Signs of a World Trade Center? Not exactly.

June 3

By Matt Blanchard
For PlanPhilly

After years of abandonment, the “Espresso Yourself” building on the site of the proposed Philadelphia World Trade Center is finally being demolished. A bright orange steam shovel could be seen chewing down the back of the structure on Tuesday.

But despite the demolition crew, there’s no evidence the Trade Center is any closer to becoming a reality. Neighbors say it was their complaints – not the developer’s ambitions – that prompted this week’s demolition.

“We’re ecstatic that it’s finally coming down,” said John Scorsone of the River’s Edge Association, “It was rat infested, and a haven for transient people.”

One of those transients, a fellow who used to sack out on the loading dock, attacked Scorsone’s wife. Others smashed car windows and set fires. Neighbors say they met with Sen. Vince Fumo last month to demand the properties be demolished. Lo and behold, they’re now coming down, and the developer, The Renaissance Group/Carl Marks Real Estate, has apparently promised to clear and fence the site.

In related news, Scorsone said the lawsuit filed against his neighborhood association by the developer has been dismissed. The Renaissance Group had filed suit in Feb. 2007 claiming neighbors had violated a 1989 agreement to support the project.

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