deadly building collapse on market street in philadelphia

building collapse

We see crumbling buildings and homes and even crumbling barns when we drive just about anywhere.  This is why municipalities and cities and states have to do a better job.  Accidents happen, and when they are construction accidents like this they are quite awful.  But a lot of crumbling buildings become unstable in the first place because they are allowed to rot.

So earlier today if you had the news or radio on you heard of the building collapse at 22nd and Market Streets in Philadelphia.  This would be the location I believe of a couple of blocks of building once owned by now deceased slumlord Sam Rappaport.  If you are familiar with this stretch of Market street from driving by, from what I can see it appears neighboring buildings (NBC10 reports Philadelphia Fire Department says TWO buildings) collapsed on that big Salvation Army store on the corner.

collapse

The photos I have are courtesy of a couple of different friends, one of whom works a couple blocks away and snapped a couple of photos with her cell phone camera.

NBC10 is reporting one fatality plus 13 others with injuries.  They have been covering this since it happened. They say a company called Griffin-Campbell

buildingThis is a truly awful thing and I hope the rest of the people pulled from the rubble will be o.k. The news has reported stories of selfless individuals who dove in as regular citizens to try to help people get out before first responders arrived.  If memory serves there used to be a fire house very close by.

They have search dogs on site sniffing about for additional people. STB Investments owns these collapsed buildings.  The Mayor of Philadelphia and Fire Commissioner announced that one of the owners (or partial owners?) of these buildings is still Times Square Porn King  Richard Basciano .

NBC10 Philadelphia Building Collapse, People Trapped      

By   Lauren DiSanto    |  Wednesday, Jun 5, 2013  |  Updated 11:34 AM EDT

A building in downtown Philadelphia has collapsed and authorities fear that multiple people may be trapped beneath the rubble.

As many as 10 people may currently burried beneath the collapsed structure according to Lloyd Ayers, Philadelphia Fire Commissioner and a frantic search is underway.

“There are firemen, police, construction guys digging out because I  believe people are down there. It’s crazy right now,” said Corey Vey who  works nearby.

At least a dozen people have been rescued already, according to eyewitnesses.

NBC10 Property History of Building Collapse

By  Dan Stamm  |  Wednesday, Jun 5, 2013  |  Updated 2:31 PM EDT

Here is a look at the property history of the building that collapsed on a Salvation Army resulting in one death and at least 13 injuries this morning in Center City Philadelphia.

According to city property records, STB Investments Corporation located on JFK Boulevard owns the property. STB paid $385,894 for the nearly 4,200-square-foot property at 2136-2138 Market Street in 1994.

The current market value for the property in nearly $2.6 million and the property is zoned as a multi-story office.

Inga Saffron, one of my favorite writers on things architecture for the Philadelphia Inquirer wrote about this stretch of Market Street in December 2012:

Changing Skyline: An opportunity on blight

By Inga Saffron, Inquirer Architecture Critic

Posted: December 29, 2012

Sam Rappaport’s empire of blight once extended clear across Center City’s midsection, from the Schuylkill to the Delaware, and beyond. But since his death in 1994, his heirs have shed his holdings, shrinking his domain to an archipelago of surface parking lots and shuttered stores. Some of Rappaport’s most notorious architectural victims, such as the Victory and PSFS buildings, have even gone on to lead productive lives again.

Much of what does remain of Rappaport’s kingdom is now controlled by Richard Basciano, a close friend and business associate who served for a time as executor of his estate. Dubbed “the undisputed king of Times Square porn” by the New York Times – back in those ancient days when Times Square and porn were synonymous – Basciano has hewed faithfully to Rappaport’s recipe on real estate: Hold tight onto properties. Invest nothing, even as your buildings crumble in full public view. And wait patiently for the big payday to come along….

Basciano says he is “fed up with the adult business” and now wants to clean up his act, particularly on two blocks at the western end of Market Street, where he helped maintain a red-light district for the better part of two decades. In an interview last week with Inquirer reporter Miriam Hill and myself, Basciano outlined plans to seek a developer for his holdings, starting with the 2100 block. The slumlord, it seems, wants to be a contender.

Of course, he needs the city’s help.

Basciano doesn’t own everything on those two blocks. Smack in the middle of the 2100 block is a city firehouse. An even bigger impediment to his dreams of real estate gold is that some parcels on the two blocks are owned by other people. Following the Rappaport script, they’re holding out for big bucks.

“They should be embarrassed for playing hardball,” Basciano sniffed, straight-faced, forgetting that he has turned down repeated offers for the 2100 block. The guy can act, as well as box.

Basciano wants City Hall’s help in acquiring the remainder of the 2100 block, so it will be more appealing to a buyer. He has already gone to see Deputy Mayor Alan Greenberger about doing a deal on the firehouse. Greenberger has told him the firehouse stays on the block