Umm, every floor, especially the little hallway with the arch that goes between the two towers out front, is littered with used hypodermic needles. I shouldn't have said "crackheads". Heroin addicts are more likely the cause of the fire.
This room has plastic bottles filled with urine, empty orange and grape soda cans, empty bags of Funions, pages torn from pornographic magazines, empty boxes from a Chinese restaurant, candles, bent blackened spoons, empty matchbooks, tiny little blue and pink plastic ziplock baggies about the size of a nickel, pieces of hollow car attenna with burned black on one end, a busted lawn chair and at least a dozen used hypodermic needles.
Last edited by Radical Ed; 04-03-2012 at 10:15 AM.
"Fearlessly the idiot faced the crowd..."
the fire was probably started by some hipster. they are constantly breaking in to snap pictures of eachother.
Some of the proposals for the Divine Lorraine have been so silly, I used to hope it would burn to the ground before we had to hear another one. But this...this is awesome. And not all that kooky. I love this.
Resurrecting the Divine Lorraine
I'm still for Laser Tag.
Not happening. However, I have it on good authority that there is a well-funded organization that already has a stake in the area pursuing the redevelopment of this building, and everyone is going to hate it. It will be a blot on the renaissance of North Broad and must be stopped. So I'll put up $10,000 to fund a market rate apartment conversion. All I need is 6,000 other people to match my contribution and we should be in business.
Looking now, it becomes almost hard to imagine that the Divine Lorraine wasn't purpose-built for this.
Scottish National War Memorial, Edinburgh
Mausoleum of Augustus, Rome
Metairie Cemetery, New Orleans
Clever idea but probably the wackiest so far.
I used to look at the Divine Lorraine and see a thing of beauty that needed to be preserved, but it's really aged poorly at an accelerated rate over the past 10 years. I think that maybe the proper course of action is to knock it down and start over at the site. I think that all of the fuss over it's preservation is getting in the way of overall development and improvements on North Broad.
there is no circumstances where it is acceptable to knock it down.
I think the Divine Lorraine's recent hipster infatuation has led to some bat **** crazy proposals, and its undesirable location has left preservationists with little to offer. Let's face it, no developer is going to turn it into apartments or condos right now. Even with tax breaks or assistance, the city can't afford to offer anyone a deal good enough to make this building profitable. The real tragedy is that this building wasn't only habitable 15 years ago, it was inhabited. Had it been converted into apartments that the market on North Broad could afford, the developer would have turned a modest profit and the building would be just fine. Instead, the developer took a gamble on the Roaring 00's, gutted the place to a shell, and lost. So now the city is saddled with a completely unusable burden that everyone wants to save, but no one is willing to save.
Philadelphia's historic community is reactionary at best, which is sad for a town with such a huge stock of old ****. Where were they when the developer was ripping the building apart? No one questioned a developer who wildly assumed anyone was going to spend hundreds of thousands of dollars to live on North Broad.
what if they just redid the ground floor of the building and the top floor of the building and wall off the floor in between and call it a day? The can put in fake windows in between and the LED lights in the windows (like that picture). 90% of that building is unusable given the space constraints and the high cost to retro fit it. Put retail on the 1st floor and a banquet hall (think top of of tower on logan square) on the top floor overlooking the city. The city would then adjust the property taxes as if only the usable space is the 2 floors. Think of it as the Granary, the only usable space of that building is the bottom and top floors.
That's kind of what happened with the other Hale Building on Chestnut, although the vacant floors weren't secure, simply abandoned. But the fact that the building wasn't entirely shuttered has kept it in tact. I think preservationists have an all-or-nothing attitude towards this building, though. Well, towards anything really. I wonder how they'd react to this idea.
This idea reminds me of what Detroit did to their abandoned skyscrapers during the Super Bowl. They put up fake curtains and some interior lights so fans taking the People Mover to the stadium wouldn't be traveling through Bladerunner.
This is actually one of the reasons cited in the article for why the columbarium idea, weird as it sounds, actually makes some sense. If we must rule out the residential option, and if we can probably rule out Class Z office space as well, that leaves extremely few revenue-positive uses for the building. There are also aesthetic arguments to be made, but those are secondary: the chief one is practical.
The neighborhood is only going to evolve into a better place by getting people to move there, and recently developers seem to think the only way to transform a place is to ignore evolution and install granite counter tops and charge more than anyone can afford. Since when is a basic apartment building a bad idea? Oh well, it's too late now.
Gutted and cleaned out is alot different then running new electric, plumbing, heating, elevator, remodel etc. You can run just the bare minimum in terms of building emergency support systems (think of a parking deck on top of a building). That way if there is a fire, you have a detector & sprinker and fire fighting equipment. But you wouldnt have to worry about hiding a sprinker system. The pipe and head can be out in the open. Im sure there is a cost. The real prohibitive cost is the fact you have these little 200 sf rooms. Even studio apt
Why wouldnt insurers do that? Insurance is for the building it self. Yes there would be a cost associated with those floors but since there is nothing valueable on those floors, you are just insuring the structure not any property or build out on the inside. Insurers will write you a policy for anything.
The existing Granary. It was used as an office the 1st floor and condo on the top floor. The space in between was empty.
My idea is a temporary one since one one is going to expand in that area until the eyesore is gone. Developers will continue to build out the rest of francisville and callowhill before that touch that area.
"A basic apartment building" can be a good idea, but that's just not what the Divine Lorraine is. Sure, the developers could have proceeded just as you described, and lost their shirts. And even if they found some kind of magic formula for profitability, the West Poplar NAC would FUBAR it with incessant meddling. It's all immaterial now though, since, like you say, the chances of the DLH becoming a residential address again are extremely slim. The chances of it becoming anything again are probably slim, but less so.
(By the way, have you ever been inside the Adelphia House? It's one of the most Lynchian buildings in Philadelphia. All you need is Dennis Hopper and it's the Deep River Apartments. It inhabited and the DLH deserted have roughly the same creep factor.)
The fact of the matter is that the Divine Lorraine's prospects are fewer and fewer. If there's any hope left for the place, it's in a purpose that is inventive, lucrative, and at the same time practicable in a promising but sketchy, high-risk neighborhood.