Divining North Philly's future
North Philadelphia remains one of the nation's most economically depressed inner-city areas, but there are signs of revitalization. One highly visible symbol of blight is the Divine Lorraine hotel, a 118-year-old glorious ruin on North Broad Street, about a half-mile north of Center City and a mile south of Temple University. The Divine Lorraine, which in the 1940s became the first hotel of its class to be racially integrated in the US, has recently been purchased by a developer who plans 126 rental apartments, 25 subsidized as affordable, and ground-floor retail. At the same time, a transit-oriented development to the east of Temple University by Jonathan Rose Companies and designed by Wallace, Roberts & Todd is nearing completion. The two-acre project will have first-floor retail, second floor office, and 164 apartments, 44 subsidized as affordable. With revitalization occurring along both rivers and around Temple, redevelopment could connect Center City to the university via a revitalized Broad Street. That development would still leave vast poor areas in North Philadelphia, yet change the character of several neighborhoods within a mile and a half, and to the north, of downtown.
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