Photo by Lydia Chávez

On the outside of the building that caught fire on 22nd and Mission in January, taggers have found their way onto the scaffolding and left their mark. On the inside, a haunting scene of decay and disrepair accumulates mold. With little changes except further damage, previous tenants (one of whom was Mission Local) and onlookers have wondered what’s going on there.

Not much, according to public records and the Department of Building Inspection.

Since the fire at the end of January, the department has sent the building’s owner, Hawk Lou, two notices of violation urging him to repair the parts of the building damaged by the fire. Lou has yet to file any building permits, except initial plans to shore up preliminary damage.

At a Department of Building Inspection director’s hearing Tuesday, owner Hawk Lou was a no-show. As of Tuesday’s hearing, the department has given him 30 days to acquire permits.

If the issue isn’t abated, Lou could pay an initial fee of over $1,300, according to William Strawn, a spokesperson for the building department.

For tenants still trying to salvage what they can, dealing with Lou has been a challenge. One tenant reported that Lou blocked his number and wouldn’t answer his calls. Lou did not respond to requests for an interview.

The fire at the building at 22nd and Mission took the life of one man and sent another to the hospital with severe burn wounds. According to court records, no one involved in the fire has filed any civil legal action against Lou.

Lou is the owner of numerous other buildings throughout the city and Bay Area, many of which also have a history of violations with the building department and other city agencies.

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Daniel Hirsch is a freelance writer who has been living in the Mission since 2009. When he's not contributing to Mission Local, he's writing plays, working as an extra for HBO, and/or walking to the top of Bernal Hill.

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  1. Glad to see real journalism is practiced by the Mission Local. Thanks for keeping tabs on repairs and followup to this building and the displaced tenants.

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