22nd and Market Memorial Park Names Artist

building collapse

Photo of woman at demolition site paying honor to one of the collapse victims. Photo: Laura Kicey.

The most recent Center City Residents Association Newsletter has an update on the memorial park proposed for 22nd and Market, the site of the June 2013 building collapse responsible for the death of seven people: artist Barbara Fox has been selected to design the memorial sculpture. From the newsletter:

As for her winning concept, Fox says she wanted the families to be able to personalize the memorial for themselves. “My idea was to have windows in a house-shaped piece, and each victim’s family could customize how the window would look so that it would mean something to them, like the color of the glass or the texture of the glass. The name of each of the six victims would be etched into the granite over each window. Then, there would be a seventh window for individuals who were injured in the collapse. Above that window it would say ‘for those we remember’. “

All due respect to Fox, who was obviously speaking very preliminarily, let’s memorialize the death of seven people, rather than six, so that Ronald Waggenhoffer is not forgotten. (In case you have forgotten him, read this piece about his suicide.) He was a victim too, and deserves his own window.

Contractor: Building Owner Was on Site at Time of Collapse

The owner of the former Hoagie City building at 22nd and Market was on site when it collapsed last year onto an adjacent Salvation Army store and killed six people, a building contractor charged with murder in the incident says.

A lawyer for the contractor, Griffin Campbell, told Philly.com owner Richard Basciano was on site with his wife Lois when the collapse happened, but left immediately after.

Read more »

Morning Headlines: Nutter and Clarke Propose Opposing Plans For Department of Licenses and Inspections

Photo by Bradley Maule from  June 5, 2013 collapse at 22nd and Market.

Photo by Bradley Maule from June 5, 2013 collapse at 22nd and Market.

Since the June 2013 building collapse (and an unknown number of other crumbling properties), the Department of Licenses and Inspections has been under particular scrutiny. Excuses ranging from a dearth in funds to simply having its hands tied have been heard time and again, which may be why the department will soon get an overhaul.

CBS Philly’s Mike Dunn reports Mayor Nutter and Council President Darrell Clarke will be presenting their respective proposals for restructuring L&I today, but appear to be going in opposite directions for how to go about it:

Mayor Nutter is expected to release the recommendations of a task force he created after the Market Street tragedy. The chief recommendation will be a restructuring of the city administration, so that the Department of Licenses and Inspections is split in two.

One new department would oversee all demolition and construction in the city. The other would handle L&I’s other functions like permitting.

Meanwhile, Clarke has a different idea… Read more »

Morning Headlines: Roof Collapses At For Pete’s Sake Pub Building

Photo credit: Google Street View

Photo credit: Google Street View

Nobody was hurt, but that was a close one! The building that houses For Pete’s Sake Pub in Queen Village partially collapsed yesterday around 3:30pm. According to Philly.com, L&I is looking into what could have caused the roof of the three-story property (with apartments on the top two floors) to fall through.

Thus far, L&I Commissioner Carlton Williams said “a zoning permit for interior renovations of the second and third floors” was granted to Peterbuilt Construction back in June. That permit was changed a few weeks ago to include floors and stairs, and an L&I inspector paid a visit to the site just last week to go over “building and fire safety with the contractor.”

No violations have been found at the site.

L&I probes partial building collapse in Queen Village [Philly.com]

In other news…

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Should the Building Collapse Site Become a Memorial Park?

Before and after? Photograph by Claudia Gavin

A conceptual rendering of the park demonstrates how it might look. Photograph by Claudia Gavin

Let me come right out and say it: I think the memorial park planned for the site of last year’s building collapse at 22nd and Market is misguided. This isn’t a position that will endear me to anyone related to the seven people who lost their lives as a result of the disaster, or to the 13 injured or their families. But I think it’s important to evaluate the decision from a dispassionate point of view. As Ed Bacon might have said, “There’s no crying in planning.”

The truth is, today’s Philadelphians are temporary custodians of a city defined by its longevity. We take care to maintain the city as a historical record — not only of itself, but of the nation since its founding. And when we create something new, we act as the city’s interpreters. Future generations of tourists will flock to sites we deem significant, so we must be judicious.

My primary objection to the memorial park is within this long-lensed context. I can’t help but feel that from a historical point of view — whether in terms of lives lost, destruction of property, or larger sociopolitical implications — the park is a disproportionate response to last year’s devastating event.

