Mother of God: The Divine Lorraine Hotel Accessories Collection Is Everything You Need

Divine-Lorraine

Images via Instagram.

Philly architecture geeks, listen up: The city’s best-loved abandoned building now has its own line of accessories. The grand historic hotel, which is slated to become a luxury apartment building (construction supposedly starts any day now; read all about that over on our fabulous sister blog, Property), has been immortalized in all its 19th-century grandeur … on a pair of Converse. And on hats, crewneck tees, denim jackets and keychains. Basically, the collection lets you pretend you once stayed at the Divine Lorraine, and then stole all the cute little hotel amenities it offered (grooming and shoeshine kits, a stamped tray, monogrammed robes and towels).

It could have very easily awry, like bad Pope memorabilia. But in the hands of local designer Najeeb Sheik and store Lapstone & Hammer (this year’s Best of Philly winner for best new men’s store!), it becomes something actually … covetable.  Read more »

Divine Lorraine Moves One Step Closer

North Broad Street | Photos: James Jennings

North Broad Street in April 2015| Photos: James Jennings

Brace yourselves, folks. News regarding the Divine Lorraine is going to come fast and furious until the “groundbreaking” event takes place, hopefully sometime in August. Think of it as Property’s version of “Pope Watch.”

On Tuesday, developer Eric Blumenfeld went before the Architectural Committee of the Historical Commission to present the plans for the historic renovation that’s about to take place at the Grand Old Dame of North Broad Street. PlanPhilly’s Jared Brey reports that the committee voted to approve the overall plans for the project, but had a few suggestions for the man at the center of North Broad’s revival.

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Divine Lorraine Update: Four “Vetri-Caliber” Restaurants Planned

Photo: Jeff Fusco

Photo: Jeff Fusco

It’s not a dream, people. The long-planned transformation of the Divine Lorraine Hotel into a luxury apartment building starting to become a reality. It’s now fully funded and Chris Cordaro, vice president with EB Realty Management (EBRM), has let us in on some tantalizing tidbits of information regarding the mother of all redevelopment projects, as well as a few others EBRM properties.

Though Billy Procida, the investor behind the project, said that construction could start on the Divine Lorraine by the end of July, Cordaro tells us they’re currently planning a groundbreaking event of sorts at the site, “probably in early August.”

As you know, New York-based developer RAL is planning a large scale apartment tower/grocery store directly next to the Divine Lorraine on Ridge Avenue. Cordaro said the the two groups have been collaborating closely to make sure the buildings work with each other. As such, a shared green wall will be erected alongside the “Garden Veranda” level of the Divine Lorraine.

That brings us to the retail portion of the project. Cordaro mentioned that they’ve identified restaurateurs for the commercial space, which will now be four new restaurant concepts “of the Vetri-caliber” and not high end retailers.

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Prayers Answered: Blumenfeld Has Funding to Make Divine Lorraine Happen

Photo: Jeff Fusco

Photo: Jeff Fusco

The moment has finally arrived, Eric Blumenfeld (and EB Realty Management) has all of the funds needed to make the Divine Lorraine project a reality. PlanPhilly’s Jared Brey reports that the Philadelphia Redevelopment Authority approved a $2.5 million loan and a separate $1 million grant to push the project’s financing over the hump:

That money, combined with a $3.5 million state grant awarded last week, federal historic tax credits worth the same amount, and a $30 million investment from New Jersey real estate lender Billy Procida, will allow Blumenfeld to start work on the redevelopment next month.

You may recall that a tour of the property in April revealed some interesting details about the project, including the news that it would be comprised of 109 apartments and approximately 20,000-square-feet of retail space. Procida, who described himself as a “very active and involved lender,” told Property earlier this week that the Divine Lorraine should close in the next 30 days. “It’s probably the most difficult closing of my life,” said Procida, who also mentioned that it’s “probably the prettiest building we’ve ever done.”

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Headlines: Early Plans Revealed for Mega Project Next to the Divine Lorraine

Ridge Avenue side of 1300 Fairmount | Credit: Cope-Linder

Ridge Avenue side of 1300 Fairmount | Credit: Cope Linder Architects LLC

Update (June 9, 1:30 p.m.): KYW Newsradio’s Mike Dunn reports that RAL’s initial plans “received preliminary approval in City Council” today. “Two Council committees have signed off on plans for a high-rise apartment building and grocery store on the long-vacant parcel at 13th Street and Fairmount Avenue.” More here.

Original: RAL Companies out of New York is starting to make a buzz around the development scene in Philadelphia. In May, the group was selected by the Delaware River Waterfront Corporation as one of the three finalists to redevelop the Festival Pier site at Columbus Boulevard and Spring Garden Street. Now, RAL’s Robert and Spencer Levine spoke with PlanPhilly’s Jared Brey about the much-whispered-about development adjacent to the Divine Lorraine at 1300 Fairmount.

