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Pennsburg Landmark Building Ordered Vacated
Written by Bradley Schlegel, Staff Writer
2019-02-28

            The design business occupying the iconic triangular building at Pennsburg 

After Monday's heavy rain and wind, staffers at the Eldon Design

Associates, Inc. were force to evacuate the building when a portion

of the brick facade appeared to "bow out" towards Fourth St.

Square was forced to evacuate Tuesday afternoon. Anthony Campbell, the borough's code enforcement officer, declared the structure – located at the intersection of Fourth Street and Pottstown Avenue – in danger of collapsing.

            After the owner discovered small pieces of brick on the sidewalk along Fourth Street on Tuesday morning, one of three people who work for Eldon Design Associates, Inc. was seen removing materials from the building at 10 Fourth Street. An orange sign taped to the front door declared the structure, the former home of the Town and Country newspaper, unsafe.

            Jim Eldon, who has owned the building since 1988, alerted municipal officials after his discovery. The wall along Fourth Street is bowed out, and the bricks on top of the front three windows have begun to separate.

            According to the Eldon, the structure – which was built in 1914 and suffers from structural issues – has absorbed the brunt of a severe winter. He suggested that Monday's heavy winds might have played a role in the order to vacate.

            "There's been a lot of freezing and thawing," Eldon said.

            Heavy truck traffic passing the building on Pottstown Avenue for several years could have played a significant role in creating the structural issues, according to council President Kris Kirkwood.

            Upper Perk police closed 4th Street from the square to West Side Alley until early Tuesday evening to allow the installation of a chain link fence along the outside of the building. Drivers gained access to 4th Street from one direction Wednesday morning.

            Municipal officials won't take any further action until they hear from the engineer, according to Kirkwood. He said the building owner is responsible for making the improvements to make the structure safe.

            A construction company was examining the building late Tuesday afternoon. According to the code enforcement officer, crews were planning to install a chain link fence along 4th Street in the potential collapse zone.

            The business, co-owned by David McClanahan with Eldon, has operated for 31 years at the structure. According to McClanahan, it produces consumer, medical and industrial products. He said Eldon is responsible to "do what he has to do to get back" into the building.

            Meanwhile, McClanahan – who made multiple trips carrying boxes from the building to his vehicle parked along the alley – said he would be able to work from his home Upper Salford.

            Reached late Wednesday morning, Campbell explained that the hazardous portion of the building has been secured with a fence. He added that parking along that segment of 4th Street has been restricted and that road will remain open only for emergency service vehicles and local traffic. The code enforcement officer said he was waiting for a call from the property owner regarding a report from an engineer.

            "Once I have that, we'll move forward with whatever is necessary," Campbell said.


 

 

 

 

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