We were sort of skeptical when we first heard that the dilapidated Divine Lorraine Hotel was going to be converted into a state-of-the-art, utopian charter school, but it seems that school lunch provided by Marc Vetri may, indeed, become a reality.
Philly.com reports that developer Eric Blumenfeld is “in the process” of acquiring the now 120-year-old building, and he plans to transform it into a combined housing and commercial space- something akin to Blatstein’s Piazza, but much smaller and less bro’d out, presumably. As for the hybrid campus, that would actually be erected behind the Divine, where a large brownfield site currently houses abandoned toilets.
It turns out that Blumenfeld actually bought the Divine Lorraine back in 2003 for $5.6 million. He then sold it to its current holders, Amalgamated Bank, for $10.1 million in 2006. But Amalgamated Bank reportedly owes some $800,000 in back taxes, so, needless to say, the city is sort of hoping this deal goes down. Philly’s deputy mayor for economic, Alan Greenberger, told reporters, ”We’re certainly optimistic that [the owners] will transfer the property to Eric and his company so the building can be redeveloped.”