Just last Wednesday, Procida Funding & Advisors, a real estate firm specializing in providing funding and financing to "half-builts" and other projects in trouble, signed an agreement with EB Realty (Eric Blumenthal's company) to help finance the conversion of the Divine Lorraine into 126 apartments and 21,000 sq ft of retail space.
Billy Procida says that he first noticed the Divine Lorraine while in Philly to investigate another project. While he was driving down North Broad, he pulled over to look at the Divine Lorraine. The financing his company will provide could help work start on the vacant hotel soon. Mr. Procida says that the deal could close in 45 to 60 days.
Before Mr. Procida became a financier and advisor to developers in trouble, he was Donald Trump's biggest fan. In an interview with the New York Times, he admitted, "When I graduated high school I started writing him letters saying: 'You should meet me. I'm going to be a big developer one day.' Really cocky letters. He'd send them back saying, 'Good luck.'" After seeing a profile of Billy Procida in New York Magazine, Trump finally called him and had him come on as his "original apprentice" for a one year contract as a Vice President in 1990.
· New hope - and funding - for Divine Lorraine [The Inquirer]
· THE 30-MINUTE INTERVIEW: William Procida [New York Times]