New Hotels Coming To The River Front

Developer Bart Blatstein and caterer Joseph Volpe say they have signed a contract with Exelon Corp. to buy the former Delaware Station electric plant and its 1,000-foot Delaware River waterfront and river pier, in the city’s Fishtown section. (More on the site here).

.”We envision two boutique hotels, each leading into their own ballroom with 55-foot high ceilings,” said Volpe, owner of Cescaphe Event Group, which holds 600 wedding receptions a year at its five Philadelphia venues. Over time they may add river-view apartments and a marina, Blatstein said.

“It’s a one-of-a-kind property,” said Blatstein, best known for the Piazza at Schmidt’s and other housing-and-retail projects that have helped update the city’s aging neighborhoods.Blatstein said the partners are not planning a retail center nor any industrial uses.

He and Volpe wouldn’t comment on the price, pending the sale closing. The pair has started talking to banks, Volpi added.

Exelon spokesman Robert Judge confirmed the company has made a sale agreement, but won’t confirm the identity of the buyer or the price. Judge said at least five serious bidders expressed interest in the property after the Binswanger real estate agency offered it for sale last fall. Exelon and Blatstein hope to close the deal in March.

The property features 300,000 sq. ft. of vacant buildings, including a power plant designed by architect John Windrim (who also did the Franklin Institute) and constructed soon after World War I on the site of 1800s-era shipyards; and 16 acres, part of it underwater. Blatstein said the main building includes a couple of 35,000 sq. ft. skylit spaces with 55-foot ceilings that could make spectacular event locations.

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