Blatstein To Build A Euro Village In The Clouds

PHILADELPHIA MAGAZINE: From some other developer, this might all sound a little too fantastical. But after putting a European-style piazza in Northern Liberties, Blatstein is working in rarefied air, both literally and figuratively. His newest concept takes a little explaining. But in short, about 60 feet off the ground, on rooftops extending from about a third of the way along the 1400 block of Callowhill, all the way to 16th Street, Blatstein plans to erect a “village reminiscent of old Europe.” [NOT pictured, above] Crooked and meandering streets will weave through a collection of one- and two-story buildings housing small shops, cafes and restaurants. The Village will be connected by a “sky bridge” traveling across North 15th Street. “You know how you see, in nature shows, in rain forests, scientists can go up into the canopy of the forest and find a whole different ecosystem?” asks Blatstein. “That’s sort of the concept, only what you’ll find here will be like Europe. With the buildings around you, you really will feel not like you’re on a roof, but like you’re in a village.” MORE

PHAWKER: Hmmm, have to see the actual plans and we may well wind up on the wrong side of history with this one, but our initial response is this sounds kinda corny — like a roofdeck Hershey Park. Also, hermetically-sealed retail/entertainment concepts are almost always a bad idea — think The Gallery, think Dave & Busters. Lastly what is the message it sends? Philly is broken and can’t be fixed so we’re gonna build a new one on top of it in the clouds. This new Philly in the clouds will be gated, to make sure that not too many North Philadelphians from the surrounding neighborhoods get in, lest you think its open to just anyone. But having said that, we are glad to see that someone in this town dares to think big. And Blatstein has proven the skeptics wrong before. So while this sounds like a lot of pie in the sky right now, Eightball says ask again later.