Morning Headlines: Strawberry Mansion Building Collapse Leaves One Injured

Philadelphia Building Collapse

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

An operational database of L&I complaints/incidents will be up and running by late 2015 — hopefully. Until then, building complaints and collapse incidents get public notice only in news accounts, like those about the building collapse in Strawberry Mansion on Monday.

The Daily News’ William Bender estimates it’s the fifth collapse in the past month. The building, which was cleaned and sealed by L & I in 2006, had been reported several times by local resident Mary Felder to no avail.

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Temple Gets a New Bar with a Second Floor Study


Temple University’s campus will get a new bar this spring when Masters Bar and Restaurant opens at 15th and Oxford Streets. The Temple News has more on the bar that is owned by G Lounge alum, Waylon Nelson and managed by John Bryne. The most interesting part might be the plans for the second floor.

Masters’ two-floor layout will house the main bar area on the first floor, and the owners hope to create a study-friendly atmosphere on the second floor for students looking to grab a drink or a bite to eat and get some work finished in the middle of the day. Master’s will offer free Wi-Fi on the second floor as well.

At night that second floor will become much more of a nightclub, complete with a dance floor.

New Bar plans to open on 15th and Oxford streets [Temple News]
Masters Bar and Restaurant

Morning Headlines: It’s Cold Outside, But Inside Shop Rite, There’s Dancing in the Aisles

shop rite

Photo by Maria Pouchnikova for Axis Philly

There were some who mourned the closure of the Tasty Baking factor in North Philadelphia, and wondered about the viability of Bakers Square, the shopping center that took its place. And though it took a long time to materialize, as these things do, the development has brought real meaning of a kind strip malls don’t typically provide.

The anchor supermarket Shop Rite, writes Natalie Pompilio for Axis Philly, is a purveyor of high-quality food in what used to be a food desert on the boundaries of four neighborhoods: Allegheny West, East Falls, Nicetown-Tioga and Hunting Park. Before the store opened, the nearest supermarket was two miles away. Two miles.

The options people did have were terrible. Says employee Tyrone Page Jr.: “The fruit was hot, the stuff was bad. They say how inner city children are obese. But what are they going to eat? All they have are chips and Chinese food.”

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Zillow’s Very Racist Reason for You to Move to Philly

Update (2:15 p.m.) A Zillow representative has called to inform me the website has taken the photo down. Better late than never!

Original post

Real estate blog Zillow recently published a list called “Ten Reasons to Move to Philadelphia.” Rocky Balboa, cheesesteaks: The list has all the hallmarks of a usual gloss over Philly. Plus a little casual racism tossed in.

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Penn Study: Philly Bodegas Are Slowly Killing Us

PennDesign professor Amy Hillier has a study out today that documents a large volume of ads for sugary drinks and cigarettes in the corner stores and grocery stores of…guess which Philly neighborhoods.

The report, released today, found a disproportionate concentration of “unhealthy” ads in low-income neighborhoods and at places that participate in the supplemental nutrition assistance program—sometimes called food stamps…Past research — also from Hillier ― shows that Philadelphia probably has more tobacco and sugary drink ads, at a higher density, than other cities.

As Newsworks notes, the city passed a law in 2012 deemed that no more than 20% of a store’s window/glass space can be used for advertising. As you might imagine, there’s been “little enforcement.”


Three Dudes Dress Up as Utility Workers, Terrorize Philly Couple

Well this is mildly terrifying. Three guys posing as utility workers, wearing bright green t-shirts and red and orange caps, allegedly stormed into and burglarized the home of a North Philly couple. But not before doing this:

“And by terrorize, I mean they actually went in there, they had flex cuffs, they tied both their hands and their ankles, and started pistol whipping them. They were all armed – they had guns – and they actually started pistol whipping them,” explained Philadelphia police Captain George Fuchs.

