The sad shack at 25th Street and Grays Ferry Avenue, at the western end of Christian Street, got a pink slip recently.
“This vacant building is a blighting influence,” the notice says. And how.
This violation is part of the city’s innovative “doors and windows” program, which started in 2011. Previously, building owners would just have to ensure that a building was sealed. Now, the Department of Licenses and Inspections targets blighted buildings in densely inhabited areas and compels owners to at least make the building look like it’s in use from the outside – you know, with doors and windows.
There’s always the right to appeal, but will longtime owners Eileen and Gary Schwalb get the message in Henderson, Nevada, where city records say they live? The property taxes already have gone unpaid for eight years, more than $6,000. The Schwalbs also own two other properties across the street, both of which also have tax liens, just under $13,000 total. They also used to own at least four outposts of Philadelphia Steakout, including one at 120 S. 15th St., where Shanks Original was briefly.
The doors and windows program is award winning, and also severe. L&I can ask the courts to fine the owners $300 per day, per opening that is not covered with a legitimate door or window.
It’s but another tool that puts dilapidated properties on the road to sheriff sale, and eventually, proper use. Sounds like a good plan for this eyesore.