WANAMAKER TO COMPLETE HIS STORE.
It will be remembered that early in September Superintendent Hopper, of the building bureau of Manhattan, New York, obtained an injunction from Justice Truax at special term in the case of The City of New York vs. the A. T. Stewart Realty Company (the name under which John Wanamaker trades in this city). In accordance with the terms of this decision, all work in the interior of the new Wanamaker store was held up, and its owners and architects were restrained from erecting wooden shelves and installing wooden fixtures in it that had not been fireproofed. These fixtures were being installed at a cost of $100,000, which would have been so much money lost, if the injunction were made permanent, to say nothing of the additional losses running into millions of dollars, that must necessarily accrue to the firm from loss of trade (especially in this holiday season), owing to the delay. The store in question occupies the whole block on the east side of Broadway, from Eighth to Ninth street, running through to Fourth avenue. Hence the large sum of money at stake in the matter of the fittings alone. The contention on Superintendent Hopper’s part was that these fittings, like the doors, window-frames and the like, were structural, and, as the building was over 150 feet high, all the internal structural fittings must by law be metalcovered or of fireproofed wood. The decision has iust been reversed and the injunction dissolved in the Appellate division of the Supreme court by Justice McLaughlin, his associates concurring. In John Wanamaker’s behalf it was urged that’ the fittings complained of were only temporary and in nowise structural, and that fireproof wood would be not only useless, but injurious, as, because of its constant oozing, the dry goods fabrics would be soiled. Justice McLaughlin, referring to Mr. Hopper’s action against the realty company and the new Wanamaker store, wrote in his opinion : “He is not vested with authority to decide, as he has attempted to do in this case, that movable trade fixtures are part of the permanent construction of a building, and must conform to the requirements of law applicable thereto If there is anv statute, ordinance or regulation giving him jurisdiction over movable trade fixtures, it has not been brought to our attention, and it is evident that he does not assume to act thereunder.” Justice McLaughlin said earlv in his opinion that it appeared that upwards of $100,000 has already been expended bv the firm of Tohn Wanamaker in fitting up the building with the trade fixtures of which complaint is made. The justice quoted at length from the New York city building code, section 105, as to the requirements for buildings that must be fireproof, lie then said: “We are of the opinion that this section of the building code applies only to the permanent structure. It was neither designed to regulate the use of buildings nor temporary changes nor alterations not materially affecting the permanent outside or partition walls, floors, or ceilings, made for the purpose of conducting a particular business therein, nor to prevent the use of movable trade fixtures necessary or appropriate for such business. It is also alleged and intended by the respondent that section 411 of the charter conferred upon the superintendent of buildings the authority to control the movable trade fixtures to be used in the building; that, pursuant to such authority, he declined to approve of these fixtures, unless they arc covered with metal or are first treated by some process approved by the board of buildings to render them fireproof; and that the injunction order can be sustained on this ground, even though we decide adversely to his contention as to interior finish. It is not essential that we should now decide whether the superintendent could be given authority over movabje trade fixtures. It is quite clear that the authority intended to be conferred bv this section, mainlv related to the exercise of his judgment on questions of fact as to whether material sought to he used is of the description and oualitv required.”