Eventful week ended with possible new lease on life for Roxborough’s Bunting House

As the new week begins, the sense of impending doom that fell over Roxborough’s Bunting House last week may have lifted, as owners have agreed to hold off demolition for at least 30 days and confirmed talks to save it are underway.

The 19th-century house at 5901 Ridge Ave. will stand for at least the next month, while owners and civic representatives continue to look for a way to save the house from demolition, possibly by finding new tenants to move into the large corner property.

Late Friday afternoon, after a second meeting with civic officials, the Roxborough Development Corporation and Josh Cohen from Fourth District Councilman Curtis Jones Jr.’s office to discuss owners Giovannone Construction’s plans for the Bunting House and three other adjacent properties along Ridge Avenue, it was official: The owners wouldn’t move to demolish, and would-be preservationists wouldn’t take further legal action — for now.

“All parties are working toward an amicable and economically feasible solution which could ultimately save the Bunting house from the wrecking ball. Several viable options will be explored over the next 30 days,” the owners said in a statement issued through spokesman Frank Keel.

On Wednesday, lawyer Hal Schirmer filed an L&I appeal, which likely wouldn’t be heard for weeks, but said he wouldn’t push for an emergency injunction if the owners agreed to a 30-day stay. But as of Friday morning, Keel told reporters there had been no real communication between the owners and Schirmer.

While the Giovannones had initially said the buildings needed to come down for structural reasons, they’ve since begun talking with at least two people interested in renting the porch-front Second Empire house and say they’re committed to doing right by the property and the neighborhood.

“As life-long community residents, the Giovannone family [Friday] made clear their genuine desire to try to save the Bunting house from final demolition and preserve it as a long-term community asset,” the owners said.

NewsWorks has partnered with independent news gatherer PlanPhilly to provide regular, in-depth, timely coverage of planning, zoning and development news. Contact Amy Z. Quinn at azquinn@planphilly.com.

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