“Do people want something that provides more jobs and connects communities, or would you rather have a gentrification spaceship land here with more condos?” Caryn Kunkle, executive director at The Philadelphia Salon, brings up a valid point. Kunkle is working to turn the beloved Divine Lorraine into an art museum — scratch that, an all-around art and performance space/haven — rather than let the poor old girl become condos. “We have enough apartments,” says Kunkle, “but we don’t have enough art spaces.”
The Daily Dot names North Broad’s Divine Lorraine—beautiful but abandoned—as one of its 10 scariest places on Google Street View. “Smack in the middle of downtown Philadelphia’s busy Broad Street sits the towering Divine Lorraine. When night falls and the rest of the city’s skyscrapers are illuminated, the former hotel and religious compound remains forebodingly dark and lifeless. Like Philadelphia wasn’t scary enough.”
“Get out of town,” said Cole Porter. “Don’t fence me in,” he said, also. The guy had serious wanderlust, and when it’s nice out, so do we. This weekend Property photographer Laura Kicey went to the former Scranton Lace Factory for another Abandoned America photo workshop. The photographs she got are absolutely gorgeous, but she also learned a bit about what’s happening to the building–which is more than to the SS United States, the subject of her last extensive photo gallery of this sort.
And, to make matters worse, Blumenfeld’s former business partner Ron Caplan has threatened to collect on a defaulted loan to the tune of $37 million, though Blumenfeld’s lawyer challenges Caplan’s authority to do so. Still, the legal battle between the two continues on other fronts, a sad turn of events for two men who were once so close.
Remember the Divine Lorraine? That big, beautiful, abandoned building on North Broad Street that Mayor Nutter said was a cornerstone of Philadelphia’s revival and that developer Eric Blumenfeld has such big dreams for? It was featured yesterday on the national website Web Urbanist, and called, “one of Philadelphia’s most intriguing buildings,” “a Victorian beauty” and “an enticing site for urban exploration.”
Of course, it’s not supposed to be “visited” by urban explorers anymore, but given that its conversion remains stalled, it may only be a matter of time before people find their way inside again. The issue seems to be funding. Blumenfeld has applied for a $7.5 million Redevelopment Assistance Capital Program matching fund from the state, but didn’t get it in the first round. We put a call in to see if he wants to talk about the latest. Read more »