We Went to the Divine Lorraine Popup Yesterday

People are obsessed with the Divine Lorraine. Perhaps that's why so many folks flipped out about our 2012 April Fools prank, when we declared that the wonderful building, vacant since the mid-1990s, would be demolished. That seems like a really long time ago, as everyone now knows that EB Realty Management Corp is renovating this gem of North Broad Street into a residential building with restaurants below. The first floor of the building has been opened to the public a couple of times since construction began two years ago, and a pop-up event yesterday offered another opportunity for a peek inside. A line stretched out the door and along Ridge Avenue, with wait times creeping up toward an hour at some points.

People waiting to get inside

Almost as long as the line to get Louis CK tickets

Once we got inside, we discovered that the first floor of the Divine Lorraine still has a long way to go. Not only can you see the building's decayed glory, but you can also get a feel for what EBRM has in store for the space.

Lobby space

Back of the lobby

Same view, in the past

One of the original staircases, in rough shape

Similar staircase, in the past

We were fortunate enough to get a tour of the basement space as well, where some eventual restaurant tenants will have a large canvas to create something new and interesting. Similar to the first floor, the basement has many unique architectural details but still needs plenty of work. All in good time.

Section of Divine Lorraine basement. Ready to move in!

Another section of the basement. Windows will be added.

Basement in the annex

CBRE has been retained to lease space in the building, with developer Eric Blumenfeld hoping for a restaurant, a speakeasy, and a cafe in the Divine Lorraine and another restaurant in the annex building. Some lit from CBRE provided us with floor plans for the basement and first floor spaces.

Floor plan for the first floor

Basement plan

A few of the upper floors are nearly finished, with windows coming in the next month or so. A few leases have already been signed for those units, further indicating the level of excitement for this project. Once the windows come in, we'll try to get a tour of some of the upper floors to give an update on the progress up above. At that point, perhaps we'll even know who will be taking over the space in the basement and on the ground floor.