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What's Happening in:  East Passyunk Crossing 

The fire-ravaged Colombo’s has been sold. Woohoo!

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.


Taken shortly after the fire last August. Doesn’t look all that different now

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.

Colombo's fire

For a bunch of fire-damage pictures, take a look at our posts from August here and here.


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6 Responses to The fire-ravaged Colombo’s has been sold. Woohoo!

  1. fmd July 8, 2013 at 10:30 am #

    Thank God. Someone could make something really AMAZING with that space. Let’s hope it doesn’t turn into some stupid chain restaurant. An upscale late night diner would be everything. You hear me Michael Solomonov?

    • AGS July 8, 2013 at 12:02 pm #

      PARC and EPX wouldn’t allow a chain. I do hope for something good – foodie or not – that would anchor that corner, and hopefully start some investment on the lower end and west side of Passyunk Ave.

      • David G July 8, 2013 at 1:05 pm #

        Look, I like East Passyunk being weird and indie at least as the next guy, but there’s no “allowing a chain” about it. Chains have a right to open in any appropriately zoned commercial space.

        • AGS July 8, 2013 at 3:54 pm #

          Whether a business is appropriately zoned or not, to my knowledge (and I might be wrong about this), b/c its a Business Improvement District (or something of the like), the business itself has to be approved.

          • David G July 8, 2013 at 4:28 pm #

            That is incorrect.

  2. Jenk July 9, 2013 at 11:49 am #

    Since the site is zoned CMX 2.5 it would be nice to see a brand new building here that takes advantage of the 55 foot height limit. A taller building at the “gateway” of Passyunk Avenue would make great impression.
    Also Davis G. is correct, the BID does not make decision about retail mix. PARC owns and rents a number of buildings, so obviously as landlord has control over some of Passyunk Avenue’s retail mix as landlord. Otherwise the zoning code controls, and chains are not and cannot be banded.

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