July 15: Site safety promises, concerns prior to collapse | blightlord loopholes | Family Court murals | Norristown HSL extension meeting | Pop-up delights

Welcome to the working week, Streeters. This week is supposed to be oppressively hot, promising this summer’s most scorching days. There’s an excessive heat warning in effect, so try to stay cool out there and look out for one another. Here’s your Monday morning Buzz:

In the days and weeks prior to the deadly demolition-related collapse at 22nd and Market, demolition began despite ongoing site-safety negotiations between the Salvation Army and STB Investments. The Inquirer reports that STB “promised a safer demolition procedure than it actually used, and it pushed forward with the demolition despite its own warnings and still-unresolved negotiations with the Salvation Army.” The Salvation Army wanted a signed legal agreement that included provisions to protect the thrift store’s roof as well as post-demolition repairs. “As late as June 4, the day before the collapse, a Salvation Army lawyer in Harrisburg continued to press for assurances from STB’s lawyer that STB would protect the thrift store, unaware that two days earlier, STB’s contractor had brought in heavy machinery to demolish the adjacent building.” Perhaps worse, the city had been warned and the Salvation Army knew that the demolition “could threaten their thrift store at 2140 Market St., but they apparently took no action to keep their employees and customers out of harm’s way.”

Citypaper’s Ryan Briggs takes a long look at how blightlords escape enforcement and the city’s tools lack teeth. Perhaps the largest issue is the inability to serve deadbeat owners with court papers as well as the sheer volume of court cases. Add to that L&I’s outdated computer system that has no connection to the software used by the Revenue Department or courts. “In addition to allowing slumlords to keep getting permits, this situation forces city lawyers to search through each database, a time-consuming process.”

Soon enough the Family Court building at 18th and Vine streets could become a hotel, and its fabulously populist morality-themed New-Deal era murals will be more accessible to public view. The Inquirer takes a look at these designated historic interiors.

Tomorrow night SEPTA will host a four-hour public meeting to discuss the extension of the Norristown High Speed Line to King of Prussia and Valley Forge. The Daily News reports that SEPTA will present several alternatives at this “scoping meeting,” held at the Radisson Hotel Valley Forge. First will be an open house at 4pm, then a presentation at 6pm.

This year’s PHS Pop-up (beer) Garden got high marks from Inga Saffron as proof positive that small-scale public spaces could “change the mood” along Avenue of the Arts. “It shows that the ideas advocated during the Avenue of the Art’s design competition last fall have legs.”

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