By Mike Dunn
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) –– The owner of one of the buildings that collapsed is Richard Basciano, a real estate mogul known best for his prior ownership of pornography theaters on Market Street and in New York’s Times Square.
The building collapse occurred during the scheduled demolition of a four-story building at 2136 Market, which neighbored the Salvation Army Thrift Shop, which also fell.
City officials identify the owner as Richard Basciano, who has owned a number of properties on west Market Street. Those properties include the Forum Theater, the last porno emporium in Philadelphia one block away from the collapse site, which closed last November.
Basciano also once owned porn theaters in Manhattan and was dubbed by the New York Times as “the undisputed king of Times Square porn.” That was prior to New York City’s redevelopment of that area.
Basciano could not be reached for comment.
City officials issued a permit for the demolition on February 1st to Philadelphia architect Plato Marinakos. Marinakos told KYW Newsradio that the owner planned to construct a mixed-used building of about 20-22 stories. He says the site was to include retail at the street level and apartments above.
The Philadelphia Inquirer, in a feature story on Basciano last year, said the developer had gotten out of the porn business and wanted to develop those blocks of west Market Street with new housing and retail.