Renovation of Legendary Blue Horizon is, uh, on the Horizon

We were traveling up North Broad Street the other day and noticed some significant progress on the new building at 1310 N. Broad St., a project we first told you about a year and a half ago. You may recall, an unimpressive two story building stood at this address, which was most recently used as a banquet hall. With new ownership, the old building is now gone and a new five-story building is rising in its place. This building will have a bit of office space and will also include 21 units, and those apartments will surely target students at nearby Temple University. Consider this the little brother project to the recently completed Nest at 1324, the mid-rise apartment building just a few doors to the north which was surely built with a similar target market in mind.

View from the south
Closer look

In between these two projects is a vacant historic structure, the Legendary Blue Horizon. This building was originally constructed as private residences and transitioned into the home of Philadelphia Lodge 54, Loyal Order of the Moose in the early part of the 20th century. By the 1960s, the building was a widely used boxing gym, continuing to operate as such and as an event space until 2010. By 2015, with plans afoot to redevelop the property into a hotel, it was added to the local Historic Register, though this only applied to the exterior and not the gym within. We don’t know whether the historic designation froze the project or whether it was another factor, but as you can see in the image above, the building is still sitting unused.

But this shouldn’t be the case for very long. Developers Orens Brothers came to the Historical Commission earlier this year and presented plans to demolish everything but the facade of the building and to construct a hotel on the site. This hotel will be on the small side, rising only 5 stories and including 140 rooms. Per the Inquirer, this will be a Moxy Hotel, a Marriot brand that targets younger guests. In case you’re wondering what that means, take it from their website, which says that “Moxy is for play… Jenga, karaoke, maybe a little game of spin the bottle? Here, you can get away with it.” Needless to say, Temple students won’t be encouraging their folks to book a room when they come to visit.

The Historical Application shows several renderings of the hotel, from Wulff Architects. These renderings give you a sense of just how much of the existing building will stick around in its current state and what kinds of changes to expect with the hotel conversion.

Rendering of the building
Overhead view
Closer look at the entrance
Another rendering view
Rear of the building is less exciting

It would have been much cooler if the entirety of the building could have been preserved and brought back to life as a boxing gym. But we’re not sure that was ever in the cards. Given the realities of the real estate market and the state of boxing fandom in America, this hotel plan is a pretty good outcome. The facade is being preserved and we don’t believe the addition will take away from its architectural presence. The use seems to make sense, given the lack of hotels in the immediate area. And sure, the rear of the building looks like a hotel off a highway in the suburbs, but that’s not a dealbreaker for us.

The developers pulled a zoning permit last month, which means they could be just a few months away from building permits and groundbreaking. So maybe pencil that spin the bottle game into your calendar for sometime at the end of 2021. At that point, just remember that “#atthemoxy there’s everything you would expect, and plenty you wouldn’t, from a boutique hotel.” Whatever that means.