By Pat Loeb
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – An Old City retail landmark is rising from the ashes, sort of. The Suit Corner — destroyed by fire two months ago — has found a new location and the owner expects to re-open this month.
It’s not on a corner. It’s in the middle of the block between 6th and 7th but it’s still on Market Street. Second generation owner Gary Ginsberg says he found the space while coping with the aftermath of the fire.
“The next day I woke up and I walked the city of Philadelphia and I was in a fog,” he said. “And then I said to myself, ‘try to find the closest location to the store on the same street.'”
He’s painted it in the bold red, white and blue of the old place and started stocking apparel but he still tears up thinking of the loss of 60 years of family history at 3rd and Market.
The fire marshal has determined that faulty wiring started the blaze. The 200-year-old structure went up with lightning speed. Fire fighters worked for 11 hours to put it out. Even now, the smell of smoke hangs over the corner as the building is being demolished. The demolition has been a major inconvenience for neighbors.
“Our sidewalk is blocked off constantly,” says a server at a neighboring restaurant. “We have to cross streets or go all the way down forth to get around. The dust, the smell, the noise.”
Still, they are anxious to see how the corner will be transformed.
“It’ll be nice to see some new buildings here, probably good for the area,” says a real estate agent who lives nearby. “I’ve seen Old City come down, then come back up but now new stuff’s happening, and I think we need some new stuff down here. It’s sad to lose some historic buildings but it’s great to have some new activity going on.”
Diagonally across the street, construction is underway on what used to be the site of the Shirt Corner, which was owned by Ginsberg’s uncle. The developer had intended to keep at least the historic shell of the building but found unsafe conditions during renovation. It collapsed during demolition just two weeks before the blaze in the Suit Corner.
Even as he looks forward to starting anew, Ginsburg is not sure what will happen at Third and Market.
“In a couple years maybe we’ll open up again at 302 (Market),” he says. “I’m trying to get my feet back on the ground again and I got to take (it) day by day to see what tomorrow brings me.”
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