Repairs continue to be made to the old Western Auto building downtown. In April, the city closed off a portion of the street for fear of impending collapse. Bricks have since been removed from the exterior of the building as a renovation is underway.
Repairs continue to be made to the old Western Auto building downtown. In April, the city closed off a portion of the street for fear of impending collapse. Bricks have since been removed from the exterior of the building as a renovation is underway.
Brick by brick, work continues on the facade of the old Western Auto building downtown that was deemed unsafe in April.

Philadelphia Building Official Jay Eakes said that the “brick-by-brick” process is slow but will ensure that they are only removing parts of the facade that are unstable.

“When they are down far enough they will be able to see what's going on and know more specifics about what to do next,” Eakes said.

Eakes said the first step was removing bricks from the outside facade of the roof. The building is situated between Church Avenue and Center Avenue across from The Citizens Bank.

Eakes said that they currently do not have a target date to be finished, but he did know that engineers hired by the building’s owner had already drafted plans to rebuild the parapet around the roof after structural problems were identified and repaired.

Mayor James Young said that based on his conversations with the building owner, there were still a lot of questions to be answered, but that work crews and engineers were on site working on the problem areas. He said he was glad to see that work was being done in a timely fashion.

“We are glad to see that work is being done to repair the building and make it safe for everyone again,” Young said. “Hopefully, we will see signs of improvement soon and start getting things downtown back into normal operating order.”

No injuries related to the precarious structure have been reported so far.

Parking spaces and sidewalks alongside the building have been roped off and blocked since April 8 when the status of the building was recognized by local officials.

Eakes said at the time that he was notified the Monday before the annual Ham Jam Festival after Philadelphia Fire Chief Pierce Clark drove by and noticed a shift where the brick meets the back of the Kademi building above the roof line.

“He noticed the building was in danger of collapsing while driving around yesterday and notified me,” Eakes said at the time.

Stitched Boutique and a dance studio were shut down out of safety concerns and have not been permitted to operate in that building since it was first cordoned off.