Sunday, December 28, 2008

Blatstein / Tower-Investments Hotel Update: Northern Liberties Neighborhood Association Still Hates Fun

blatstein poplar hotel rendering northern liberties philadelphiaPlan Philly has an update on the hotel project development that Bart Blatstein and his Tower Investments company is trying to build on the southwest corner of 2nd and Poplar in Northern Liberties.

Basically, NLNA is still objecting to the size of the project, now called the Poplar Hotel.

The building’s size/height? A massive very reasonable 12 stories with 85 units.
At a meeting Tuesday night, the Northern Liberties Neighborhood Association was as unenthusiastic about plans for a 12-story hotel at 2nd and Poplar streets as it was a year ago when it first saw the proposal.

So unenthusiastic, in fact, that it plans to give the Zoning Board of Adjustment more or less the same recommendations it gave last year: reduce the overall size, reduce the height, and take the loading docks off Poplar Street.
Admittedly, in the models shown, the building can appear to be a little bulky. And Poplar is pretty narrow by the loading dock.

But that should be easy to remedy.

Some positives about the proposed design:

- upper floors are set back from street – good
- second floor roof garden wraps around building – very good
- underground parking – very good
- ground level restaurant – very good
- rooftop pool – great

Possibly of greater concern: this was originally supposed to be a boutique hotel. Now, they’re calling it an extended stay boutique hotel. Not sure what that’s about — probably either an insurance move by Blatstein (so he can easily/cheaply convert to condos later if hotel doesn’t work) or a concession to the neighborhood association.

To us, it's very clear that this project should be a designer boutique hotel, not some Hilton Homewood Suites, the extended stay brand that is going in University City.

Anything but a true boutique hotel would be a missed opportunity to add to and capitalize on the cachet of the neighborhood. As well as a total cop-out.

Related:
Poplar project hardly popular in NoLibs
[ Plan Philly ]

1 comment:

rick ward said...

I hate to be all nimby about it, but Poplar Street is VERY narrow at the point of the proposed loading dock. Unless the plan sets the building back from the street to allow for an off-street loading area, I fear that Poplar Street will be blocked regularly.

I think the use is a good one, but the plans, as presented, are weak.