By Paul Kurtz

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — The long vacant Divine Lorraine Hotel in North Philadelphia is one step closer to a comeback, this time as a destination for renters (see related story).

Developer Eric Blumenfeld has picked up the title to the Divine Lorraine at a sheriff’s sale price of just over $8 million.

His plan is to convert the abandoned landmark into a high-rise apartment complex of 126 units, including some subsidized apartments for low-income residents.  Shops for foodies will line the ground floor level (see previous story).

Blumenfeld has already left his mark on a couple of other buildings in the area, but the development of the decaying 118-year-old Divine Lorraine is considered to key to revitalizing the North Broad Street corridor.

“Now it’s coming upscale,” says Shankur Donepudi, who owns a nearby pharmacy, “and I think you can pretty much see it’s a little bit safer now, it’s a very good neighborhood. And that building will give us good exposure, with all kinds of people walking around. It’ll be nice.”

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