Timeline of H Street factory

Posted: May 24, 2012

THE H STREET FACTORY was a weaving mill and made slipcovers and handbags, among other items, from its opening in 1914 until 1973.

1973: Ayres-Philadelphia manufactures horse clothing there. Ayres acquires a loan, and the Philadelphia Authority for Industrial Development (PAID) becomes the conduit to get tax-exempt financing. Ayres goes out of business in the early 1980s.

May 2006: Warehouse is scheduled for sheriff sale, but sale is postponed six times over the next two years. Addicts and squatters break in, causing several small fires. Department of Licenses & Inspections deems the property a fire hazard and sends violation notices to PAID. L&I attempts to clean and seal the building twice in 13 months, but a small fire in early 2007 leaves openings.

June 20, 2007: The warehouse burns in a seven-alarm arson blaze. The fire spreads to 19 homes, destroying seven, along with nine cars. A firefighter and a resident are injured.

June 21, 2007: L&I sends notices to homeowners that their homes are imminently dangerous and must be demolished — if not by the homeowners, then by the city, and the homeowners will be billed.

September and November 2007: The sheriff sale is postponed. The lot becomes an illegal-dumping site and pass-through for drug dealers. Neighbors clean the lot.

April 2008: The Department of Public Property buys the land for $800 at the sheriff sale. Neighbors continue to clean it and try to set up a protective barrier with tires. They beg the city to allow them to turn it into a community garden.

February 2011: L&I sends a violation notice to the Department of Public Property, deeming the lot “unsafe” because weeds, grass and vines pose a fire threat. No follow-up taken.

May 2012: Pennsylvania Horticultural Society adjusts its budget to pay for a $15,000 makeover of the lot, after Daily News inquires about it. n

— Barbara Laker

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