Late this afternoon (Sunday), Gossips received a tip from a reader that there had been a "partial collapse" at 211 Warren Street. I feared the worse. This was the poor building that had suffered a damaging fire in 2010 and has stood empty ever since.
The plan for the building, which was granted a certificate of appropriateness by the Historic Preservation Commission in 2015, amended, and granted a new certificate of appropriateness by the HPC within the past year, was to demolish the building, which was determined to be too damaged by the fire to be restored, and build a new building on its footprint, but to retain the facade and restore it to its 19th-century appearance. My first thought was that part of the facade had collapsed, possibly making the task of restoring it too challenging to pursue. When I arrived on the scene, I found the building cordoned off with barricades, traffic cones, "No Parking" signs, and caution tape, but the facade appeared no different from the way it was a few years ago.
At the scene, I was filled in by the person who said he had reported the alleged collapse. According to him, no part of the actual building had collapsed. Rather a portion of the fence along the side of the building had fallen, creating a potentially dangerous situation were anyone to stray too close to the edge of the parking lot, lose their footing, and tumble into what had been the backyard of the building, now several feet lower than the parking lot.
The informant was perturbed by the barriers and caution tape closing off the sidewalk and the parking lane in front of the building, considering the safety precautions an "overreaction."
Update: Early this morning (Monday), another Gossips reader reported that the entire foundation on the east side of the building collapsed, falling inward and compromising the east wall of the building and the facade.
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