Blatstein buys massive Rittenhouse digs

ASSOCIATED PRESS Made in America, Held in Philly: Jay-Z's blockbuster music festival will return to the Benjamin Franklin Parkway this summer.
ASSOCIATED PRESS Made in America, Held in Philly: Jay-Z's blockbuster music festival will return to the Benjamin Franklin Parkway this summer.
Posted: April 10, 2013

DEVELOPER Bart Blatstein has set his sights on a new property: a fixer-upper.

Blatstein recently bought, and will himself live in, the massive house on the southwest corner of Rittenhouse Square, according to architecture blog Hidden City Philadelphia.

"It's an incredible location," Blatstein told me, joking that I should move in before he gets to renovating so I can claim squatters' rights after I expressed how much I loved the spot. "It's a jewel in the city."

The house is commonly known as McIlhenny Mansion and spans 1914-16 Rittenhouse Square and 1915–21 Manning St. The 8,600 square-foot house, which Blatstein bought for $4.2 million, has been vacant for 30 years.

"It's just wonderful property and location, the fact that it's been left derelict for years is awful," said Blatstein, who will be moving back from the Main Line.

Blatstein is the developer behind such sites as the Piazza at Schmidts in Northern Liberties, in which he just sold his 60 percent stake. He's working on turning 400 N. Broad St., the old digs of the Inquirer, and, most importantly, the Daily News, into a casino called the Provence.

Blatstein didn't elaborate on what he plans to do with the long-dormant manse, because he just closed the deal on Friday afternoon. He did say he and an undisclosed architect were working on renovation plans. "It's coming, and it's my commitment to the city I love, so stand by and watch. It'll be fun," Blatstein said.

'Made' in the shade

It's baaaaack.

Made in America, Jay-Z's music fest that took over the Parkway last summer, is returning to Philly on Labor Day weekend (Aug. 31 and Sept. 1). The lineup will be announced via Spotify at noon Wednesday (check out to get the inside scoop).

Last year's big names included Hova himself (joined by Kanye West), Pearl Jam, Skrillex, Drake, D'Angelo and host of others.

Quest says yes to 'Tonight'

Roots drummer Questlove confirmed to that the Roots will be making the jump to "The Tonight Show." "We're not going to 'The Tonight Show,' " Questlove said. " 'The Tonight Show' is coming to us." No official go from NBC just yet, though.


CBS 3 got a visit from a Swedish documentary crew Monday for a show called "Programs That Changed Television."

The Swedish Educational Broadcasting Co. interviewed Ukee Washington and Erika von Tiehl, along with original Eyewitness Newsers Marciarose Shestack and Trudy Haynes, about the pioneering news program that was one of the first examples of local news featuring reporters pounding the pavement to talk to movers, shakers and witnesses on the scene.

Shestack, paired with future late-night talk-show host Tom Snyder, was the first female primetime-news anchor in a major market, while Haynes holds the honor of being Philly's first African-American TV reporter.

The crew even went out with reporter Walt Hunter to report on Saturday's devastating fire in Queen Village.

Reality beat * 

Bravo's Andy Cohen, the host of "Watch What Happens Live," signed copies of his new memoir, "Most Talkative: Stories from the Front Lines of Pop Culture," at the Borgata this weekend. "Real Housewife of New York" Heather Thomson grilled Cohen on his celebri-goings-on, including what he thought about Kim Kardashian's much-talked-about maternity wear. "I don't think anything about it. I could give a s--- about Kim Kardashian," Cohen said. "I saw the sex tape; I'm sure she's nice. I love Khloe, though! I think she's so smart and funny!"

* While "America's Next Top Model" winner/"My Fair Brady" Adrianne Curry was in town for the Zombie Run, cameras filmed her around town, including a stop at the Franklin Insitute. The Greater Philadelphia Film Office didn't know what was up, but I'll keep investigating. The Zombie Run was sold out with 4,000 registrants, leading organizers Andrew Hudis and David Feinman to receive a proclamation from City Council and the Pennsylvania Legislative Black Caucus.

Email: eichelm@

On Twitter: @PhillyGossipDN

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