Blatstein sells controlling interest in Piazza at Schmidt's

ASSOCIATED PRESS Jared Kushner, seen with wife Ivanka Trump, is part of an investment group that's buying 60% of the Piazza at Schmidt's.
ASSOCIATED PRESS Jared Kushner, seen with wife Ivanka Trump, is part of an investment group that's buying 60% of the Piazza at Schmidt's.
Posted: February 08, 2013

This story has been updated.

SAYING THAT IT'S TIME to focus more on his casino project, developer Bart Blatstein has sold a controlling interest in his Piazza at Schmidts, in Northern Liberties, to a New York investor group that includes Jared Kushner, also known as Donald Trump's son-in-law.

Blatstein's Tower Investments Inc. is one of six groups seeking to win Philadelphia's second casino license. He wants to turn the former Daily News and Inquirer building, at Broad and Callowhill streets, into a $700 million casino-hotel-entertainment resort called The Provence.

Word of his selling 60 percent of his holdings at the Piazza - property worth a reported $130 million - comes days before the competitors for the casino license are to make their first public pitches before the state Gaming Control Board, on Tuesday at the Pennsylvania Convention Center.

Blatstein was not available for comment Thursday. But he told the Inquirer that selling the controlling interest in the Piazza and the adjacent Liberties Walk "allows me to focus more on The Provence."

Kushner Companies, which bought the controlling interest in the Northern Liberties properties, is a diversified private real-estate organization based in New York. Its CEO, Kushner, is married to Trump's daughter Ivanka. An official of the firm said that under Kushner's leadership, the organization has been one of the nation's most active buyers of multifamily dwellings. Nationally, Kushner Companies owns more than 20,000 multifamily units, 13,000 of which have been acquired in the past year.

"Kushner's acquisition of a controlling interest in The Piazza and Liberties Walk validates Northern Liberties as an important magnet for outside institutional investment," the firm said.

Kushner's joint-venture partner in acquiring The Piazza is Oaktree Capital Management.


On Twitter: @ValerieRussDN

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