pennsport neighborhood deserve no less.

Rittenhouse Square and the waterfront are more alike than Blatstein realizes. They’re both great urban open spaces, just in different stages of their evolution. Only 15 years ago, the Philadelphia Parking Authority wanted to build a parking garage facing Rittenhouse Square. Now a different developer is erecting a 48-story luxury high-rise on the same site.

Times change. The city moves on. But only if you don’t let a bad project get in the way.
https://www.inquirer.com/real-estate...mpression=true
__________________
Philadelphia Transportation Thread: http://forum.skyscraperpage.com/showthread.php?t=164129
Reply With Quote
     
     
  #13102  
Old Posted Nov 7, 2019, 6:05 PM
Justin7 Justin7 is offline
Registered User
 
Join Date: Jan 2013
Posts: 291
^ Maybe post the first couple of paragraphs and then a link?
Reply With Quote
     
     
  #13103  
Old Posted Nov 7, 2019, 8:49 PM
Groundhog's Avatar
Groundhog Groundhog is offline
Registered User
 
Join Date: Jan 2014
Location: Philadelphia
Posts: 368
Quote:
Originally Posted by Justin7 View Post
^ Maybe post the first couple of paragraphs and then a link?
Nah, limited number of free views a month make it impossible to read an Inquirer link 95% of the time. Appreciate the full text.
__________________
You must construct additional pylons.
Reply With Quote
     
     
  #13104  
Old Posted Nov 7, 2019, 10:34 PM
allovertown allovertown is offline
Registered User
 
Join Date: Sep 2013
Posts: 808
Quote:
Originally Posted by Groundhog View Post
Nah, limited number of free views a month make it impossible to read an Inquirer link 95% of the time. Appreciate the full text.
Hint: if you use incognito mode you can view unlimited articles.
Reply With Quote
     
     
  #13105  
Old Posted Nov 7, 2019, 10:56 PM
iheartphilly's Avatar
iheartphilly iheartphilly is offline
Philly Rising Up!
 
Join Date: Nov 2012
Location: motherEarth
Posts: 2,300
^
The app on the smartphone doesn't set limits either.
Reply With Quote
     
     
  #13106  
Old Posted Nov 8, 2019, 2:14 PM
Justin7 Justin7 is offline
Registered User
 
Join Date: Jan 2013
Posts: 291
If you've so little respect for the journalist and the paper as to ignore IP rights then find another source for your news?

Finding a way around the paywall is one thing. I'm not going to judge people who can't afford a subscription. However, actually posting the article here is illegal.
Reply With Quote
     
     
  #13107  
Old Posted Nov 8, 2019, 3:05 PM
Noam215's Avatar
Noam215 Noam215 is offline
Registered User
 
Join Date: Mar 2016
Posts: 47
Quote:
Originally Posted by Justin7 View Post
If you've so little respect for the journalist and the paper as to ignore IP rights then find another source for your news?

Finding a way around the paywall is one thing. I'm not going to judge people who can't afford a subscription. However, actually posting the article here is illegal.
I second this.
The Inquirer subscription is $11/month, I'm sure the majority of people here spend more than that on coffee every week.
If you really don't have the money that's one thing but I'm going to go out on a limb and say that this applies to very few on this forum.
Stealing IP is still stealing.
Reply With Quote
     
     
  #13108  
Old Posted Nov 8, 2019, 3:29 PM
PHL10's Avatar
PHL10 PHL10 is offline
Registered User
 
Join Date: Jun 2010
Location: Philadelphia
Posts: 925
Not to mention that it supports local jobs.
__________________
No one likes me.
Reply With Quote
     
     
  #13109  
Old Posted Nov 8, 2019, 4:15 PM
iheartphilly's Avatar
iheartphilly iheartphilly is offline
Philly Rising Up!
 
Join Date: Nov 2012
Location: motherEarth
Posts: 2,300
Exactly. No need to steal. Use the app on a smart device (e.g., smartphone) and read it for free. It's set up that way.
Reply With Quote
     
     
  #13110  
Old Posted Nov 10, 2019, 3:49 PM
PhillyEngineer PhillyEngineer is offline
Registered User
 
Join Date: Feb 2018
Location: Philadelphia
Posts: 96
The inside & outside of the new AMC Theaters at the FDP:



Reply With Quote
     
     
  #13111  
Old Posted Nov 10, 2019, 4:03 PM
iheartphilly's Avatar
iheartphilly iheartphilly is offline
Philly Rising Up!
 
Join Date: Nov 2012
Location: motherEarth
Posts: 2,300
Quote:
Originally Posted by PhillyEngineer View Post
The inside & outside of the new AMC Theaters at the FDP:



^
Looks modern and nice.
The sidewalks are very narrow. I also noticed the use of security bollards.
Reply With Quote
     
     
  #13112  
Old Posted Nov 11, 2019, 1:29 AM
Jayfar's Avatar
Jayfar Jayfar is offline
Midrise
 
Join Date: Apr 2004
Posts: 925
Quote:
Originally Posted by iheartphilly View Post
^
Looks modern and nice.
The sidewalks are very narrow. I also noticed the use of security bollards.
I think that's the Filbert Street side with the narrow sidewalks.
__________________
Philadelphia Industrial & Commercial Heritage
A public Facebook group to promote appreciation of Greater Philadelphia's industrial and commercial history and advocate for historic preservation and adaptive re-use.
Reply With Quote
     
     
  #13113  
Old Posted Nov 11, 2019, 7:26 PM
TempleGuy1000 TempleGuy1000 is online now
Registered User
 
Join Date: Oct 2014
Location: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Posts: 317
A lot of work going on at 2100 Hamilton. Still wondering what the side facing whole foods is going to look like.



