Blatstein buying Rittenhouse Square mansion

Developer Bart Blatstein has agreed to buy the McIlhenny Mansion at 1914-16 Rittenhouse Square, the four-story red-brick structure at right and the lower brick building to its right.
Developer Bart Blatstein has agreed to buy the McIlhenny Mansion at 1914-16 Rittenhouse Square, the four-story red-brick structure at right and the lower brick building to its right. (GEORGE DIMITRUK / Special to The Inquirer)
Posted: April 10, 2013

Developer Bart Blatstein, who has built projects across Philadelphia but raised his son and daughter out on the Main Line, plans to move into the city after agreeing to buy the McIlhenny mansion on Rittenhouse Square from drug heir Henry McNeil for $4.2 million.

Blatstein, whose father once owned a recreation complex in Northeast Philadelphia, was a suburban family man as he built movie theaters and commercial strips in South Philadelphia, Manayunk and the Temple campus neighborhood in North Philadelphia, and apartments, bars, restaurants and stores at north-of-Center City sites like the Piazza complex at the former Schmidt's Brewery since the 1980s.

As recently as the fall, Blatstein said that he had no plans to leave his family's Main Line home and move with his wife back to town. His kids, he noted Monday, are "attached" to their childhood home, "as we all are."

But the kids have moved out and are pursuing their careers, he added, so, as with other empty-nesters who have moved to Center City, "it's time."

The McIlhenny property will need major work, he acknowledged.

"I like the challenge of something difficult. This presented itself," Blatstein said. It wasn't his wife's idea: "It was me, thinking, 'Which neighborhood do I want to be in? What's a good location for us?' This is a real neighborhood for us. I'm looking forward to moving back in the city."

Since the summer, Blatstein has been pushing a casino for the North Broad Street property that once housed The Inquirer, the Philadelphia Daily News, and Philly.com.

In February, he sold part of the Piazza site to New York developer Jared Kushner. But, Blatstein added, it's him, not Kushner, who owns the ground where two more proposed apartment buildings at the Piazza will someday be built.

"I still own that land," he said, along with the nearby building where his Tower Investments offices are located.

When asked about his construction timetable to expand the Piazza complex, Blatstein said, "I'm looking at it now. The market here is very hot. This neighborhood is on fire. Even across Girard Avenue going north, everything's being sold."


Contact Joseph N. DiStefano at 215-854-5194, JoeD@phillynews.com, and @PhillyJoeD.

comments powered by Disqus
|
|
|
|
|