Wednesday, March 3, 2010

West Carson Street and Beyond

West Carson Street has been in the news a lot lately. Last week, community groups were protesting the site of a proposed Strip Club on West Carson Street. They object to its location directly adjacent to the Onala Club, an alcohol and drug recovery center.

Early Tuesday morning, a mere 0.3 miles away along Carson Street, a warehouse suspicously caught fire.

Arson investigators were trying to determine the fire's cause, terming it "suspicious," but unsafe conditions kept them from examining where it started. Fire officials said interior floors collapsed. The building, thought to be empty for 20 years, had no electricity.

Anyone else wonder if protesters got the wrong address? That would certainly send a stern message to developers from a potential renegade community group. The more likely scenario?

The Forza Group which bought the company as an investment decided to expedite the demolition process of their property. (Or as the Angry Drunk Bureaucrat suspects another renegade community group decided to expedite the process for them.) According to Greg Erosenko, a spokesman for the Forza Group, "The company is considering building a hotel there someday."
This of course brings to mind dozens of other abandoned warehouses and houses in the Pittsburgh area that are owned as "investment" opportunities. In the meantime, they are dangerous eyesores for the rest of us. They are dangerous because desperate people like to squat in abandoned buildings increasing area crime, and kids like to play in these very same areas.

My request to the city? Let's stop letting developers leave these dangerous eyesores speckled throughout the city in the hopes of profiting off of these properties when yet another Pittsburgh neighborhood "reawakens."

Regularly, send your building inspectors to these sites and fine the hell out of them for being out-of-code, having unkempt landscaping, lack of proper snow removal, and anything else that's legal. This West Carson Street warehouse should have been demolished (or remodeled) long ago. The only people that pay the price for this developer dragging-of-the-heels are Pittsburgh residents. If we hassle the developers, they'll either do something with the property or pass it on to someone who will.


gwenix said...

The city did start upping its efforts to demolish abandoned buildings in recent years (it's one of Major Luke's pet projects), but they can only address the actually abandoned properties. Sadly, this building wasn't actually abandoned... just left derelict.

My personal suspicion is that it was one of two likely scenarios: 1) the Forza Group realized that their few hundred thousand investment wasn't going to prove fruitful, so decided to collect insurance instead, or 2) homeless/squatters left behind burning cigarettes (or worse, smoldering fire pits).

kris said...

It is very scaring to even ponder how many lots/buildings are owned for the sole purpose of "future" profit- not even development just profit- hoping somebody will make an offer on it.

I know the city can fine and do so much but take a look at Diana's recent story...

If the owners are nowhere to be found what can they do.?There needs to be some sort of law prohibiting sitting on property without upkeep and/or use after a certain time frame.