Engine 46 firehouse may be spared; developer wanted an empty lot

City Councilman Mark Squilla, who was finally able to arrange a meeting with the owner of the Engine 46 firehouse at Reed and Water streets, says the developer is now open to keeping the historic firehouse.

engine 46

The Inky’s Inga Saffron reports that Bruce Schanzer of Cedar Realty Trust met yesterday with Squilla and James E. Moylan, president of the Pennsport Civic Association. Schanzer said he’d spare the firehouse from demolition, which has been threatened as imminent since March, if he can find a tenant for the space, which last housed the Engine 46 steakhouse in 2006.

Even though this is great news, the story managed to be infuriating anyway.

Says the paper:

While Schanzer made the offer without providing any time frame, Squilla noted that Cedar has no current plans for the site, which includes a large cinderblock building facing Columbus Boulevard. Schanzer’s company builds and manages shopping centers and was hoping that a cleared site would be more attractive to potential tenants, Squilla recounted.

They wanted to tear down the most distinctive remaining historical building in Pennsport, and they didn’t even have a plan for its replacement? For shame.

But this news has ignited an effort to find a good fit for that space, which still would make a great restaurant. One of the reasons Engine 46 closed, we’re guessing, is that the food wasn’t all that good (that part’s personal experience, not a guess). The location, and certainly the architecture, aren’t problems.

After hearing an account of the meeting, Ben Leech, advocacy director at the Preservation Alliance, said he would immediately reach out to help identify a tenant. “I have a hard time believing they can’t find anyone,” he said.

We couldn’t agree more. Maybe a brew pub?

8 thoughts on “Engine 46 firehouse may be spared; developer wanted an empty lot

  • August 1, 2013 at 1:28 pm

    This building is depressing and should be torn down. I don’t understand the desire to keep it alive. We need more development in the area.

    • August 1, 2013 at 5:24 pm

      Says you.

      I think the building looks nice……and MUCH nicer than the crap that has been built around it since.

      Further, an adaptive use would be great there. More development? columbus Blvd on the West side is actually pretty full…..unfortunately it was developed with a poor choice of building format an wastes a lot of space on parking lots.

    • August 1, 2013 at 6:16 pm

      And after all that, it might be torn down anyway. Plan
      Philly says Moylan of the Pennsport civic came away with a more
      pessimistic view than Squilla. The way this developer has been
      working, though, we won’t know either way until a new tenant moves
      in or the wrecking ball gets revved up.

  • August 1, 2013 at 7:16 pm

    Warmdaddys should just move over there. it would be much nicer than that stupid strip mall. Who the hell goes to a jazz club in a strip mall. #trash

  • August 1, 2013 at 8:30 pm

    One of the key quotes was from Moylan saying that “Even with all of this added attention recently, they haven’t gotten one legitimate offer.” That’s huge considering the recent traction of this story – after years of no one paying it too much attention. Add to the fact that nothing has been in the firehouse since 2006 and the owners have a pretty good case to take it down – sad but true.

    The good thing is that the civic association seems to now have an open line of communication with Cedar. That’s big as well considering it hasn’t since the firehouse closed. Hopefully, this means that talks will continue whether Engine 46 can be developed or not.

  • August 2, 2013 at 10:14 am

    How old is the firehouse? Can’t it be protected under any historical designation?

    • August 2, 2013 at 10:20 am

      1894. Apparently, a neighbor tried this year but the paperwork was incomplete, so the application failed. I think it might be too late since there is already an active demo permit, but I could be wrong about that.

      • August 2, 2013 at 2:20 pm

        Historical designation is not an option any more. The only way this building can be spared is if a legitimate offer for reuse comes in the near future. I drove past yesterday and interior demolition looks to be taking place within the adjacent Game Center.

        If you or anyone your know is interested – email pennsport@aol.com immediately.

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