Demolition Work Underway For New U.S. Courthouse In Harrisburg

English: Photo of Ronald Reagan Federal Buildi...

English: Photo of Ronald Reagan Federal Building and Courthouse In Harrisburg PA Category:Images of Harrisburg (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Cash may be short in some areas of the federal government – ask any worker dealing with mandatory furloughs at the midstate’s military bases – but work is finally underway for a new U.S. courthouse in Harrisburg.

That is evident in the dust and rubble at Sixth and Reily streets.

Demolition has started at the site.  The old Bethesda Mission building on the property was nothing but a pile of broken cinderblocks and splintered timber as of Friday morning.  Next to go will be nine row houses.

The razing is occurring three years after the feds chose the site for the project to replace the 1960s-era Ronald Reagan Federal Building at Third and Walnut streets in Harrisburg’s downtown.

Read more:  http://www.pennlive.com/midstate/index.ssf/2013/07/demolition_work_underway_for_n.html#incart_river_default

Wilkes-Barre Mayor Has Heard From Potential Developers About Hotel Sterling Site

English: Hotel Sterling, Wilkes-Barre

English: Hotel Sterling, Wilkes-Barre (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

WILKES-BARRE —Mayor Tom Leighton called it “a historic day” for the city, but also “a sad day” for the community.

As workers from Brdaric Construction Co. began to dismantle the former Hotel Sterling,  Leighton talked about the future and the potential for the historic site located at a gateway to the city’s downtown.

The mayor said he has heard from potential developers, but he declined to go further, saying it was premature to discuss what might happen once the building is down and the site cleared.

State Rep. Eddie Day Pashinski, D-Wilkes-Barre, called the site “the most valuable real estate in Luzerne County.”  He said he’s confident the city will find a quality developer.

Read more:  http://www.timesleader.com/news/local-news/703044/As-Sterling-falls-Leighton-keeps-future-in-mind

Pittsburgh Planning Commission Hears Of Downtown Demolitions, Plans For New Building Near Target In East Liberty

Locator map with the East Liberty neighborhood...

Locator map with the East Liberty neighborhood in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania highlighted. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The city’s planning commission has inched the Pittsburgh Playhouse a step closer to its relocation from Oakland to Downtown.

In a 5-0 vote, commission members approved the demolition of three buildings on Forbes Avenue after receiving assurances from representatives of Point Park University that everything possible would be done to preserve their turn-of-the-century facades.

Also Tuesday, the commission learned of plans for a new six-story office building in East Liberty across the street from the Target department store, the latest in a wave of development in the neighborhood.

While the commission had received letters from two people opposed to the demolition of the Point Park-owned buildings at 320, 322 and 330 Forbes, including the former Honus Wagner sporting goods store, members decided to approve the request based on assurances that efforts would be made to preserve the terra-cotta facades.

Read more: http://www.post-gazette.com/stories/business/news/developer-plans-6-story-building-near-target-in-east-liberty-696643/#ixzz2ZzOy1mpW

A Legend Will Fall: Wilkes-Barre’s Sterling Hotel End Nears

English: Hotel Sterling, Wilkes-Barre

English: Hotel Sterling, Wilkes-Barre (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Kurt Sauer will get a long-awaited birthday present next Thursday: The demolition of the Hotel Sterling.

Since Wilkes-Barre officials decided in January to bring the building down without the help of Luzerne County, the city had to start the process from scratch.  That meant Sauer, the city’s director of community development, had to fill out reams of paperwork – he points to a 4-inch binder chock-full of various documents – as he worked to get approval from various state and federal agencies.

So when Brdaric Excavating finally begins work Thursday, Sauer will be a year older and a step closer to finishing the job.  And the current chapter of the Sterling’s life, one filled with hopes of restoration and disappointing and expensive failures to save the historic building, will near a close.

John Brdaric, owner of Brdaric Excavating, didn’t respond to requests for an interview about the $419,000 demolition.  But Sauer and Butch Frati, Wilkes-Barre’s director of operations, explained how they believe the process will unfold.

Read more:  http://citizensvoice.com/news/a-legend-will-fall-sterling-s-end-nears-1.1523678

Force Of Tropical Storm Lee Still Felt As 69 Houses Face Demolition In Dauphin County

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Dauphin County

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Dauphin County (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Almost two years after Tropical Storm Lee, the cleanup continues as houses damaged by flooding along the swollen Swatara Creek and later bought by the federal government are being demolished.

