Law Firm: Divine Lorraine Developer Eric Blumenfeld Owes Us Nearly $750K


A law firm alleges that Eric Blumenfeld owes $120,000 for services rendered in relation to his development of the Divine Lorraine, pictured above in a rendering commissioned by his company.

Update: 8/15/14 3:35PM: Blumenfeld called us yesterday evening to say, “That matter has been resolved.” Today a firm spokesperson told us, “Stradley Ronon Chairman Bill Sasso and Eric Blumenfeld have reached a verbal settlement on the matter that will be committed to writing in the very near future.”

The law firm of Stradley Ronon Stevens & Young LLP has filed a suit (embedded below) against Eric Blumenfeld’s EB Realty Management Corp. The complaint alleges that Blumenfeld hired the firm in March 2012 to advise him in various real estate matters, including the Abbotts Square condo complex; the Stutz Building, where Stephen Starr’s catering empire resides; and the following development projects:

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Divine Lorraine Will Have a Restaurant and Speakeasy

Photo by Jeff Fusco

Photo by Jeff Fusco

It really seems like the Divine Lorraine will get redeveloped. Developer Eric Blumenfeld has purchased the building for a second time and he has the funding in place to start renovations. KYW’s Hadas Kuznits accompanied Blumenfeld on a tour of the Grand Old Lady of North Broad this week. During the tour, Blumenfeld mentioned that he is aiming to bring in a high-end restaurant as well as a subterranean speakeasy to the Divine Lorraine. 

Guess who we spotted in front »

Video: The Latest Look Inside the Divine Lorraine

Photo by Jeff Fusco

Photo by Jeff Fusco

Oh, ye of little faith. That’s probably what developer Eric Blumenfeld wants to tell every naysayer who laughed when he bought the Divine Lorraine for the second time with dreams of turning it into a school or apartment complex. Now Blumenfeld has the funding to start renovations in about two months, according to his interview with KYW NewsRadio’s Hadas Kuznits, which draws out more of the story. Kuznits has also posted a number of YouTube videos in which she and Blumenfeld tour the site as it stands today. Last chance, most likely, to see it in its decrepit form.

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Divine Lorraine Reborn: Is This Really Happening?

The new rendering of the completed Divine Lorraine renovation, courtesy of EB Realty Management

The new rendering of the completed Divine Lorraine renovation, via EB Realty Management’s Twitter feed

Familiar with this kind of thing? “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.” (That’s from the Daily Dot in October.) But no longer! Sometime soon, we may finally be rid of people judging Philadelphia on the abysmal condition of the Divine Lorraine. Scaffolding is up around the lower levels of the building, most graffiti has been washed off the exterior, and now we have a new rendering from developer Eric Blumenfeld of the future Divine Lorraine at night: occupied, open to the street, with the big sign relit in red neon and lighting on the facade. Scary no more.

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End of the Road for Route 6

lobster-route-6The closing of Stephen Starr’s Route 6 has long been rumored. But today, Michael Klein has the official word that the seafood spot on North Broad will close on Thursday, March 20th.

Starr says he will reconceptualize the space and open something new this fall.

Starr to Close Route 6 [The Insider]

Renderings: Hanover North Broad Apartments and Retail at Broad and Callowhill


The Parkway Corporation and the Hanover Company Design Collective have plans to build two large mixed-use residential/commercial buildings on the site of two surface parking lots Parkway owns at Broad and Callowhill streets.

The larger of the two buildings will sit on the lot at the southwest corner of Broad and Callowhill. It will contain 229 studio, one- and two-bedroom apartments, 11,024 square feet of retail space, 256 parking spaces (130 for building residents) and 77 bicycle parking spaces.

The smaller building at the southeast corner will contain 110 studio, one- and two-bedroom apartments, 6,122 square feet of retail space, 114 parking spaces (58 for residents) and 38 bicycle parking spaces.

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Starr Events Opening Cafe at Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts

The grand staircase at PAFA. Photo by Laura Novak Photography.

The grand staircase at PAFA. Photo by Laura Novak Photography.

Stephen Starr’s Starr Events is now the exclusive catering provider to North Broad Street’s Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts. In addition to the providing food and service for weddings and other events, Starr Events will be refreshing PAFA’s cafe.

The cafe will undergo a complete renovation and rebranding this spring. Look for made-to-order salads, gourmet sandwiches, desserts and La Colombe coffee.

PAFA Will Now Be Catered Exclusively By Stephen STARR Events [Philadelphia Wedding]

With Impending Expansion, Rodeph Shalom Reaffirms Commitment to North Broad

rodeph shalom ceiling

Just one detail of Rodeph Shalom’s exquisite interior. Photo: Laura Kicey

The synagogue Rodeph Shalom at Broad and Green streets is certainly one of the most recognizable buildings in the city and is easily the grandest of Philadelphia’s Jewish houses of worship. Almost a year ago, congregants gathered for the groundbreaking of the synagogue’s $16 million expansion and renovation project.

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Route 6 Continues Lobster Specials

Lobster Month at Route 6 | Photo via Starr Restaurants

Lobster Month at Route 6 | Photo via Starr Restaurants

Route 6 seemingly scored a homerun with its Lobster Mania promotion in October. I definitely heard more people talking about Stephen Starr’s East-Coast seafood restaurant last month than since it opened.

So it isn’t much of a surprise that Route 6 is extending its deal through November. Prices on select lobster dishes are chopped almost in half.

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Paging Eric Blumenfeld: What’s Going on With the Met?


philadelphia met

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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