2200 block of Washington is really moving a long now. This is apartments plus a whole block of ground level retail on Washington. OCF also has pretty big plans for the block next it where the Chocolate Factory use to be.

More information: https://philly.curbed.com/2018/10/31...e-factory-2201

A notable house also being built at 24th and Pine. The house prior to this development was unique in that the owner (who was an artist) had nine garages.

Not as unique now and I am not exactly certain of what the final thing is going to look like. I do like the black framed windows.




Last edited by TempleGuy1000; Nov 12, 2019 at 8:15 PM.
Reply With Quote
     
     
  #13114  
Old Posted Nov 12, 2019, 6:03 PM
iheartphilly's Avatar
iheartphilly iheartphilly is offline
Philly Rising Up!
 
Join Date: Nov 2012
Location: motherEarth
Posts: 2,300
Modular residential low rises happening on 22nd and Washington. I'll try to post pics later.
Reply With Quote
     
     
  #13115  
Old Posted Nov 12, 2019, 6:38 PM
summersm343's Avatar
summersm343 summersm343 is offline
Moderator
 
Join Date: Oct 2011
Location: Philadelphia
Posts: 12,872
Nice! Tower crane base for 2100 Hamilton... so we can expect another tower crane going up soon.
Reply With Quote
     
     
  #13116  
Old Posted Nov 12, 2019, 7:20 PM
Jayfar's Avatar
Jayfar Jayfar is offline
Midrise
 
Join Date: Apr 2004
Posts: 925
Quote:
Originally Posted by TempleGuy1000 View Post
A notable house also being built at 24th and Pine. The house prior to this development was unique in that the owner (who was an artist) had nine garages.

Not as unique now and I am not exactly certain of what the final thing is going to look like. I do like the black framed windows.



You mean it was the home and studio of notable Mid-century modern *architect* Norman Rice (although it was later owned by the founder of Fabric Workshop). See this 2018 HiddenCity piece: Inside An Atomic Age Time Capsule In Fitler Square | HiddenCityPhila.org
__________________
Philadelphia Industrial & Commercial Heritage
A public Facebook group to promote appreciation of Greater Philadelphia's industrial and commercial history and advocate for historic preservation and adaptive re-use.
Reply With Quote
     
     
  #13117  
Old Posted Nov 12, 2019, 7:41 PM
Jayfar's Avatar
Jayfar Jayfar is offline
Midrise
 
Join Date: Apr 2004
Posts: 925
Quote:
Originally Posted by iheartphilly View Post
Modular residential low rises happening on 22nd and Washington. I'll try to post pics later.
I don't recall either of two upcoming 22nd & Washington developments being described as modular before. The location you give would have to be either the 'Chocolate Factory' site (2101 block) or the former Belmont Iron Works site (2201 block), in both cases with OCF Realty as the lead developer. Both are currently in the early site preparation stage (and in the case of the former still additional demolition to be completed, starting this week).
__________________
Philadelphia Industrial & Commercial Heritage
A public Facebook group to promote appreciation of Greater Philadelphia's industrial and commercial history and advocate for historic preservation and adaptive re-use.
Reply With Quote
     
     
  #13118  
Old Posted Nov 12, 2019, 8:02 PM
Londonee Londonee is online now
Registered User
 
Join Date: Aug 2005
Location: Fitler Square (via London)
Posts: 1,672
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jayfar View Post
You mean it was the home and studio of notable Mid-century modern *architect* Norman Rice (although it was later owned by the founder of Fabric Workshop). See this 2018 HiddenCity piece: Inside An Atomic Age Time Capsule In Fitler Square | HiddenCityPhila.org
I live around the corner from here and am a bit sad to have watched it go...but what are you going to do... Did he use the garages for employee/guest parking I wonder? Storage? Why 9 of them?
Reply With Quote
     
     
  #13119  
Old Posted Nov 12, 2019, 11:20 PM
brenster brenster is offline
i heart philly
 
Join Date: Sep 2006
Location: Dillsburg,PA
Posts: 202
Quote:
Originally Posted by summersm343 View Post
Nice! Tower crane base for 2100 Hamilton... so we can expect another tower crane going up soon.
Cool, wasn’t that going to be tall enough to have its own thread?
__________________
I heart Philly
Reply With Quote
     
     
  #13120  
Old Posted Nov 13, 2019, 2:56 PM
summersm343's Avatar
summersm343 summersm343 is offline
Moderator
 
Join Date: Oct 2011
Location: Philadelphia
Posts: 12,872
Quote:
Originally Posted by brenster View Post
Cool, wasn’t that going to be tall enough to have its own thread?
At one point yes, but the new iteration is 10 floors. Need at least 12 floors to qualify as a "highrise" and to get it's own thread.

Here's the new version:

Reply With Quote
     
     
This discussion thread continues

Use the page links to the lower-right to go to the next page for additional posts
 
 
Reply

Go Back   SkyscraperPage Forum > Global Projects & Construction > General Development
Forum Jump


Thread Tools
Display Modes

Forum Jump


All times are GMT. The time now is 9:02 PM.

     

Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.7
Copyright ©2000 - 2019, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.