Scaffolding serving as fire escape on Lyon street at Golden Gate
After years of wanting the ugly structure to come down, North Panhandle residents are likely wary about any news that the four-story scaffolding sidling the apartment building on Lyon at Golden Gate may actually be seeing its final weeks. But that appears to be the case. Pat Buscovich, a developer working with the owner of the apartment building, told BIKE NOPA that the process to replace the structure with a real fire escape is underway.
"Once we get the go-ahead, it will take six weeks or more to fabricate suitable fire escapes. We have a manufacturer lined up and ready to start. During that time we will prepare the building so it will be ready for the fire escape to be bolted to it. We will get the larger unit for the Golden Gate side of the building installed first. Then we'll be able to dismantle the scaffolding along Lyon one floor at a time as we put up the exits on that side."
Few manufacturers remain in the fire escape business, according to Buscovich. "The code for the equipment changed in 1995 and many steel fabricators stopped making them since then." The fire exits for the Lyon building are expected to cost $30,000 or more. Over the several years that the scaffolding has been occupying the 40 feet of curb space, the owner might easily have purchased the equipment for the cost of the rental fees.
Buscovich said contractors were at the site yesterday and had begun the preparation. His reading of the situation is that everyone wants to bring this long story of tenant/landlord conflicts and complications among city agencies to an end. "The owner wants it done, the residents want it to happen, and I'm sure the neighbors are ready to see this over with."
Although BIKE NOPA previously suggested the permit granted for ongoing work might be simply one more delay after several years of inaction, it now appears that the owner is ready to proceed and the city has signed off on the project. A building permit to do so is essential. We hope the next chapter in this story includes photos of the new fire-escapes and a scaffolding-free street.