Less than 14 months after a devastating apartment blaze along the Conshohocken riverfront set back one of the nation’s most successful revivals of an aging town, a $36.3 million settlement has been reached to end all fire-related litigation.
Of that, $27 million will go toward rebuilding the two destroyed Riverwalk apartment buildings, which housed 189 units. The remainder will be shared among the displaced tenants, with amounts depending on individual losses.
The Riverwalk complex consisted of four occupied buildings. At an adjacent site owned by developer J. Brian O’Neill, a building known then as the Stables at Millenium was under construction. That was the source of the fire.
In April, a Montgomery County Court judge ordered the parties to negotiate an agreement. The settlement, brokered by mediator James R. Melinson, involves suits filed in both federal and Montgomery County courts.
The District Attorney’s Office blamed the fire on a spark from a welder’s torch at the Millenium site. Under the settlement, however, no party is blamed for the fire. While it was a “monumental tragedy,” O’Neill said, “it was an accident.”
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