A large empty brick building at the corner of Broadway and Eastern Avenue collapsed yesterday morning, another casualty in Baltimore’s long history of dilapidated structures simply falling apart.
Bricks began tumbling from the Fells Point building, which has a history of some building code citations, at 500 South Broadway, at around 8 a.m. yesterday morning, eyewitnesses said.
City police and fire crews were able to block the intersection and other nearby streets shortly after 10:30 a.m. A crane and firehose were used to demolish the rest of the building, which formerly housed Eastern Avenue Automotive Supply.
All that remained of the structure by 5 p.m. was a soggy pile of rain-soaked bricks, concrete and splintered wood. No one was reported inured and several of the people working in neighboring businesses said they didn’t even hear the crash.
Work crews continued to block traffic on Broadway throughout rush hour.
Housing Authority spokesperson Tania Baker told the Sun that an inspector ordered the building to be demolished after the first portion of bricks crumbled on its own, and that the property has committed numerous safety and sanitation violations, including eleven sanitation citations and one citation for “work outside the scope of a permit” in 2009.
The exact cause of the building’s collapse could not be confirmed, but according to state records, the 90-year-old building is owned by 504 South Broadway LLC, whose resident agent is Patrick Curran. The address of 504 S. Broadway belongs to gentlemen’s club, Ritz Cabaret.
The current resident agent and representing attorney for 504 S. Broadway is Baltimore lawyer Gary Maslan, who confirmed that the owner of 500 S. Broadway is 504 S. Broadway LLC. Maslan refused to name the property-owner associated with 504 S. Broadway LLC and denied that he had any connection to a Patrick Curran.
The Maryland Department of Licensing and Regulation fined Curran for working as an accountant under an expired license in 1992, and an active Baltimore City District Court Case involves allegations he was again posing as one in 2009. (Nods to Baltimore Slumlord Watch for first fishing up this information.)
Reached by phone, Curran confirmed that he is the resident agent for the LLC but not the owner, whom he refused to name because “the gentleman’s trying to run another business” while trying to figure out what to do about the building that just collapsed, Curran explained.
Asked about the pending case involving his CPA license, Curran declined to comment.
Fells Point Main Street Executive Director Jason Sullivan told The Brew that before the building was demolished, Ritz Cabaret had plans to turn 500 S. Broadway into a Ritz-affiliated steakhouse, in an effort to “tap into the dinner market” like high-end clubs such as Scores have done.
Sullivan learned of Ritz’s plans after running into the club’s manager Ari Cohen five months ago. “It’s a shame because they’ve spent a good portion of the summer and fall taking dumpsters and dumpsters of garbage out of that building,” said Sullivan. “They probably took out ten dumpsters worth of garbage.”