A Canadian company has bought what remains of the former Hewitt soap factory on Linden Avenue, with an eye on starting a small manufacturing operation there.
Dayton Flats LLC, with a Toronto, Ontario mailing address, paid Accu-Jet Corp. $60,000 for the 333 Linden Ave. property, Montgomery County property records show.
Three parcels were purchased at the site, a total of nearly two acres.
John LaGamba, president of Temp-Cast, a Canadian maker of masonry heaters, purchased the building, according to John Flynn, vice president of sales for Seneca Transportation & Logistics, a Toronto trucking firm.
Flynn said LaGamba is working with Dayton city officials on starting a small manufacturing operation in the building, while Flynn said he is interested in opening a small distribution operation there.
The businesses would involve only a “handful of employees” initially, Flynn said.
When the former owner bought the property in 2015, 3.16 acres were purchased, so it appears that ground under the area consumed by fire was not part of the recent purchase.
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The former factory at 333 Linden has been plagued by fire and other issues in the past year. Much of the front of the building collapsed in a Nov. 10 fire. Another fire in December 2016 struck the building’s southern side, and firefighters and others have long been concerned about the site’s overall structural integrity.
In March this year, residents close to the site expressed concern about debris left over from the December fire.
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At the time, they said rubble from the fire was spilling into the street. One resident said a steel beam was hanging out into the road and there was no safety barrier or caution tape around a pile of debris.
An at least partial demolition of the site began after the latest fire last month.
The soap company was founded in 1897 in Dayton and was in operation until 2004 when it was bought by a competitor, which later closed the facility. At its peak, it was the nation’s second-largest maker of specialty soaps, including the small bars used in hotels.
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