Demolition of Ortlieb’s underway in NoLibs
A few weeks ago, demolition began at Ortlieb’s Brew House in Northern Liberties, reported PlanPhilly.
Located at North 3rd and Poplar streets, the former brewery, operational since the 1860s, was considered a landmark by some. It closed in 1981.
However, developer Bart Blatstein, who has owned the former brewery since 2000, determined that the structure was too decayed for reuse.
Blatstein told PlanPhilly that he is now planning to build a residential project on the site.
Blatstein famously converted the former Schmidt’s Brewery into the massive Piazza at Schmidt’s apartment complex, leading some residents to hope that such a transformation might be possible at this location.
The demolition is expected to be finished by the end of the year. ••
$5M grant goes to waterfront
The Delaware River Waterfront Corporation (DWRC) received a $5 million grant from the William Penn Foundation last week, which will go towards improving public access to the waterfront, the foundation announced.
The DWRC, which stewards the development of the Delaware River waterfront between Oregon and Allegheny avenues, will be used in Fishtown for the development of connector streets that lead from the neighborhood to the riverfront.
The connector street projects, at Columbia, Shackamaxon, and Marlborough streets, are better known as DWRC’s “Take Me To the River” project and are intended to improve make these streets more pedestrian-friendly.
DWRC’s goal is to implement the “Master Plan for the Central Delaware,” a plan that calls for developing parks every half-mile along the waterfront, linked by a bike and pedestrian trail, and creating a network of connections into surrounding neighborhoods. ••
Lt. Neary’s widow files lawsuit
On Thursday, Sept. 26, Diane Neary, the widow of Philadelphia Fire Department Lt. Robert Neary, filed a lawsuit against the owners of the former Buck Hosiery factory in Kensington for the fire on their property that led to the death of Neary and firefighter Daniel Sweeney in April 2012.
Filed in the Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas by attorney Thomas W. Sheridan, the lawsuit seeks unspecified damages from Nahman Lichtenstein, Yechial Lichtenstein and Toby Moskovits, of Brooklyn, New York, and their various companies on the grounds that they caused the deaths of Sweeney and Neary by allowing their property to fall into a state of neglect.
Sheridan’s lawsuit says that the Lichtensteins and Moskovits “acted with a reckless disregard for the citizens of the Kensington neighborhood surrounding the [factory] as well as the firefighters including Lieutenant Neary who responded to the burning inferno.”
The lawsuit claims that more than 60 people were illegally living in the Buck Hosiery factory prior to the April 2012 fire that killed Neary and Sweeney.
The suit states that Lichtensteins and Moskovits should have known the building was a fire hazard.
Representatives of the East Kensington Neighbors Association and New Kensington Community Development Corporation repeatedly tried to warn the Lichtensteins that the building was a fire hazard and had contacted the Lichtensteins’ lawyers with no result, according to the lawsuit.
These warnings allegedly consisted of information that scrappers in the factory to steal copper and other materials were seen to be setting fires inside the building.
“They were slumlords,” Sheridan said.
The Lichtensteins’ attorney, Stephen Cozen, previously told CBS that the Lichtensteins are not liable for the fire.
No criminal charges were filed against the Lichtensteins after the April 2012 fire, but the fire is reportedly the subject of an ongoing grand jury investigation and a federal probe. ••