North Broad Reborn

14 September, 2018

With new restaurants and breweries popping up weekly and 1,500 new apartments either under construction or proposed, Philadelphia’s North Broad corridor is coming back to life. After a century of neglect, the former “Workshop of the World” is slowly returning to the vibrant hot spot it used to be for the nouveau riche of the industrial era.

Bohler’s Philadelphia design teams are proudly taking part in the revitalization, working on more than 15 sites along the four-mile corridor between City Hall and Germantown Avenue. On a number of these projects, we’ve worked closely with developer Eric Blumenfeld of EBRM, who specializes in the adaptive reuse of historic structures.

The following three projects will preserve the history of industrial-era North Broad, and incorporate it into the modern, revitalized community that is emerging.

Divine Lorraine Hotel

The Divine Lorraine Hotel

Constructed in 1893, The Lorraine Apartments building was formerly one of the most luxurious in the city. Purchased by a hotel company, and then later serving as the center for the Divine Peace Mission’s activities, the Divine Lorraine Hotel closed in 1999 and had been vacant for nearly 20 years.

When the property was transferred to developer Eric Blumenfeld in 2012, there was hope for the hotel. The project team transformed the 11-story building into 101 apartments, with 20,000 SF of restaurants and retail, a fitness center, and a lounge. The grand lobby has been restored to its 1933 state, with ornate molding and marble staircases, and the iconic sign remains on the rooftop.

Bohler provided civil engineering, surveying, permitting, and landscape architecture services for the project.

Architect Rendering of the Met

The Met Philadelphia

Bohler’s team is currently working on the restoration of an opera house. The 39,200 SF facility will be a concert venue, operated by Live Nation, and will include 5,600 SF of ground-floor restaurants. The opera house originally opened in 1908 as the largest theatre in the world at the time, with 4,000 seats.

Eric Blumenfeld aims to preserve many historic elements of the opera house, including crystal chandeliers, ornate moldings, giant pillars, and the 110-foot ceilings.

The venue aspires to be “a fusion of signature entertainment, remarkable food and unparalleled VIP guest experiences,” Live Nation said.

Bohler is providing civil engineering and permitting services for the project. Our team is also assisting with a complicated truck circulation plan that would accommodate large trucks for shows or tours and make it work with small surrounding city streets.

Mural Lofts

The Mural Lofts

Formerly the Thaddeus Stevens School of Practice, the five-story building was converted into 59 apartments, now named The Mural Lofts in honor of the iconic mural on the west side of the building. Many of the historic details from the original 1926 building have been restored and integrated into the apartment units, including classroom chalkboards, wood trim, and wood flooring. As part of the project, the team transformed the former gym into six bi-level apartments that highlight the arched windows.

Bohler provided civil engineering and permitting services.

To learn more about our team’s work on adaptive reuse and historic preservation projects, check out our project portfolio.

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