After four decades in the dark, the iconic neon-red signs that sit atop of the Divine Lorraine Hotel have been lit.
On Tuesday night, crowds gathered in the rain for a block party at the foot of the historic building on North Broad to watch the signs light up again for the first time in 40 years.
In some way, the sign-lighting ceremony served as the one-year anniversary since the start of the Divine Lorraine’s groundbreaking, which took place in September 2015. Under the watch of developer Eric Blumenfeld, the $40 million restoration project will return the once grandiose hotel to its original roots as an apartment building.
Anne Fadullon, the city’s Director of the Planning and Development, was there for the celebration, and remarked on the symbolic importance of the project. Hinting toward the presidential election results, she said, “Whatever happens, now, more than ever, this project is all about the community.”
Proceeds from the block party benefitted Big Brothers Sisters SEPA, a regular partner with EB Realty projects in Philadelphia.
Currently, the lobby restoration is underway and the apartments will be move-in ready by the end of this year. CBRE is currently seeking tenants for a cafe and two restaurants, one of which will be located in the annex building that will be converted into a boutique hotel.
The facade of the north-facing side of the Divine Lorraine has been restored, and crews will begin work on the south side, removing graffiti, this week.
Billy Procida of Procida Funding & Advisors, provided a $34 million loan for the project. He said despite his New York roots, “This is the best project I’ve ever been a part of.”
Did you miss the sign-lighting? Watch our Facebook Live video of the event below. (The sign lights up around the 3:40 mark.)