Does Starr’s Francisville Clean-Up Efforts Mean He’s Building a Restaurant at Divine Lorraine?

It looks like it could use a little sprucing up.
It looks like it could use a little sprucing up. Photo: Courtesy Preservation Alliance for Greater Philadelphia

The scuttlebutt about who would helm the restaurant component of the newly rehabbed property was already brewing before developer Eric Blumenfeld announced earlier this month that he had taken ownership of the forever derelict Divine Lorraine Hotel on North Broad Street. Much of that speculation and spitballing centers on Jose Garces, Marc Vetri and Stephen Starr. Though Garces has been in talks with the developer, and Vetri has a longstanding relationship with him and has two restaurants under his roofs, we suspect that Stephen Starr will ultimately emerge as the one who will build the anchor restaurant that Blumenfeld has said he wants to include in the redevelopment project.

How else would you explain why Starr, along with Blumenfeld and Mayor Michael Nutter, is leading a cleanup effort in and around Divine Lorraine tomorrow? A prepared statement from one of Starr’s reps that landed in our inbox this morning says that his catering division, Stephen STARR Events, is taking the lead in a little community service project called Divine Dream. From 9 a.m. to noon Starr staff, longterm community residents, business leaders, developers and local government officials will work together to clean up the Francisville neighborhood, which surrounds the hotel site, and Stephen STARR Events’ HQ. The cleanup will wrap around 11:30 at the Farmers Market near 19th and Parish streets, where SSE will host a community barbecue, and Mayor Michael Nutter will speak.

Earlier: Will Garces Be a Part of Developer Eric Blumenfeld’s Divine Intervention?
Vetri, Garces, or Starr: Who’s Going In at Divine Lorraine?