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Morning Headlines: Butkovitz at Odds with L&I Over Demolition Safety

Photo by Bradley Maule from  June 5, 2013 collapse at 22nd and Market.

Photo by Bradley Maule from June 5, 2013 collapse at 22nd and Market.

City Controller Alan Butkovitz released an audit of L&I’s demolition procedures, and the results weren’t pretty. Neither was Commissioner Carlton Williams’ response to the report, which he characterized as being one big misinterpretation and full of false conclusions. We’re nearing on the one-year anniversary of the collapse at 22nd and Market that killed six people, and no one is happy.

The Daily News‘ William Bender lays it out this morning:

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. He also questioned whether L&I actually visited all the sites it claimed its staffers had inspected following the Market Street collapse.

Yikes. According to the audit, Butkovitz could find no supporting documentation for 210 of the department’s 442 demo sites.

Williams blamed a complicated system.

“I think that the system is so complicated and antiquated that it’s hard to decipher the information presented,” he said. “Ultimately, it led to some misconceptions.”

Williams said that the 442 demolition sites were, in fact, inspected and that the inspectors did not skip any steps, as the audit alleged. But he acknowledged that the department needs a better data system.

Bender says L&I’s new Project eCLIPSE system is slated to be working by the end of 2015, bringing with it better reporting and accounting.

Is Philly safer? Butkovitz sys no; L&I says he’s confused [Daily News]

More morning headlines this way… Read more »

L&I Says Rowhome Collapse That Caused Injuries “Is Not a Big Deal”

strawberry mansion rowhome

A Google Street View image shows 3026 and the surrounding homes in 2011.

Around 10:40 this morning, a large chunk of an imminently dangerous building on West Diamond Street fell on top of two workers for Gama Wrecking. A witness to the events at 3026 Diamond told Action News “it was a freak accident, wrong place at the wrong time.”

It’s an unfortunate reality that demolishing imminently dangerous buildings — L&I’s current bailiwick — is itself a dangerous task, even when, as in this case, workers adhere to every safety regulation and procedure and wear all required gear.

Read more »

Was Shirt Corner’s Collapse Planned?

Shirt Corner via Google Street View

Shirt Corner via Google Street View

The building known as Shirt Corner at Third and Market is gone, having collapsed entirely today. Its dissolution isn’t a surprise as L&I ordered it to be demolished in January and work to that end was under way. It was scheduled to be finished in a week. But was this collapse part of the demolition plan? Or was it a little hiccup in the process?

The Philadelphia Business Journal’s Jared Shelly spoke with Constructure Management’s Mark Christof, who said it was a “controlled demolition.” The Journal also got an email from Alterra’s Leo Addimando, saying the “collapse” was “all planned and blessed by L&I and the fire department. We would have liked to keep the debris off the street but sometimes these things happen and we had taken necessary precautions in advance. No cause for alarm.”

Yet alarm was caused, as police and fire vehicles came to the scene, unaware of the plan. (Alarm was also raised on social media, surprisingly.)

Read more »

Partial Building Collapse at Ninth and Wharton

building-collapse-wharton

Perhaps due to snow and ice, the roof has fallen in on 848 Wharton Street, which, according to public record, is owned by Maria Olivieri of the Pat’s Steaks family. Looking at a Google image of the building before the roof collapse, it seems as though that part of it had some structural issues before the snow came. In the current photo, an orange sign suggests that the building had attracted some notice from L&I. A permit was granted and recently renewed for demolition of the interior, though without any structural changes.

Last March someone posted a complaint about the building on SeeClickFix titled “Dangerous Vacant Building”:

Read more »

Morning Headlines: Group Advocating Building Collapse Memorial Pushes Forward

Philadelphia Building Collapse

Last summer’s building collapse at 22nd and Market killed six people.

Less than five months from now will mark the one-year anniversary of the 22nd and Market streets building collapse, and one group has not forgotten. Their idea for an on-site memorial park may take some time to materialize, but for now they’re pushing for an interim memorial prior to the anniversary of the June 5th disaster.

An online petition for a memorial park has garnered 6,000 signatures since September. The petition’s creator, city treasurer Nancy Winkler, is one among a 15-member panel pressing for the memorial. The group consists of family members of the victims, as well as local leaders. Winkler is the mother of Anne Bryan, one of the six victims who perished in the disaster. Mayor Nutter has voiced his support and provided a liaison for the group.
Read more »

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