Incidentally, a PECO robot left me an “urgent” message on my cell phone this morning. But was it really PECO? I think I’ve found my reason not to find out. [6 ABC]

Headlines: Is L&I Mismanaged? Plus, ANOTHER Collapse

As we reported, City Council hearings on the building collapse at 22nd and Market continued yesterday with a raft of testimony from former L&I personnel, including onetime commissioners Fran Burns and Bennett Levin. While Burns was asked questions about the way demolition practices were implemented during her tenure, which lasted through last summer, Levin read an 11-page statement that was excoriating in tone. From the Inquirer:

Levin compared L&I’s duties to those of the Police and Fire Departments, suggesting that it had subordinated its public-safety responsibilities to “political expediency and economic development.” “No right-thinking person would tolerate managing either the Police Department or the Fire Department in the manner in which L&I has been managed,” Levin said…

The mayor rejected Levin’s characterization and list of examples of failed oversight, which included the Pier 34 disaster and another Richard Basciano-owned building that crumbled, ending the life of a judge. Nutter said Levin was out of touch. For more Inquirer coverage, go here.

In other news that doesn’t feel so much like other news, there was a partial building collapse in North Philadelphia overnight due to rain. An abandoned home on North 19th Street–vacant for a decade–fell in on itself, which was totally unsurprising to neighbors. From NBC 10:

Some residents of the North Philadelphia neighborhood, where a home partially collapsed Thursday afternoon, say they’ve filed complaints with the city about the abandoned home for years.

“I knew it was going to happen. It was just a matter of time,” said Shamika King.

For more on that particular instance of municipal negligence, go here.

• And speaking of demolition, intentional or otherwise, crews now turn to Sears building’s facade in Camden, says
• A Berwyn-based real estate company that has focused on New York is going to give some love to the Philly area, writes Natalie Kostelni
• “Screwdriver vs. power tool. That’s what led to Thursday’s roughly 12-hour strike at the Convention Center.” Now the strike is over. Good thing.

Fumo’s Halfway House Digs: Quite a Distance From His Fairmount Mansion

Here we have the building where Sen. Vince Fumo will stay now that he’s getting out of prison. The Kintock Group halfway house is such a bland building, it could have been built in the 1950s or 2010–it’s hard to say. It may be a step up from prison, but the neighborhood is probably not as good. Kintock is at 301 E. Erie Avenue, and as the photo demonstrates, it’s pretty desolate ’round those parts.

It’s a shame (for him) that Fumo can’t go back to his 29-room mansion in the Art Museum area on its loveliest street for his halfway house incarceration. He tried to sell the home, but it languished on the sale market. First listed at $5.5 million in 2008, it went on and off the market through 2010 at the same price with zero bites. But the IRS pounced on Fumo when he sold it to himself and his son in 2012. Still, the Office of Property Assessment website lists the home’s owner as Philadelphia Archbishop Dennis J. Dougherty, of 1723 Race Street–aka, the Basilica–who passed away in 1951.

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Bernard Hopkins Comes to Stunning Realization That He’s “an Alien”

48-year-old North Philly product Bernard Hopkins, the oldest world champion in boxing history, has decided to retire … his nickname. Shedding his longtime tag “The Executioner,” Hopkins has instead chosen “The Alien,” a nickname he apparently conceived of a month ago, mid-interview.

(“I’m an alien. I realized that I’m an alien!,” he said, after derisively mimicking Lance Armstrong, who due to his homo sapien status, infamously resorted to cheating.)

The new nickname arrives just in time (what a coincidence!) for his July 13th championship bout with German boxer Karo Murat, against whom he will defend the light-heavyweight championship he won earlier this year. [NY Daily News]

Property’s Morning Obsession: An Earthship Is Coming to Philadelphia

It was January of last year when a nonprofit formed with the goal of bringing an earthship–a unique sustainable-living dwelling constructed from found objects–to urban Philadelphia. earthships look like the kind of home Isaiah Zagar would build if he decided to live off the grid and relying entirely on natural sources for energy, food and water.

Since that time, the nonprofit has become the affectionately named LoveLovingLove Inc.; has partnered with Jonah Reynolds, the son of Earthship inventor Michael Reynolds; and has secured the land in North Philly where the earthship will be built. Reynolds also wants Philadelphia to have “the first Urban Earthship Biotecture Academy,” according to Grid.

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