February 25, 2015 |
Saying he had serious concerns about the city's oversight of demolitions, City Controller Alan Butkovitz subpoenaed voluminous documents from the Department of Licenses and Inspections on Monday. In a letter to L&I Commissioner Carlton Williams, Butkovitz said he was launching an investigation into the department's adherence to stringent safety rules enacted after the Center City building collapse that killed six people in 2013. His action comes one day after The Inquirer reported that L&I allowed an illegal demolition at 26th and Poplar Streets last year.
February 12, 2015 |
Less than a month after Camden officials trumpeted the launch of a project to demolish nearly 600 of the city's abandoned properties, the company that signed on for most of the work has backed away from the deal. National Demolition & Recycling, the Hamilton, N.J., company that submitted winning bids for 531 of the properties slated for teardown, told the city in a letter last week that it was withdrawing, citing concerns over asbestos removal as one reason. Camden spokesman Vincent Basara said the city had discussed the asbestos issues with the company before bidding took place.
February 11, 2015 |
The Fairmount Park Welcome Center - the 1960 flying-saucer-shape building in John F. Kennedy Plaza, a favorite of mid-century design enthusiasts - leads a list of seven endangered sites issued Monday by the statewide educational and advocacy group Preservation Pennsylvania. The round building, at the southwest corner of what is known as LOVE Park, is threatened by a planned city redesign of the plaza. No design decision has been made, but the Welcome Center's precarious place in the city's future prompted the Preservation Alliance of Greater Philadelphia to name it one of four "Places to Save" last year.
January 22, 2015 |
With the crack of metal against wood, and a rumble that briefly shook the sidewalk, the ornate molding that pointed skyward from the roof of the Louis Street house disappeared Tuesday morning into the jaws of an excavator's bucket. Within an hour, most of the building was on the street in a pile of bricks and debris, soon to be hauled away. The long-vacant house at 1510 Louis in Camden's Whitman Park neighborhood, one of many that officials say have harbored crime over the years, was gone by Tuesday afternoon.
December 31, 2014 |
The terra-cotta roof and sprawling stone building are iconic in Chester, a sign on East Ninth Street of the city's prosperous past. The red wooden doors of the 120-year-old building are now warped, and its windows are boarded up. The historic Third Presbyterian Church could face the wrecking ball - unless a local preservation group is able to save it and raise enough money to restore it. To the Presbytery of Philadelphia, the building is...
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.