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Developer comes into possession of historic hotel for second time in eight years

10/3/2012 | Real Estate Blog

On Tuesday, developer Eric Blumenfeld, for the second time in eight years, came into possession of the historic Divine Lorraine Hotel on North Broad Street. Blumeneld, an active developer on North Broad Street, reportedly gained title to the property at a sheriff’s sale on Tuesday after being the sole bidder on the 11-story building.

The Divine Lorraine Hotel has recently become a focus of economic development efforts by Mayor Nutter. According to Nutter, improvement of the Hotel is key to the revival of North Broad Street. Without improvement of the building, the area will continue to look blighted.

The process by which Blumenfeld came into possession of the Divine Lorraine was a two-step one. Having bought an outstanding note on the property on Monday form the New York-based Amalgamated Bank, he gained title to the property at the auction on Tuesday, agreeing to pay off all liens and city taxes attached to the property. The value of both the mortgage and liens is $8,054,104.39.

Blumenfeld plans to take immediate action to finalize plans, permits and financing for the renovation project. Part of the plan is to convert the building into 126 rental apartment, including 25 units that could be leased for subsidized, affordable rates to lower-income tenants. The ground floor would reportedly be used for restaurants or food outlets. In total, the project is expected to cost around $43.5 million.

The Divine Lorraine, a 118-year-old old building, was the city’s first high-rise luxury apartment building. It received a historical marker from the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission in 1994 and was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 2002 because of its significance in the areas of both architectural and civil rights.

Source: Philadelphia Inquirer, “The Divine Lorraine Hotel on North Broad Street has a new owner: developer Eric Blumenfeld,” Jennifer Lin, October 3, 2012