Breaking: Divine Lorraine Will Likely Be Demolished Sunday, April 1, 2012
According to a couple of different sources, Lorraine Hotel LP, owners of the Divine Lorraine building as well as the large lot to its rear, are on the verge of selling off the building. The agreement, with an unknown buyer, will be contingent on separating the land that the building sits on from the extremely valuable vacant land to its east.
Though the building is certified historic both locally and nationally, a recent engineer's report has revealed several faults in the building's foundation that will be nearly impossible to repair. This was apparently caused by ineffectual weatherization efforts over the past several years, as well as a massive water leak a few years back. As a result of this report, demolition has become the building's most likely fate.
Currently, it looks as though a mix of market-rate and affordable housing units will replace the historic Divine Lorraine. This development will likely be designed by architects Blackney Hayes, the same folks who designed the green PHA development on the 2000 block of N. 11th St.
Despite this rapidly coalescing plan, there is still no clarity on Eric Blumenfeld's proposal to build four new schools behind the apparently doomed Divine Lorraine. That plan is still being considered, but a decision on it (as well as a few others that have materialized in recent weeks) is still probably months away.
In the meantime, we'll try to catch as many glimpses as possible of the Divine Lorraine in the near future. When she comes down later this year, it will certainly be a sad day for history and architecture buffs alike.