For 15 years, the abandoned, decaying Divine Lorraine Hotel has loomed over North Broad Street, casting a long shadow on the North Philadelphia neighborhood. But after confirmation of a state grant and with the funding for a renovation project in place, the Philadelphia landmark will begin its transformation.
A developer plans to break ground on renovations to place apartments in the 122-year-old building on 699 N. Broad Street this week after closing on a $35 million construction loan earlier this month.
The groundbreaking ceremony will take place Wednesday at 1 p.m. Mayor Michael Nutter, City Council President Darrell Clarke and Deputy Mayor Alan Greenberger are expected to attend.
Washington Square Realty Capital arranged the funds for Eric Blumenfeld’s EB Realty Management, which is redeveloping the property. The construction money was provided by Procida Advisors’ 100 Mile Fund, which provides bridge, mezzanine and construction loans and equity to real estate projects.
The $44 million project is expected to totally transform the property with 126 apartments and 20,000 square feet of retail space.
The Divine Lorraine opened in 1894 and was viewed as a place of luxury for the wealthy. It was sold to religious leader Father Divine in 1948 who created the first racially integrated hotel in Philadelphia. The building was then closed in 1999 and sold in 2000, remaining abandoned for 15 years prior to the redevelopment plans.