During the past few weeks, local municipalities have hired contractors to remove the houses, purchased through the Federal Emergency Management Agency‘s Hazard Mitigation Program.  Buyouts from FEMA were determined by the cost of rebuilding the house and future flood insurance claims.

At least 69 houses have been targeted for demolition, almost all of them on land near or adjacent to Swatara Creek.  The total cost is $8 million with the municipalities carrying 3 percent, or $250,000, of the cost.

But the long-term effects of the demolition will be bourn by the localities, as the properties slip from tax rolls and elected leaders are left wondering what to do with flood-prone vacant lots.

Read more:  http://www.pennlive.com/midstate/index.ssf/2013/07/tropical_storm_lee_fema_buyout.html#incart_m-rpt-2

Harrisburg Strains To Eliminate Condemned Buildings; Residents Simmer Over Fire Hazards, Nuisances

HARRISBURG–In the 2000 block of Susquehanna Street, routine home maintenance included pruning a neglected tree to eliminate a ladder animals used to enter the upper floors of two condemned homes in the middle of the row.

It included dealing with encroaching mold from the condemned homes’ soggy beams.  It included adding boards at his own expense to keep out squatters, a neighbor said.

Harrisburg has about 400 vacant buildings whose status is considered “emergency” due to hazards and eyesore they pose or criminal activity they attract.  The city expects to demolish 35-40 this year — the most it can do given budget constraints and staffing shortages, said Robert Philbin, the chief operating officer.

“All I can tell you is the city is doing the best it can do,” he said.

Read more:  http://www.pennlive.com/midstate/index.ssf/2013/07/harrisburg_strains_to_eliminat.html#incart_m-rpt-2

Lawyers Slam Demolition Work At Center City Philadelphia Collapse Site

PHILADELPHIA – Attorneys for four people suing over the collapse of a downtown building that killed six people last week lambasted the demolition work after surveying the site Sunday.

Lawyers and consultants walked gingerly on piles of debris, indicating to photographers and videographers what they wanted documented. Meanwhile, other consultants on a hoist far above scanned the site where a four-story building under demolition gave way and toppled onto an attached Salvation Army thrift store Wednesday, killing two employees and four customers and injuring 13 others.

Afterward, attorney Robert Mongeluzzi, who said his firm represents three plaintiffs in lawsuits against the property owner and contractor, said his initial examination indicated that the building that collapsed had brick-bearing walls and wooden girders without steel support and should have been demolished by hand rather than using heavy equipment. In addition, he said, the backhoe appeared to not be high enough to pull the wall down on the side away from the thrift store.

“Of course, a demolition from the top down by hand would have been much more time-consuming and expensive but was really the only way to get this done safely,” he said.

Read more at http://www.philly.com/philly/news/20130609_ap_lawyersslamdemolitionworkatpacollapsesite.html#ibzXi0JbVdKrHgE2.99

Wilkes-Barre Gets Final Funding Needed To Raze Dilapidated Hotel Sterling By Early Summer

English: Hotel Sterling, Wilkes-Barre

English: Hotel Sterling, Wilkes-Barre (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

WILKES-BARRE, PA — Demolition of the historic Hotel Sterling, once a grand city landmark that has fallen into disrepair and become a dangerous eyesore, should begin by late June to mid-July, the city has announced.

The city on Monday received an official release of about $400,000 from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development that is the final piece of funding needed to cover demolition.  The city will advertise for demolition bids this week, city Municipal Affairs Manager Drew McLaughlin said.

The funding is a portion of the city’s annual Community Development Block Grant allocation from HUD for removal of blighted properties.

“We are nearing the final stages of this demolition,” Mayor Tom Leighton said in a prepared statement.  “This has been a top priority since the flooding of 2011.  We all look forward to the day when the public safety threat has been addressed and the detour in downtown Wilkes-Barre is lifted.”

Read more: http://www.timesleader.com/news/local-news/511398/Sterling-demo-date-edges-closer

Brecknock Township Receives An Unlikely Inheritance

Map of Berks County, Pennsylvania, United Stat...

Map of Berks County, Pennsylvania, United States with township and municipal boundaries (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

It started when Brecknock Township suddenly found itself the owner of a mansion, secluded on a 47-acre wooded lot off Fitterling Road in the township.

