Oh, that’s simply divine!

by brandonkbaker

At last, the glorious 10-story Divine Lorraine Hotel, once a symbol of Philadelphia affluence, has been purchased and targeted for use.

Developer Eric Blumenfield, who was recently profiled in Philadelphia Magazine, will develop the high-rise into a luxury apartment building, featuring 125 apartments and restaurant space being targeted by — surprise, surprise — Stephen Starr. The restaurant, along with two and possibly three other dining spaces, will be located on the first floor for dwellers of the building and street-goers. (Think: 777, only classier.)

The Fairmount Avenue eyesore treasure will begin renovations in January, with Blumenfield aiming to revitalize North Broad Street through the divine new presence.

“I never shy away from a challenge,” he told the Philadelphia Inquirer earlier this month.

Blumenfield previously purchased the building in 2003 for $5.8 million — now estimated to be worth $8 million — before selling it in 2006.

The Lorraine Apartments were constructed in 1892 as a housing complex for wealthy inhabitants of the city (you know, before they all fled to the suburbs), later adding the “divine” to its title when Father Divine took over the building in 1948. Today, traces of the Divine Lorraine’s legacy can hardly be noticed, as the walls of its exterior are tainted by graffiti, shattered windows, and an aesthetic that makes it appear less as a respected historical landmark and more as a haunted mansion.

Check out PhillyHistory’s writeup for further information on the Divine Lorraine’s rather unusual place in Philadelphia history.