Photo of the Philadelphia Metropolitan Opera House by Matt Lambros
North Broad developer Eric Blumenfeld, who owns the Divine Lorraine and has done absolutely nothing with it, also owns the Philadelphia Metropolitan Opera House, another historic behemoth on North Broad. Built in 1908, it’s on the National Register of Historic Places, and until Blumenfeld’s purchase earlier this year, was home to a church congregation.
Blumenfeld has been unable to secure funding for his plans for the Divine Lorraine, but something definitely seems to be going on at the Met. Hidden City reports that L&I issued a violation a few weeks ago “for performing interior demolition with no permit info posted.” That seems to indicate some kind of activity, but Blumenfeld isn’t talking.
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“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.
Though it looks abandoned, the building–which was featured on National Geographic’s Abandoned program
–has had some recent good fortune: The current owners, Lace Building Affiliates, who purchased it in 2007, have been granted permission to repurpose it, and they have seriously grand plans.
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 »