5003 Penn St appears ready to collapse

On my way to Ikea this morning, I snapped a pic of the buckling side wall of 5003 Penn Street, on the corner with Wakeling Street.  There is a growing gap among the bricks running from the second floor window down to what was probably a very nice front door.  And you might not be able to tell from the photo, but it’s begun to impressively bow out.

side of 5003 Penn St

Philly’s Office of Property Assessment lists the owner as one Tamara Lauma-Kallman who is behind 31 thousand dollars in property tax dating back to 1993.  Google Street View shows an impressive amount of overgrowth, probably during the summer.

I’ve reported the issue through SeeClickFix, which is monitored by Philly 311.

  • mgald

    The City does not negotiate back taxes and water making most of these types of buildings unsalable. There is millions they could collect if they would make concessions

  • Gil

    In a way, I can see the point of not negotiating taxes that are unpaid but I can’t see why the property does not go to sheriff sale within two years of delinquency. They sit for years with no action taken. That smells like a political decision that only leads to further deterioration and loss of revenue.

  • nw resident

    Whoever were to by the property at sheriffs sale would be liable for the back taxes and water; I think that’s M’s point about them not negotiating. By offering relief from this lien; or even partial relief, these properties would be sold and rehabbed.

  • Jim

    I thought a sheriff sale wiped out all taxes and liens. Or is it that a successful sheriff sale needs to pay off all taxes and liens?

  • Gil

    But if, for instance, the vacant lot on my block that has over $30,000 in back taxes does not attract a bid at Sheriff sale, then I thought they could reduce the price in the next sale below the level of the liens. (or something like that)

  • Jim

    Yeah that was my understanding of it too.

  • Matt A.

    Actually, no– if you buy a property at sheriff’s sale all prior encumbrances are wiped out. I bought one years ago down in Fishtown, which had about $7,000 in back taxes and whatever, and I was not responsible for any of it.

    The procedure for sheriff’s sales is Byzantine. I forced the place I got into sheriff’s sale by putting down an $800 deposit (refundable if I hadn’t gotten the place, and it was applied toward the final bid price) and waiting the 8-12 months or so for notice to be sent to the last registered owner and so on. But another place down there that I wanted to do the same thing to I could not, because some of the liens on the back taxes had been sold to a law firm called Heard, Goggin, which meant that only they could force it into sheriff’s sale. Called them, and they said that they only forced about 300 of the properties they owned liens on into sheriff’s sale per year– and they owned like 50,000 liens, though most, I think, were not on Philly properties.

    Anyway. The rules may have changed by now (there was an article some time back in the Inquirer about how the city was going to be making a push for more sheriff’s sales) but I doubt it. The whole thing is perverse and wasteful and inertia-riddled and disgusting– but then again, that’s Philly politics for you.

  • liento

    Rehab? Not with that crack and the bowing. What kind of soil shifting is occurring and why? How is the infrastructure under the street and sidwalk (sewer etc). Welcome to Philadelphia. I’ve been watching that building for years. Guess it is part of the banking bailout. The banks need to bail out Frankford.

  • Matt A.

    I haven’t noticed that the bowing is to a fatal degree yet, and the crack might not be fatal, but it would take a lot to make it habitable. Not as much as it would if there were no roof in parts, but over $50K easily. Probably nearer $100K. So you’d have to get it for next to nothing.

    It was actually listed for sale briefly some months back, at about $64K, if I recall correctly. But of course it didn’t sell, and the Prudential sign vanished from it after about a month, I think.