PHILADELPHIA – The 2100 block of Locust Street near Rittenhouse Square took a major step forward this morning as demolition of 2122 Locust Street, ravaged by a four-alarm fire earlier this year, got underway.  Under a demolition permit issued by the Department of Licenses and Inspections, all four exterior walls will remain standing while the interior of the ruined building is taken down. To protect public safety, the fourth floor, which had been destabilized by the fire and already partially demolished by L&I, will be fully removed from the building.  

Area residents had expressed concern that the historically significant building would be demolished completely, and many remained dissatisfied after an announcement last month that only the intricate Locust Street façade would be saved. “Fortunately,” said L&I Commissioner David Perri, “the engineering firm retained by the property owner was able to update its report with a plan to keep all four exterior walls. It’s great news for that block and that neighborhood.”

As required under Philadelphia law governing issuance of demolition permits, the property owner had submitted a site safety plan for L&I review. The demolition is being carried out by hand by a contractor who is certified specifically to conduct demolitions and responsible for having a trained site safety manager present at all times. “The contractor is qualified to perform this difficult demolition in tight surroundings”, explained Commissioner Perri, “and our inspectors will be out there regularly to monitor compliance as the project proceeds.”  There will be intermittent street closures and the Department asks for residents’ patience during this operation.

2122 Locust Street is located at the corner of Locust and Van Pelt Streets, within the Rittenhouse-Fitler Historic District.  Originally known as the Charles F. Gummey House, the building was designed by the architectural firm of Baker & Dallett and constructed in 1899.