A lawyer from Oregon, executrix of the will of a man they knew little about, Philip T. Buxton, called in 2011 to say Buxton had left the township the house and land to use for a park.  The only stipulation was that it be named for him and his late wife, Jane.

That came as a surprise to township officials.

“We were very happy to be the recipients of it,” said Jeffrey M. Fiant, supervisors chairman.

Read more:   http://readingeagle.com/article.aspx?id=450358

Developer Of Old Armorcast Site Wants Big Tax Break From Daniel Boone School District

Now that the former Armorcast factory in Birdsboro is demolished, the property owner and developers are hoping to also clear the unpaid real estate taxes.

Steve Marshall, a lawyer for Meco Demolition Inc. of Bensalem, Bucks County, asked the Daniel Boone School Board this week to waive or reduce real estate taxes from 2007 to 2011 for the 91-acre property.  Unpaid taxes owed to the district total about $86,000.

Owner Gregory Flynn of Armorcast LP hired Meco to demolish the dilapidated factory, which produced steel for tanks during World War II.

Read more:  http://readingeagle.com/article.aspx?id=444662

Johnstown Battles Blight

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Cambria County

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Cambria County (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

JOHNSTOWN, PA — What was once The Rib Rack restaurant is now an eyesore and a hazard.

The building, located at 405 Strayer St. in Johnstown’s West End, is in a state of decay, with crumbling bricks, broken rain spout, boarded windows and weeds.

Soon, though, the building will be razed.

Its demolition is part of an ongoing effort by City Council and the Community and Economic Development Department to remove blight from the town.

Since the fall of last year, 66 structures have been razed.  The Rib Rack is next on the list.  Work has started in the past few days.

Read more:  http://tribune-democrat.com/local/x1951926811/City-battles-blight

Geisinger CMC High Bidder For Audubon Elementary School

Scranton, PA – On the site where students attended school for a century, patients could soon see doctors.

With a bid of $750,000, Geisinger Community Medical Center agreed to purchase John Audubon Elementary School – its neighbor across the 1800 block of Mulberry Street – at the Scranton School District‘s auction Thursday. Geisinger will most likely demolish the building, though it has no specific plans, said Robert Davies, the health system’s chief support services officer.

After moving students out in 2010 because of mold, the district permanently shuttered the school earlier this year because it was too expensive to reopen.

GCMC may first demolish the school and use the property as a staging area for the hospital’s upcoming expansion project.

Read more:  http://thetimes-tribune.com/news/geisinger-cmc-high-bidder-for-audubon-1.1409968

Sinking Spring Focuses On Revitalizing Downtown

Map of Berks County, Pennsylvania, United Stat...

Map of Berks County, Pennsylvania, United States with township and municipal boundaries (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

When a group set out to revitalize Sinking Spring’s downtown in 2008, it planned to start with the west side of town.

Then a developer shifted the focus to what’s now known as the Spring Market shopping center in the eastern section.

Now the group is trying to advance a plan for the central district, calling for a new mix of residential and commercial space south of Penn Avenue.

The revitalization group, known as BOSS 2020, for Borough of Sinking Spring 2020, met with an architectural firm and came up with the downtown plan.

Alcon of Sinking Spring contributed $8,000 to the effort.

Read more:   http://readingeagle.com/article.aspx?id=431266

Bridgeport Landmark Meets The Wrecking Ball

What a sad turn of events this is.  Anyone who lived or worked in the Norristown/King of Prussia area probably has a memory of this place.  Camelot in Bridgeport was “the place” to have a wedding reception or other large event.  I would say it was Bridgeport’s Sunnybrook.

Having worked in that area for 25 years, I knew many people who had their events at Camelot.  Camelot was demolished this week.  The owner, Gary Johnson, declined comment on any plans for development of the property.

Camelot was a casualty of the recession.  Renovations were too costly.  Although there was interest in reopening the property, the economy kept potential buyers at bay.

Interestingly, Joe Torac, the former owner of Lakeside Inn, ran Camelot.  Torac was tragically killed in an automobile accident in 1998.

Thankfully, the Lakeside Inn (Copperfield’s) and Sunnybrook are still standing and going strong.  Unfortunately, for Bridgeport, there is no happy ending to this story.