The land was eventually laid on the sprawling South Broad Street lot where developer Bart Blatstein has long proposed a large apartment complex – but not by Blatstein alone.
Post Bros., the same Philadelphia real estate company that largely took over Blatstein’s planned expansion of Piazza Apartments in Northern Liberties, has partnered with the developer as a managing partner of a new entity that is building the Broad Street site. and Washington Avenue.
Work began last month on the 1,487-unit apartment project which is expected to be completed in about two years, Post chief executive Michael Petronk said in an interview on Tuesday.
Pestronk said his company was drawn to the project site because of its size – over four acres – which allows Post to develop many units without having to build tall towers, which are more expensive to build.
“We liked the scale because of the economy it provides,” he said. “We were able to build mid-rise types of construction that make this project economically feasible. “
The $ 305.7 million project is in addition to the more than 6,500 central Philadelphia apartments that were under construction at the end of last year, according to data from real estate tracker RealPage Inc. existing units in this area, largely bounded by the Delaware and Schuylkill Rivers, between Tasker Street and Girard Avenue.
Philadelphia is “a great place to live and it just keeps getting more and more so,” said Pestronk, whose company owns a property comprising 5,000 apartments across the city, including the Presidential City Apartments on City Avenue. near I-76 and the Goldtex building. north of downtown on 12th street.
“The apartment market has been very healthy since we’ve been in business,” Pestronk said.
Construction begins on Broad and Washington about eight years after Blatstein disclosed his agreement to purchase the property at the southern entrance to the South Broad Street enclave known as Avenue of the Arts.
This deal was not reached until 2017, when Blatstein paid a unit of New York-based Hudson Realty Capital LLC $ 19.6 million after a dispute was settled over whether the Philadelphia developer had let the agreement expire.
In the meantime, Blatstein had published a first proposal for the site which consisted of a 34-story apartment tower on four levels of shops and parking. Retail and car park floors were to be topped with kiosks comprising what Blatstein called an open-air shopping “village”.
This vision was never realized. Instead, Blatstein reappeared in 2020 with a proposal that was approved by the city last summer and now forms the basis of Post’s development plans.
These plans call for a grid of nested nine to 13 story mid-rise apartment buildings on commercial space that is to include a Giant Co. supermarket, Pestronk said. Parking for apartments and shops will be underground, he said.
Records show ownership changed hands in May from Broad and Washington LP, a subsidiary of Blatstein, to BW Property Owner LLC, which shares a Northern Liberties address with Post.
Another company sharing Post’s address, BW 2 Property Owner LLC, simultaneously purchased another property owned by Blatstein to the immediate east of the tract, at 1223-45 Washington Ave. Permits were issued at the end of last year for an 11-story building with 375 housing units on this site. .
Ryan McCaffrey, Post’s general counsel, signed a $ 52 million mortgage on the two properties of New York-based Terra Property Trust, records show.
The new Post-led entity that manages the development is a 50-50 partnership with Blatstein, Pestronk said. Post did not pay cash to join the company, and instead takes responsibility for securing construction financing and managing project execution to meet its end of the bargain, he said. .
This isn’t the first time Blatstein has led a project on land he owns through the city’s clearance process before partnering with Post to develop it. In 2019, Post acquired a controlling interest in an approximately four-acre parcel at 1104 N. Hancock St. in Northern Liberties from Blatstein after the developer spent more than a year securing permits for 861 apartments on the site. .
The property, which Post is now developing as Piazza Terminal, had long been on the fringes of the complex once known as Piazza chez Schmidt. Blatstein built it in the early 2000s and then sold it to a company involving Kushner Cos. Post acquired Kushner’s stake in the complex for $ 44.1 million in May 2018.
“I am very excited about this transformational gateway project,” Blatstein said of the Broad and Washington plan. “The Post Bros. are great guys and I am delighted to be working with them again. “