Live From The ULURP Review Meeting: 77 Commercial Street Presents

Pretty Shot

Borough Of Brooklyn

Chris O Is In The House

Rami Is In The House

175 AMI

As promised, here comes the footage from last night’s hearing regarding 77 Commercial Street. Enjoy!

The public speaking session starts.

And the ostensible “Voice of Our Community”, Christopher Olechowski, is nowhere to be found.

No worries, there were plenty of citizens with something to say. Like one of north ‘Point’s foremost and formidable badasses: Laura Hofmann! You can read her statement here.

Clipper Equity? That sounds vaguely familiar

MARK YOUR CALENDARS: ULURP Hearing Regarding Greenpoint Landing & 77 Commercial Street

August 9, 2013 ·
Filed under: 11222, Gentrification, Greenpoint, Greenpoint Brooklyn, Greenpoint Magic 

CB1sc

 

For those of you who are not in the know next Tuesday, August 13th, a ULURP (Land Use Committee) meeting will come to pass at Automotive High School regarding Greenpoint Landing. GWAPP has pretty good, easily understandable synopsis of the progress of this endeavor. Please give it a read, show up and speak up!

ULURP Hearing Regarding Greenpoint Landing
August 13, 2013 starting at 6:30 p.m.
Automotive High School
50 Bedford Avenue
Brooklyn, New York 11222

Closing on a related note…

CB1sc2

  •  The following Tuesday, also at the Automotive High School, there will be a public hearing regarding 77 Commercial Street.

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  • The following evening, August 21, 2013, we have not only a meeting of the Executive Committee of Community Board 1, but also the “Battle of the Stephens”

FBSC

It is proving to be a lively August in the Garden Spot, folks…

From The New York Shitty Inbox: Community Workshop Regarding Greenpoint Landing & 77 Commercial Street

Given the major implications these projects have for our community, I feel compelled to pass along this missive I received this morning from the folks at GWAPP.

emailblastANNO

 

At a casual glance this seems all well and good, yes? This brings me to the mailing address for GWAPP which I have highlighted— and not too secret fact known by quite a few Greenpointer: the mailing address for this organization is, in fact, that of the very attorney cum community activist who was hired by the Park Tower Group (whose endeavor Greenpoint Landing is) to advocate for the 2005 rezone in the first place.

From NY1 on April 4, 2005:

Here’s another corker courtesy of Amanda Burden.

It provides opportunities for new housing, including affordable housing for a range of incomes, while respecting the scale and mixed-use character that defines these vibrant neighborhoods.

Um, in the clarity that is 2013 hindsight, it did not exactly work out that way— but I digress. Now the New York Daily News on April 29, 2005:

NYDNsc

It also interesting to note this same-said fellow is a board member of Open Space Alliance North Brooklyn— and the Park Tower Group was a “partner” at last year’s $150 a head fundraiser at the McCarren Park Pool.

bigsplash

 

Rather funny/sad/curious, isn’t it? In any case, any and all who are interested in attending this community forum can RSVP by clicking here.

Community Workshop Regarding Greenpoint Landing & 77 Commercial Street
June 27, 2013 starting at 6:30 p.m.
Newtown Creek Waste Water Treatment Plant Visitors Center
329 Greenpoint Avenue
Brooklyn, New York 11222

UPDATE, 4:57 p.m.: Oh, I forgot to mention this oldie but goody, also from NY1. It dates from July 29, 2002:

NY17292002hilite

You can read the rest here.

Quicklink: Community Meeting Notes Regarding Greenpoint Landing & 77 Commercial Street

gpterSCYours truly opted not to attend this convocation (one can only stomach so much of this stuff— seriously). However a writer at Greenpointers, Peter, has authored an excellent summary. Do take a moment to give it a read!

New York Shitty Street Art Du Jour: C215

June 7, 2013 ·
Filed under: 11222, Greenpoint, Greenpoint Brooklyn, Greenpoint Magic, Street Art 

c215

This morning as I was walking past 77 Commercial Street I had the feeling I was being watched. Sure enough, I was!