Here’s the gist of the plans, which a rep tells us are “still very prelimenary” at this point:

Those discussions have led, so far, to plans for two apartment towers and a supermarket on Ridge Avenue. Preliminary site plans—the Levines stressed that the proposal is in flux—also show a small group of townhomes at the corner of 13th and Wallace streets, to be built in a future phase of construction.

At this point, the plans include approximately 480 apartments with 580 parking spaces, shared between the residents and the supermarket customers. The project would reach a maximum height of 221 feet on the western tower, and contain 83,000 square feet of retail space. The apartments would be placed above the parking structure on the fifth floor, and the developers plan to claim a floor-area bonus for open space on the site. The complex will have 168 bicycle parking spaces.

To learn more about how the towers will interact with the architectural gem that is the Divine Lorraine (and more), hit up Brey’s piece over at PlanPhilly. For a look at those “prelimenary” designs, check out the gallery after the jump.

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Headlines: The Divine Lorraine, Comcast Grab State Grants

Photo: Jeff Fusco

Photo: Jeff Fusco

We’re back with an update from the Redevelopment Assistance Capital Program (RACP) again, where a few major projects in the Philadelphia area got the thumbs up (at least partially, in most instances) for grants aimed “to attract and retain jobs in Pennsylvania by targeting large, economically transformative projects for development,” according to the RACP website.

EB Realty Management Corp. was granted $3.5 million of the $5 million for activation of the Arcade at the Divine Lorraine Hotel. Liberty Property Trust landed $10 million for “infrastructure costs related to” the in-progress Comcast Innovation and Technology Center. The Philadelphia Museum of Art $5 million for “infrastructure renovations and improvements.” The two behemoths on Market East, East Market (Girard Square) and the The Gallery, were awarded $2.5 million, respectively. $3.7 million went to the development of the Chinatown Community Center, also known as the Eastern Tower Community Center.

For a look at some of the major projects that did, and didn’t, make the cut (they can re-apply), check out Joe DiStefano’s column in The Inquirer below.

 More Headlines to Make Your Monday Special:

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Tour Shines Light on the Future of the Divine Lorraine and Mural Lofts

North Broad Street | Photos: James Jennings

North Broad Street | Photos: James Jennings

Oh man, does it look like the winds of change are finally starting to take shape on North Broad Street. Eric Blumenfeld, backed by mega-investor Billy Procida, recently gave a tour for those involved with each project to show them how his plan will completely change the corridor. The tour included Mural Lofts at the former Thaddeus Stevens School at Broad and Spring Garden Street and even a brief dip into the Divine Lorraine, a project that needs no introduction. The future seems brighter than ever, and it seems to start with high end apartments.

Blumenfeld’s first muse was to transform the Mulford Building into the 265-unit Lofts at 640 at Broad and Wallace. Head south a few blocks to Spring Garden Street and you’ll find Bart Blatstein’s relatively new project at the former State Office Building, which he revamped into 204 apartment units. In addition to the new digs, the ‘spur’ at the Rail Park on Noble Street is inching forward and North Broad Street will soon see the first of 46 “light masts” rise from the median. Blumenfeld plans 165 new apartment units with the projects at Mural Lofts (56) and the Divine Lorraine (109). So let’s get right to it. Read more »

The Divine Lorraine Will Be Reborn, Just Not As a Hotel

divine-lorraine-jeff-fusco-940

Photo: Jeff Fusco

 

Remember those plans to turn the Divine Lorraine into a boutique hotel? Scrap ‘em. “We want to see this project get done now,” said Chris Cordaro of EB Realty Management. “It’s a better project if it gets done today rather than five or 10 years down the road,” he added, who said the hotel is feasible at the location but it’s too long of a development process. So, what’s in store for one of Philadelphia’s most intriguing buildings? Well, let’s just say it goes way beyond fancy drone videos.

Plans now include 126 apartments and two levels of retail, including a lower-level “Garden Veranda” that will expose the southern side of the building and activate it as a retail corridor along Ridge Avenue. The 20,000 square-foot main level will incorporate both retail and the lobby.

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Five Developments We’re Tracking in 2015

Photo credit: Ethan Schwartz via Flickr.

Photo credit: Ethan Schwartz via Flickr.

Here on Property we’ve been covering an assorted number of new projects poised to transform Philadelphia’s cityscape. As the new year approaches, that number will only continue to grow, and you can be sure we’ll be following all of them.

However, of those that have been announced for 2015, there have been some which have struck us as being potential game-changers. Below you will find five areas in Philadelphia development that we will keep a special eye on in the coming year.

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