Prayers Answered: Blumenfeld Has Funding to Make Divine Lorraine Happen

Construction is set to begin in July.

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.”

“The city has been incredibly helpful, as has the state,” Blumenfeld said. “It’s been a group effort and I’m hopeful that this approval this afternoon kind of insures that the Divine Lorraine will be rehabilitated starting next month.”

Procida backed that statement up, saying that Domus Construction should be fully mobilized on site “by the end of July.”

To say that there will be demand for these apartments is a major understatement, especially given the popularity of EB Realty Management’s project at Mural Lofts, another Procida-backed historical conversion into apartments. Procida said they have over 600 people on the waiting list at Mural Lofts … for 57 apartments.

A chance to live in the Divine Lorraine, one of the most beautiful and famous buildings in the entire city, will certainly have many interested takers, especially if they’ll be living next to a supermarket complex and near a New Orleans-themed restaurant and beignet cafe. Procida imagines that the Divine Lorraine will be leased out by the time they finish construction.