2317-25 N FRONT ST, on flames, just next to the former Bucks Hosiery Factory which burned to the ground.
2317-25 N FRONT ST, on flames, just next to the former Bucks Hosiery Factory which burned to the ground.

Due to some address confusion, earlier this morning I was unable to locate L&I records for the Rainbow/Payless store owned by Maverick Management Corp.    L&I has made a visit to this property once in the past and cited it for fire code violations.

Just a few months ago in October, in fact:

The violations are now marked as complied
The violations are now marked as complied

Among the items that were cited were fire extinguishers not having the appropriate inspection tags, illuminated exit signs in the building, and an exposed electrical junction box on “exterior 2nd floor” according to the inspector’s notes.   All the violations are now marked in the system as complied.   The last time L&I touched this record was February 6, just two weeks ago.

L&I has apparently been inside the building before the fire and everything appeared to be normal.  So, how did this fire begin?

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2317-25 N FRONT ST, on flames, just next to the former Bucks Hosiery Factory which burned to the ground.
2317-25 N FRONT ST, on flames, just next to the former Bucks Hosiery Factory which burned to the ground.

A mortgage satisfaction piece found in City records have uncovered a strong association with the owners of the Kensington fire building and a number of other properties.  They include:

30-36 S 52nd Street

5235 Chestnut Street

5237 Chestnut Street

5239 Chestnut Street

2315 N Front Street

2317 N Front Street (site of the current fire)

2319, 2921, 2323, 2325 N Front Street

934-36 W Lehigh Avenue

2649-53 Germantown Avenue

4061-75 Lancaster Avenue 

A rapid tour through this portfolio shows that most of it is large retail commercial space that’s mostly the home of the Family Dollar and Rainbow chain stores.  The mortgage document was signed by a man named Alvin Miller.  The deed to the property reveals that the building used to be owned by Miller Family Limited Partnership until being sold to the Brooklyn owners.

Mortgage Satisfaction – Front Emerald Partners

2315 N FRONT DEED

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From the press release issued by the church:

SAINT LAURENTIUS CHURCH WORSHIP SITE
TO BE CLOSED IMMEDIATELY FOR SAFETY REASONS

The Saint Laurentius Church worship site in the Fishtown section of Philadelphia will be immediately closed until further notice. The building has been examined on multiple occasions over the past several months by an independent engineering firm. An inspection conducted earlier this week led to a recommendation to close the site. This recommendation was accepted by the Archdiocese, which authorized the closure out of concern for the safety of parishioners, students and the surrounding community.

In accordance with requirements set forth by the City of Philadelphia’s Façade Ordinance Bill that was enacted in 2010, an initial façade inspection was performed by independent engineers on the Saint Laurentius Church building during fall 2013. That process revealed a number of outstanding maintenance issues including vertical cracks in the brownstone masonry, improperly completed cement patch repairs, and deteriorated faces of brownstone. Protective scaffolding and netting was installed around the church building in an effort to maintain the safety of parishioners and members of the community.

As a result of a follow up inspection conducted this week, structural engineers have noted that the condition of the building has greatly deteriorated because of the weather this winter and is in imminent danger of a collapse.

The future of the church building is still being considered. All masses will be celebrated at Holy Name of Jesus Church moving forward. The Archdiocese of Philadelphia will continue to work with parish leadership, engineering consultants and the City of Philadelphia to ensure the immediate safety of parishioners, students and the community at-large.

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The sun roof at the former bank building, 1942 N Front [HiddenCity]
Hope Street Neighbors For Better Living, one of the newest RCOs to form in Kensington, can breathe a sigh of relief.  The former Ninth National Bank and Industrial Title and Trust Savings Company, better known as 1942-58 N Front Street, which was slated to be demolished to make way for a jammed-packed zero-income housing development for Women’s Community Revitalization Project didn’t pan out.

Women’s returned the property to its original owner, Norris Square Civic Association.

NSCA is now wondering if anyone else wants a shot at developing the property, which includes two deteriorating bank buildings under the Market-Frankford Elevated.  The community development corporation has now circulated this RFP looking for anyone interested in developing the parcel, which sits extremely close to the Berks EL station and a quickly-growing community to the east in Kensington and Fishtown.

One item on the RFP mentions one requirement: a need to avoid zoning variances.

Residents in Fishtown and Kensington raised deep reservations about the Women’s proposal given that it would include no commercial space at all along Front Street, while residents that share the block on Hope Street objected to a parking curb cut along Hope Street which is very narrow and has no available parking.

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