Hundreds flock to tour the historic Divine Lorraine Hotel
NORTH PHILADELPHIA - For the first time in decades, the doors were open to the public to Philly's most famous abandoned building.
Hundreds lined up, the wait nearly 2 hours, all to get a glimpse of the past and the future of the Divine Lorraine Hotel.
Developer Eric Blumenfeld has now raised enough money to transform the graffiti filled eyesore.
It will soon boast more than 100 new luxury apartments, restaurants and shops.
The building is so popular, it's even got its own clothing line.
Designer Najeeb Sheikh said, "This is not just a typical building. This building has its own character and soul and it does mean a lot to a lot of people"
But the re-birth of the Divine Lorraine is bigger than one building. It also signals a coming of age for this North Broad Street neighborhood.
Nicky Strafella owns Jimmy's Steaks. He bought the property right across the street from the Divine Lorraine in 2009 and was banking on a renaissance. He's seeing it today.
Strafella said, "When a whole community goes right next door to your restaurant there's nothing more you can ask for."
He's not the only one. Property in the area is being gobbled up daily. Upscale restaurants are moving in. And the same developer renovating the Divine Lorraine is building more apartments a few blocks away.
Christopher Cordaro with EBRM said, "I think it's a catalyst for a lot of things for development in general, it's a catalyst for community involvement. It's a symbol."