So long, 915 Spring Garden.
Hackerspace Hive76 has left its longtime home for a new one on the ground floor of Bok, the former South Philly school that real estate developer Lindsay Scannapieco hopes to turn into a massive makerspace (and the same Bok that sparked a contentious conversation about gentrification this summer when it opened a bar on its roof).
Hive76 are the band of makers behind fantastical projects like a supersized Connect Four and an irreverent Magic 8-ball-esque robot named Clyde. The group started looking for a new space as soon as 915 Spring Garden St., a building full of artist studios, got shut down by the city this September. After a small electrical fire in the building, the city found “29 extremely serious violations of the fire code,” said Beth Grossman, chief of staff at the city’s Licenses and Inspections department, and ordered the building closed until the owners fixed the problems.
Hive76 was among the 100 tenants that were forced to leave the space.
David Krupnick of 1241 Carpenter Street, an artist warehouse near Washington Avenue, told us artists from 915 called him up, frantically searching for space (he had none to offer — 1241 is fully occupied and has a waitlist).
It wasn’t clear if the building would open up again, said Hive76 spokesman Chris Terrell, but they didn’t want to bank on it and immediately started looking for other options. Meanwhile, they canceled their weekly open house nights.
One month later, Hive76, along with other 915 Spring Garden tenants, got an email telling them they had to get out.
“Ownership has done their best to work with the City of Philadelphia in an attempt to reopen the building as quickly and safely as possible,” read the email from property managers Pintzuk Brown Realty Group. “Unfortunately, it’s been determined that more time and possibly more work than previously anticipated will be necessary to comply with L&I requirements. With that in mind, Pursuant to Section 18 of the Lease Agreement, Penn Dion Corporation is terminating your Lease.”
They had one month to move everything out (and only on specific days and hours when the building would be open, as per the city’s stipulations, Pintzuk Brown Realty Group’s email said).
Grossman of L&I told us that those fire code violations are still open and the building owners have yet to comply with city code. Pintzuk Brown Realty Group did not respond to a request for comment.
While the Hive crew hunted for a place, they kept all their equipment in member Kyle Yankanich’s garage.
They’ve since started moving into Bok, in a new space that’s smaller than their previous one (900 square feet versus the 600 square feet they have in Bok). Bok has had tenants since early October, Scannapieco told us, including the Dufala Brothers as part of Mural Arts’ Open Source project.
And here’s a cool perk: they can bike in the space.