As you’re already well aware if you read this blog with any sort of regularity, North Broad Street has been experiencing a renaissance in the last few years. This return to prominence has generally not come as a result of the efforts of smaller developers, like in Point Breeze or Francisville, but is instead largely due to the efforts of a couple of major players in Philadelphia real estate. For example, Bart Blatstein.
A year and a half ago, we first told you about plans from Tower Investments to redevelop the former state building at Broad & Spring Garden. And last month, the $70M conversion opened its doors as Tower Place.
Phase 1 of the project included the transformation of the 300K sqft office building into 204 apartments with a fitness facility and and 18th-floor lounge that once served as the governor’s office. Apartments are renting for $1,500 to $3,000. Before it was gutted and renovated, the building was added to the historic register, which enabled the developers to utilize some tax credits to fund some of the construction. Phase 2 will mean the construction of a new tower on 15th Street, with a mix of retail and over 200 apartments. This phase will also involve the construction of a retail component in front of the existing building.
Hopefully, the first phase of this development will be successful, and the second phase will eventually be realized. But in the meantime, Mr. Blatstein has his hands full. Just yesterday, he presented his vision for the Provence, a casino and entertainment complex in the former Inquirer Building, to the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board.
And with plans from Eric Blumenfeld to redevelop the Divine Lorraine a little further up Broad Street along with a collection of surrounding properties, it seems likely that the big boys will continue to lead the way on North Broad Street for years to come. And for people who live or work in the neighborhoods on either side of North Broad, that’s been working out pretty well so far.