A couple of readers have reached out in recent weeks, wondering and worrying about some scaffolding that’s currently in place at 838-42 Christian St., just a couple of steps away from the Italian Market. We remember visiting the market a decade ago and wondering how it was possible that these buildings could be in such deplorable condition so close to a tourist mecca. When Good Fortune Investments bought the properties about five years ago, they clearly put some serious dollars into renovating them, but it seems something went wrong with the bay windows.

Low-res view, prior to renovation

View in 2011 shows new facades with much less personality

View the other day

If you look carefully, you can spot a Stop Work Order in the photo above. According to Rebecca Swanson at L&I, this stems from a complaint in early September that the stucco work was being done without a permit. Not only is a permit required for this kind of work, but the owners also need a street closure/right of way permit from the Streets Department, to have PECO cover the electrical wires above, to have a structural engineer sign off on the scaffolding, and to consult with OSHA about the scaffolding as well. An application for building permits was submitted for 840 and 842, and it’s unclear whether the other steps have been taken by the owners. They are required to contact the inspector prior to starting work again, and according to L&I they have not done so yet.

We’re glad to hear that both a structural engineer and OSHA must be consulted before this work can resume. Looking closer at the scaffolding as it sits on top of the metal awning, we’re feeling pretty nervous.

We are nervous

If you see work start up here and there aren’t posted permits, we encourage you to call 311 and 911 posthaste. Safety first, people!