The former J.E. Morgan Knitting Mills Inc. factory in Hometown, which had numerous owners since 1984, has again passed ownership.

Alan James Inc., of Nesquehoning, purchased the 40.47 acre property for $1.655 million on Wednesday.

The Morgans factory, which is located behind the Hometown Farmers Market just off of SR54 in Rush Township, opened the plant in 1969 and 1,100 people worked there by the time they sold it in 1984 to Dawson International, of Scotland. At one time, the factory, which had built a long history that started in 1945 with John E. Morgan and his wife Anna, was considered Schuylkill County's largest employer.

In 1999, Sara Lee bought the Morgan Factory, which, at the time, included the plant, the distribution center in the Tidewood Industrial Park, a smaller facility in Hometown and an outlet store located at the Tamaqua Five Points intersection. Sara Lee laid off 460 jobs, starting in 2002.

In 2009, Hanesbrands, which had purchased the facilities, terminated the last 155 jobs in the area.

Alan James bought the property from The Great Eight LLC, of Perryville Mo. The Great Eight LLC is a trucking and logistics company that had owned it since buying it in 2009 from Hanesbrands Inc., Winston-Salem, N.C., for $1.825 million. Hanesbrands was the last company to use the building for manufacturing.

Pennsylvania will receive $16,550 from the sale, while the township and Tamaqua Area School District, in the form of transfer taxes, will each receive $8,275.

Alan James Inc. does not intend to make the building a factory again, according to Alan James' lawyer Joseph J. Velitsky, of Summit Hill. Velitsky noted that its purpose will remain as a warehouse. He added that Elk Lighting, of Nesquehoning, will continue to use the building.