When the doors officially closed in 1999, the future of the Divine Lorraine Hotel was uncertain. The massive hotel sat vacant for nearly 16 years, becoming a haven for graffiti artists and an impromptu shelter for some.
On Nov. 9, residents gathered on Broad Street near Fairmount Avenue as the iconic red sign was relit. Developer EB Realty Management hosted a block party in celebration of the soon-to-be reopened Divine Lorraine. The historic hotel-turned-apartment-complex has been in the midst of modern renovations totaling $44 million this year.
Despite being pushed back three times due to rain, attendees braved the weather to witness the sign light up again for the first time in more than 40 years. Kyle Sutera and Gina Fortune of Francisville said that they had been waiting a long time to witness the sign fully aglow and they weren’t going to “let a little rain stop [them].”
“This sign lighting represents years of hard work by so many to bring this building back,” said Ed Casella, a regional property manager with EB Realty.
Food trucks lined the street for people to enjoy. Guests enjoyed free popcorn provided by Big Brothers Big Sisters Southeastern Pennsylvania. Laura Leibert, a Temple alumna, brought her family to witness the historical event.
The sign was lit just after 6 p.m.