The university has plans to demolish homes and buildings in several locations on the west side of campus across Broad Street, officials announced at the fall public meeting of the Board of Trustees. The board unanimously approved the demolition of four vacant properties on the 1500 block of North Broad Street at a cost of $800,000.
Among the vacant properties is the former Temple Garden restaurant and the Gateway appliance store. James Creedon, senior vice president of construction, facilities and operations, said Zavelle bookstore, which sits between the properties and is not owned by the university, will not be demolished.
According to public information from the Philadelphia Office of Property Assessment, Temple purchased the one-story masonry structure at 1518 N. Broad St. that houses Gateway appliance store for $837,500 in 2009. The four-story row houses at 1524 and 1526 N. Broad St. were purchased for $837,500 each in 2009. 1522 N. Broad St. was purchased for $1 in 2009. The total tax-assessment value for the homes is $1,492,400.
Creedon said the properties have structural issues which makes demolition the safest option.
“At this point they could be broken into, or worse,” Creedon said, adding that demolition is expected to begin in the spring.
Temple plans to demolish another series of vacant properties on the corner of Broad and Norris streets.
According to the Property Assessment office records, Temple owns all but two of the properties on the block. The eight residential homes were purchased by Temple between 1968 and 2001. Six were purchased for $1, the remaining two were purchased for a total of $55,600. The market value for the properties in 2014 is $761,900.
“We want to clean up the area by planting grass and providing more green space,” Creedon said. “It will make it look better.”
Creedon said Temple plans to demolish the former MAB Paints store on Broad and Diamond streets as well. There was no stated timetable for demolition of the store. According to Property Assessment, the property valued at $306,200 was purchased along with several other similarly-valued properties for $1.8 million by Temple in 2010, Associate Vice President of Buisness Services Richard Rumer said.
Rumer said all properties purchased by the university are appraised by an independant source and actual values are often higher than market values determined for tax purposes.
Temple has no plans for construction at any of the sites, Creedon said. After demolition, Creedon said the university will plant grass and keep each of the sites clean.
Joseph Gilbride can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.