Developer Eric Blumenfeld bought the Divine Lorraine from Tony Goldman in 2003 for $5 million-plus, back when superstar developers were interested in the building. Blumenfeld's relationship with Lorraine lasted only three years, after which he sold the building for twice what he paid. Turns out, Blumenfeld has never gotten over her, even after he took two similarly dilapidated buildings on North Broad—the old Botany "500" factory and the Bieber Building—and transformed them. They were both fun and exciting, but it wasn't the same as Lorraine. She's had his heart.
|Nat King Cole - Sweet Lorraine|
After much talk about buying the land right next to her to turn into a mini school district (and after stalking her on Facebook, of course), Blumenfeld is making his move: He's going to buy his former love back from her current owners. If that doesn't work he'll pick her up at Sheriff's Sale in the fall. According to the Inquirer's sources, there is a plan in place for the property:
That plan would include converting the hotel into market-rate housing and a sizable amount of commercial space. The source said it is most likely that the project would include federal historic tax credits as part of its financing package. It sounds as though the plan for a school campus could still be in play, but if not, says Hidden City:
... some sort of “envelope” of new development will still be needed around the Willis Hale-designed building, probably in the form of condos or apartments–and a lot of them. The previous developer planned to build 900 units on the adjacent parcels. Eric Blumenfeld can't comment on stories this week, but we'll keep you posted when we hear more.
· Phila. developer aiming to buy blighted landmark Divine Lorraine [Inquirer]
· Blumenfeld Expected To Move Forward On Divine Lorraine (Updated) [Hidden City]