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.