Colombo’s, the former sometimes-restaurant that burned last summer at the southern end of East Passyunk Avenue, was sold in February at sheriff’s sale.
According to court documents, the building’s former owner, Maurice Pisano, had been fighting foreclosure proceedings all the way back to 2007. He finally lost, and the building was sold for a mere $50,000, apparently to the company that issued the title insurance on the property. (UPDATE: This price is what the city’s Office of Property Assessment says, but it may be incorrect – and could actually have gone for $500,000. We’re trying to get to the bottom of it.)
The listed sale price – minuscule even with the fire damage – was a far cry from what Pisano had been rumored to be seeking before the place burned. We heard he wanted more than $1 million. Sure, it’s a prime spot at a gateway, but jeez, it’s been a dump for years.
Anyway, we came across this information because we had been looking into why such a building was allowed to languish for nearly a year after the fire.
Rebecca Swanson, spokeswoman for L&I, told us an inspector has made four inspections since the fire. After the last one in June, L&I referred the case to the court system to compel Pisano to bring the building up to code. (Damn due process!) In the meantime the property was foreclosed upon. Now, she said, L&I has restarted the inspection process against the new owner to get them to act.
After all, they have owned it since February and haven’t filed for any construction permits or listed it for resale. We’ve reached out to the new owner to see what their plans are. But at the very least, this could finally mean that the building can come back into use - eventually.