Developer Bart Blatstein has announced that he will begin conversion of the former State Office Building at Broad and Spring Garden that will become Tower Place, an apartment and retail space. Blatstein also mentioned that he will be putting restaurant concepts in the building in an area he referred to as a "food desert." Blatstein added that he loved the neighborhood, and was "ready to bring it through a transformation back to the splendor it once had."
A few notable restaurateurs, Marc Vetri and Stephen Starr, have opened successful restaurants in the "desert" over the last few years that are thriving. Vetri has Osteria (opened in 2007) and the just-popped Alla Spina close by, and Starr cut the ribbon on his seafood shack, Route 6, in November of last year. Joe Volpe opened catering space Vie there, as well.
Marc Vetri told Eater he's glad Blatstein is adding to the mix, but that he wasn't breaking ground in an untapped market.
"It's a good thing that Blatstein is coming, of course. It'll be good for business. But, it's a vision that Eric Blumenfeld started years ago with lofts and restaurants he developed including Osteria," said Vetri. "We take pride in what we have done to get the ball rolling. And the neighborhood has grown in Fairmount with new restaurants. The other side of Broad, too, with bars like The Trestle Inn, The Institute, and Prohibition Taproom."
· Blatstein's Broad Street Project Getting Underway [Philly.com]