Triumph Baptist Church wanted to grow. It bought an old suit factory in North Philadelphia in 1998, hoping to tear it down and build a house of worship.
But over time, Triumph changed its plans. The vacant factory became an eyesore and hazard, leaving the city little choice but to demolish it in 2011 at a cost of $794,191 to taxpayers.
The owners were supposed to reimburse the city for the work. Three years later, they haven’t.
Thus did 1801 W. Courtland Ave. join the list of 39,391 properties with “nuisance liens” – unpaid bills for sealing, cleaning, or demolition done at taxpayer expense by the Department of Licenses and Inspections. Work that building owners were supposed to pay for but didn’t.