A couple of weeks ago, 2327 Ellsworth St., an occupied home in Point Breeze, collapsed. Remarkably and thankfully, no one was injured, even though a few people were inside when this occurred.

Image from Philadelphia Speaks

Within a few days, the remnants of the home were torn down by the City and according to several news reports from the day of the collapse, the owners of the property will be responsible for the demolition costs. The property owners, in a couple of interviews, seemed to believe that the home’s structural integrity was undermined by the home next door, which was recently constructed. We spoke with a couple of builders who all indicated that the fact that the home collapsed on the western side, opposite the new construction, means that the construction could not have been the problem.

Demolition complete

In the NBC report about the building’s collapse, the owner made a comment that was consistent with what the builders we spoke to suggested- that the structure was probably damaged when the building immediately to the west was demolished years ago. Who owns the vacant lot next door, you may ask? Why, the City of Philadelphia, of course! Since at least 1979. That’s right, the City owns 2329 and 2331 Ellsworth St., which have been vacant for many years.

Hole next to the house that remains. Has hopefully been filled in by now

Kind of makes us wonder whether the collapsed home would still be standing had new homes been built next door over the last decade, either by the City or by another party that was somehow able to purchase the lots. Ah, no, but that’s crazy talk. Why would the City want to redevelop or sell off any of its 400 plus vacant lots in Point Breeze? If you ask us, they could probably benefit from owning a few dozen more