Archive for the ‘Hou$ing/Real E$tate’ Category

First the tragedy on Market Street and more recently an excavation cave-in on South Street,  and just last year there was another L&I demolition debacle in West Philadelphia. Heck, you can go all the way back to 2006 and see that there was a serious building boom (boom as in the noise a building makes when it collapses) where, on many occasions, L&I gave developers a pass.

L&I does not seem to protect neighborhoods from reckless developers, so often the local civic association becomes the watchdog for hazardous or inappropriate projects.  Now it seems these heedless gentrifiers can simply shut down neighborhood groups that become bothersome like they did in Old City.  It’s called a SLAPP lawsuit and it’s chilling.

Having a city government with lax oversight of construction, coupled with bad laws that render even citizens’ groups powerless to stop bad development is a dangerous game…

citizencrush

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The blog, philadelinquency, has found a lot of dirt in the rubble of today’s collapse…A concerned citizen reported this accident-waiting-to-happen a MONTH AGO and L&I never responded.  Even AFTER the building collapsed, philly311 appeared to continue blowing off this citizen re: his complaint about the building.

So whaddaweknow so far?  L&I is notorious for not properly enforcing code violations on properties owned by connected (or maybe, bribe-offering?) “developers.”  (Just ask folks in Queen Village whose homes are being damaged as we speak)

The owner of the demolition company is a crook who, apparently, didn’t actually acquire the permit himself.  That task fell to an architect who is associated with  other slumlords in the city.   And the purported owner of the collapsed property is a porn monger from New York.  There’s lots more, but it’s making us dizzy…

phillyhouseocards

CONSPIRACY THEORY ALERT!!! Maybe this was no accident after all.  Looks like the porn king, Basciano, was trying to buy out the Salvation Army, but they refused to sell…This wouldn’t be the first time a guy like Basciano “leaned on” a little guy for  “business” purposes…

That miserable blighter Anthony Byrne is in the news yet again.  He’s the publisher of the well-established “Irish Edition,” so that likely gives him strong local connections.  Though if he is connected, his political donations are well hidden.  The house he owns has been an eyesore for years.  But it’s really city hall that’s the ultimate bad guy here, because there is no enforcement of laws reining in slumlords and tax deadbeats.

The recently published book, “Irish Philadelphia,” (which has a foreward written by the (dis) Honorable Seamus McCaffery) has an entry waxing eloquent about Mr. Byrne.  If only our judiciary were so accommodating to neighbors whose lives are adversely affected by scofflaws  like Tony Byrne.

tonybyrneknoxstreet

With so many city employees paid to surf the net, is it surprising that google maps street view is the basis for the city’s Actual Value Initiative?  Okay, that seems a little farfetched, but nakedphilly has some evidence.  And they’re not the only one’s questioning the accuracy of the calculations, even Councilman Squilla thinks the process may be flawed.

Paying more in a city with poor services can certainly be taxing, but you’d hope the process would at least be based on solid real estate data…

AVIphiladelphia

 

Thank god someone in city hall is finally reigning in the riduculous misuse of valuable real estate in this city.  Some of these are large plots of land that are used by crazy hippie types to GROW FOOD!  Helllooo…um, food comes from the grocery store.  And grocery stores EMPLOY PEOPLE and PAY TAXES.  Land is for development, not so some dilletantes can pretend they’re under the Tuscan sun…

Luckily, Brian O’Neill is taking us back to the good old days of Philly zoning, when you could have a nice hat factory or a smelter in your neighborhood.  Not some useless plot of cabbages taking up valuable commercial space.  He’s not going to let 2 years of zoning reform stop him from keeping the Far Northeast just the  way it was since the mid-century.  His new bill sends the clear message that we liked our zoning just fine, thank yous very much.  Brian’s been on council longer than anyone, so he’s probably more nostalgic for Philly’s political salad days when cronyism outweighed crop-raising.

What even is a community garden anyway???

councilmanoneillgoesgreen

The Internet has finally succeeded in killing off the last of the porno palaces.  No more sitting in the dark with a bunch of other pervs with your feet sticking to the floor.  Everybody now just gets their smut online – alone in their homes without the tender touch of fellow film goers.  Alas, another shared social activity destroyed by the digital revolution.  There are, surprisingly,  a couple of melancholic reviews of the theater online.

The Forum theater opened in the swinging 70s and amazingly, given it’s piece of real estate, survived into the 21st century.  Philly mag has a “research” piece on The Forum which is fascinating…

So how will this seedy block improve now that the adult establishments have been exxxpunged?   The current owner has a few suggestions, including a yarn store.  Hmmm, that conjures up a whole new image when you hear yarn bombing…

knittingporn

The problem with modern day porn films is that they lack a good yarn…

 

Links: boobytrap, cozy, pillowboobs, beanis

 

Actually, it doesn’t seem all that difficult…  There are absentee landlords all over the tri-state area who specialize in blight in our city.  The pathetic thing is we do almost nothing about it.  Though, hopefully that’s changing with “Blight Court.”

Robert Coyle is such an egregious example of a slumlord that you couldn’t make him up.  One of his attorneys describes him as a “lunch pail, blue collar kind of guy,” which implies he’s not all that smart or savvy.  And if that’s true, how does he go from bus driver to highly leveraged real estate mogul in just a few years?  Any connections aren’t obvious and he doesn’t appear to be much of a political contributor, though he (and his son) have given to John Perzel (another upstanding citizen).

Maybe John can tell us how Polonia, a bank, ostensibly, based in Huntingdon Valley (with several branches near Pt Richmond), ended up having a 49% stake in this mess.  Does Mr. Perzel’s  connection to the bank’s president have anything to do with this?  Call me a conspiracy theorist, but do we really believe this scofflaw had no friends in local government?  Dat ain’t how Philly works…

 

[Full disclosure:  we thought Slumopoly was an original…oh, well]

Clearly it’s hot, or Bart would not want in on the action (but his desire to stake a claim in this development opportunity is not new “news”).   But, clearly Bart cares about the city and all the revenue he can generate for our poor schools.  And if the competition heats up too much, they can all cool it at Bart’s private swim club.

 

Umm…on another issue maybe we should start calling our town Phire-delphia, what with all the recent incendiary activity.

Between absentee landlords in Brooklyn sitting on dangerously derelict properties, to sadistic sociopaths torching animals, to our own high profile businessman whose decrepit building practically took out a major public transportation artery – this town is SMOKIN’! And not in a good way…

Maybe he’ll call it SPARX Casino…