The historic facade of the Blue Horizon building on North Broad Street is to become the face of a new “micro-hotel” under Marriott’s millennial-focused Moxy brand, opening a new chapter for the storied North Philadelphia boxing venue site.
Plans call for a five-story building that would rise behind the facade of the 154-year-old building at 1314-16 N. Broad St., between Thompson and Master Streets, which is listed on Philadelphia’s Register of Historic Places, according to documents posted Tuesday to the website of the Philadelphia Historical Commission.
As a micro-hotel with small rooms aimed at cost-conscious travelers who plan to spend most of their visits out and about, the Moxy would join the Pod Hotel under construction near the southeast corner of 19th and Ludlow Streets in Center City.
It would also join the hotel under Hilton’s Canopy brand that is planned in the Market East area’s Stephen Girard Building as another major hotel operator’s “lifestyle” brand set to open in a historic Philadelphia building.
Marriott International Inc. operates more than 35 Moxy hotels in North America, Europe and the Asia Pacific region, the company said in a release earlier this month announcing new locations in Tennessee, Georgia and Kentucky.
The Moxy brand aims to appeal to young, budget-minded travelers with smallish rooms boasting contemporary design flourishes, TVs outfitted with Netflix, Hulu and other streaming services, and “selfie photo booth elevators," Marriott said.
The company did not immediately respond to an email seeking details about the project at the Blue Horizon site. The Philadelphia hotel will comprise 140 guest rooms, according to the plans on the website of the Historical Commission, whose architectural committee will review the proposal Jan. 22.
The $22 million project is being developed by a partnership between Orens Bros. Real Estate Inc. and Mosaic Capital Partners, both of Philadelphia.
What became the Blue Horizon was built in 1865 as a trio of rowhouses that were acquired about a half-century later by the Loyal Order of Moose, which made the property its headquarters after adding a ballroom and auditorium, according to the developers' Historical Commission submission.
By the 1960s, the property had become a world-renowned boxing venue, where “fighters fought in front of standing-room-only crowds in the 1,200-seat arena,” according to the documents. “The Blue came to epitomize the ideal of the Philadelphia fighter. More than 30 future champions, including Joltin’ Jeff Chandler, Harold Johnson, heavyweight Tim Witherspoon, and longtime middleweight title holder Bernard ‘The Executioner’ Hopkins, honed their skills in its ring.”
The boxing venue closed in 2010 and received its historic designation in 2015.