Just a stone’s throw away from Temple University at 1314 N. Broad Street, the Legendary Blue Horizon currently sits unused. The building has a long and interesting history: built in 1865 in the French Second Empire architectural style (same as City Hall) as three separate mansions for rich guys, it was combined in 1914 into one large building for the fraternal organization, Loyal Order of the Moose. It was at this time that a ballroom, bar and auditorium was added; in 1961 it was sold and renovated again to become the boxing arena we’ve all come to know. It operated for years, hosting about 1,500 fans per event, with local and rising boxing stars passing through its doors; it was also a venue for weddings, meetings and parties. In 2002, David McShane painted a mural on the northern side of the building, featuring legendary boxers Muhammed Ali, Joe Frazier, George Foreman, and Larry Holmes. Once voted best boxing ring in the world, Blue Horizon was forced to close in 2010 due to mounting tax and utility bills.
Earlier this year, the Legendary Blue Horizon was granted $6M by the state of Pennsylvania, one of forty Philly projects that were granted a slice of Ed Rendell’s “I’m leaving office anyway, so here’s a $100M going away present for Philadelphia” pie. Starting with that money and investing millions more, Mosiac Development Partners and Orens Bros. are teaming up to rescue the building and redevelop the site. Since the property is zoned C-2, it really could be transformed into almost anything – an office building, restaurant, school, entertainment venue, bank, or retail, just to name a few uses. According to one of the partners, Greg Reaves, they considered renovating the building again to continue the hosting boxing events, but instead decided that its location on North Broad Street, between the new addition to the PA Convention Center and ever-expanding Temple University, would be perfect for a hotel and restaurant. He noted that the project would cost an overall $18M (give or take a few bucks), and construction is slated to begin in early 2012.
As renderings come along, we’ll be sure to provide updates.