Suit Corner Is Engulfed By Fire

suit-cornerFirst it was Shirt Corner, the iconic clothing retailer at Third and Market. The retailer went out of business, the building was slated for redevelopment, the redevelopment was scrapped due to structural issues, then it (unexpectedly?) collapsed during demolition. Fans of historical buildings and classic type mourn.

Now, across the street, Suit Corner — which also had a similarly iconic facade, but was still serving customers after 50+ years — has gone up in flames. The fire started this morning, and has apparently destroyed the business, according to news reports.

For more on this story and for updates as it develops, head over to Philly Mag News & Opinion: Suit Corner Fire Is Under Control (Updated)

Image of Suit Corner via Google Street View.

Morning Headlines: L&I and Shirt Corner Owner Had Prepared for Possible Collapse

Photo credit: Joe Coufal

Photo credit: Joe Coufal

A 40-foot wall that careened down while JPC Group workers carried out the Shirt Corner’s assigned demolition caused the site’s partial premature collapse on Thursday. At least, this is what Leo Addimando — the property’s owner — said during yesterday’s press conference.

Addimando said that although the fall of the wall wasn’t planned, he was aware of the possibility. L&I Commissioner Carlton Williams added that it was for this reason that “every safety precaution had been taken,” particularly in light of the June building collapse at 22nd and Market.

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PHOTOS: Shirt Corner Collapse Part of a Controlled Demolition

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[This post was updated at 5:30 p.m. to reflect new information from a 4 p.m. L&I press conference]

The aftermath of the collapse at the Shirt Corner at Third and Market Streets this afternoon was ugly, but, according to the demolition team, it went mostly according to plan.

“It was a demolition job and the side wall spilled out onto the street, ” said Mark Christof, a superintendent with Constructure Management Inc. “The building is so close to the street that even the bricks flying out there could’ve hurt somebody. But they positioned people all the way around the whole perimeter to make sure everybody was out of the way before it happened.”

The collapse occurred as the demolition crew attempted to remove the top two floors of 257 Market Street. As a piece of machinery pulled on the building, a portion of the structure buckled and fell onto 259 Market Street, which crumbled from the weight of the debris.

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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.)

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Morning Headlines: Shirt Corner Demo Begins Tomorrow

Shirt Corner via Google Street View

Shirt Corner via Google Street View

Tomorrow, demolition of the Shirt Corner at 3rd and Market is expected to commence.

In October it seemed the historic part of the Old City staple would be saved thanks to the restoration firm Powers and Company. Developer Alterra Group was set to refurbish the 19th-century buildings up until last month. But when alarming wall cracks were discovered during renovation preparations, preservation plans had to be scrapped.

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