October 26, 2014 |
Donning a hard hat, Temple University Health System president and chief executive Larry Kaiser watched Friday as demolition workers pried out the 84-year-old cornerstone box - a time capsule of sorts - from behind the cornerstone of the Old Medical School Building. The handsome but obsolete edifice at Broad and Ontario Streets, dedicated in 1930, is cordoned off and vacant, and will soon be razed. No one knew what was in the tin container, a bit bigger than a toolbox. "This could be like Al Capone's vault," Kaiser quipped, referring to Geraldo Rivera's much-hyped, live-on-TV opening of one of the gangster's secret vaults.
October 15, 2014 |
Within a two-block stretch of Sheridan Street in Camden, 13 homes have boarded-up windows and bright-orange Department of Public Works stickers marking them for a demolition day that has yet to come. "I face four of them," said Valerie Roberts, 26, who grew up in the neighborhood and now lives on the 1200 block. "I would love to see them come down. They've been like that 15, 20 years, though. " For decades, Camden's 77,250 residents have lived among vacant dwellings, which drive down property values, harbor crime, and create upkeep nightmares for residents whose homes are attached to crumbling structures.
July 24, 2014 |
MORE THAN a year after a botched demolition on Market Street turned tragic, the official death toll may go up by one. Six people died and 14 more were injured in the immediate aftermath of the June 5, 2013, catastrophe, in which an unsupported wall from the demolition site fell onto an open Salvation Army store next door and crushed those inside. Yesterday, the widow of Danny Johnson, a shopper who was trapped under the rubble and died 23 days later, filed a wrongful-death suit against the property owner, contractor, architect and excavator operator of the demolition, as well as the Salvation Army.
June 22, 2014 |
It was lunchtime, and the building - a long-vacant Blockbuster Video store on Route 38 in Cherry Hill - had been nearly razed to make way for a new Super Wawa. But things went awry at 12:31 Friday, when a cinder block wall and a metal roof collapsed during the demolition, killing one worker and sending another to the hospital. The dead worker was a male day laborer who had been employed by a subcontractor for just two weeks, federal officials said Friday night. An official with knowledge of the accident said the victim was evidently inside what remained of the building even as its walls were being knocked down.
June 6, 2014 |
In North Camden, five men made their way down State Street on Wednesday morning, taking the city's problem of abandoned properties into their own hands, one building at a time. Broken windows and doors were replaced with sturdy boards decorated with painted foliage. Red flowers were planted along the sidewalk. Those in the group, all but one of whom live within a few blocks of where they were working, had jobs to keep them occupied and help pay the bills. "I feel like I'm cleaning up the city, giving it a better name," said Jose Porrata Jr., who lives around the corner.
May 24, 2014 |
Incomplete, inaccurate, or nonexistent data on privately contracted demolitions suggest that the city is not any safer than it was on June 5, when the collapse of a Center City building being razed resulted in the deaths of six people, the City Controller's Office announced Thursday. In a 31-page audit of the Department of Licenses and Inspections, Controller Alan Butkovitz slammed the agency for what he described as an ongoing "culture of informality" that "jeopardizes public safety.
May 23, 2014 |
ARE PHILADELPHIA'S demolition procedures significantly safer today than before the June building collapse at 22nd and Market streets that killed six people inside a Salvation Army thrift shop? The Department of Licenses & Inspections says yes. But City Controller Alan Butkovitz says L&I records are such a mess that it's difficult to know. Yesterday, Butkovitz released a blistering audit that alleged a "culture of informality" within L&I, which he said kept shoddy records and waived demolition-inspection requirements without explanation.
May 1, 2014 |
STRAWBERRY MANSION Two demolition workers in Strawberry Mansion were injured Tuesday when struck by a piece of brownstone that fell from a rowhouse next to a building they were bringing down, officials said. Two of the workers demolishing 3026 W. Diamond St. - owned by the Philadelphia Housing Authority - were leaving the site about 10:30 a.m. for a break when a piece of brownstone from 3028 W. Diamond fell on them, said Scott Mulderig, director of L&I's emergency services division.
April 29, 2014 |
Triumph Baptist Church wanted to grow. It bought an old suit factory in North Philadelphia in 1998, hoping to tear it down and build a house of worship. But over time, Triumph changed its plans. The vacant factory became an eyesore and hazard, leaving the city little choice but to demolish it in 2011 at a cost of $794,191 to taxpayers. The owners were supposed to reimburse the city for the work. Three years later, they haven't. Thus did 1801 W. Courtland Ave. join the list of 39,391 properties with "nuisance liens" - unpaid bills for sealing, cleaning, or demolition done at taxpayer expense by the Department of Licenses and Inspections.
March 19, 2014 |
DEMOLITION began yesterday on the ornate art deco interior of Center City's 86-year-old Boyd Theatre, three days after the Philadelphia Historical Commission granted the owner permission to gut it and make way for an eight-screen movie house. "There was a small crew there today doing no more than was approved in order to start reconstruction," said Matthew N. McClure of Ballard Spahr, attorney for the building's owner, Live Nation. On Friday, the commission approved a "financial hardship" demolition permit, accepting Live Nation's argument that it was not economically feasible to repurpose the theater, on Chestnut Street near 19th.