Historical Commission Gives Thumbs Up to Divine Lorraine Plan

The project is funded and now only needs building permits.

Photo: Jeff Fusco

Photo: Jeff Fusco

The Historical Commission gave its blessing to Eric Blumenfeld’s plans to revive the Divine Lorraine into a luxury apartment building with four “Vetri-caliber” restaurants split between ground floor and the underground Garden Veranda level, a sunken courtyard on the southern side of the project.

KYW’s Mike Dunn reports that William Alesker, an architect on the project, all but expected the Historical Commission to vote in favor of the plan, since “[the development team] spent a lot of time trying to get it right.” Here’s more:

“Our goal is to put it back as it was originally, in the 1933 design,” Alesker stated. “It’s a challenge doing the research to find out what was really there. It involved the investigation of old photographs, and just general research into what was there before. So it’s a challenge, but great fun to do.”

So does this mean that construction is finally about to begin on the long-awaited project?

EB Realty Management’s (EBRM) Chris Cordaro told us in late July that some sort of groundbreaking event was in the planning stages, possibly for early August. Alesker told Dunn that the group still needs to apply for building permits, and hopes that construction could begin next month. Cordaro later confirmed in an email that EBRM is now planning a groundbreaking for “early September.”

Blumenfeld has the funding to make it happen, and said the overhaul will cost approximately $28 million. Once things get going, the work is expected to be completed in around 18 months and include 101 apartments and the restaurants in the grand old building designed by Willis G. Hale. Eight apartments are planned for the annex behind the structure.

This post has been updated to include the confirmation of the groundbreaking event.