Today’s Moment Of Greenpoint Real Estate Insanity: Special 239 Banker Street Edition

May 22, 2013 ·
Filed under: 11222, Greenpoint, Greenpoint Brooklyn, Greenpoint Magic, Wow, WTF 

239banker5222013You can probably imagine, gentle readers, the recent decision regarding a fellow renting out his apartment (condominium, actually) via Airbnb was of great interest to yours truly. Not that I had to search for it, mind you. Yesterday I awakened in yet another morning episode of allergy hell to find reporting on the subject on my Facebook page and inbox. It’s nice to know people care.

And on that note I am going to pass the love forward to my friends at 239 Banker Street. Today I had a thought while walking by this edifice/poster child for Loft Law abuse. It was as follows:

Gee, wouldn’t it be funny if this building— which was converted from industrial/commercial use to housing illegally— under the pretext of being permissible as a hotel— had a listing on AirBnb (now that it has been established that AirBnb is illegal in our fair city)?

Well, grab hold of your Shit Tits fellow Garden Spotters— it does! What’s more, it is was very easy to discern. Before I proceed, I’d like share to take a moment to share Airbnb’s “response” to the recent court decision (once again, from Gawker):

This decision runs contrary to the stated intention and the plain text of New York law, so obviously we are disappointed. But more importantly, this decision makes it even more critical that New York law be clarified to make sure regular New Yorkers can occasionally rent out their own homes. There is universal agreement that occasional hosts like Nigel Warren were not the target of the 2010 law, but that agreement provides little comfort to the handful of people, like Nigel, who find themselves targeted by overzealous enforcement officials. It is time to fix this law and protect hosts who occasionally rent out their own homes. 87 percent of Airbnb hosts in New York list just a home they live in — they are average New Yorkers trying to make ends meet, not illegal hotels that should be subject to the 2010 law.

Well, given what I have learned recently, we have an exceptional lot of New Yorkers in Greenpoint. Sure, they’re trying to make ends “meet”— but are they home owners? No they are not. Meet “Joseph”. One of the 13%.

airbnbSC5222013NYS

room1

This “average” New Yorker is not only a fashion/celebrity photographer, but he has a rather snazzy profile photo and by all appearances resides at 239 Banker Street.

AirbnblistingversusgooglemapsHILITEDNYS

The “giveaway”? Well for starters the buildings gracing “Joseph’s” (AirBnb certified) “rooftop view”: Pop’s Clothing and House of Vans respectively. Here’s an alternate view from 7 Franklin Street (“Pop’s”) courtesy of Google Maps:

7franklinstreetGooglemaplookingeasthilitedNYS

I have highlighted 239 Banker Street. But wait, there’s more! “Joseph” has done all the homework for me— albeit unintentionally— via a second listing on AirBnb!

BUSTED

Busted!

To recap:

  1. The owners of 239 Banker Street were granted permits to convert this manufacturing/commercial building into a hotel. This is perfectly legal given it is located in an Industrial Business Zone.
  2. Instead, the owners converted it into residences and leased it as such. For $2,100- $2,200 a month.
  3. 239 Banker Street was vacated by the Department of Buildings for conditions hazardous to said residents.
  4. Under new “ownership” 239 Banker is rented out once again as residential lofts. This time for substantially more money.
  5. I raise hell.
  6. I receive an email from my City Councilman regarding the matter. I blog it.
  7. A Loft Law application, however inapplicable it may be presently, is filed.
  8. And now we have a legally-sanctioned hotel converted illegally into residences which, in turn, one resident is illegally employing his apartment as a hotel via AirBnb. Ostensibly to “make ends meet”.

Wouldn’t it have simply been better/easier if this property was a hotel in the first place?

Priceless

(Priceless)

239 Banker Street Craigslist Advertisement Du Jour

September 4th, 2012

You know what they say:

Here today, gone tomorrow.

This is doubly the case when it comes to the smash-jaw world of north Brooklyn Real Estate. For example: the latest advertisement posted by this fellow on September 7th:

As you can see:

  1. Greenpoint has been dispensed with altogether
  2. as has the wretchedly comical moniker “The Rustic House”.

Perhaps the latter is due to the fact this factory (which is firmly located in the 11222 zip code) was divested of bricks and other construction/demolition-related material September 6th? That would certainly make it less “rustic”. Regardless, this individual’s new angle is one of safety, luxury and of course: Williamsburg. I find this fascinating for a number of reasons. Follows are two:

1. A recent account from someone who inquired about one of these “apartments”:

I have viewed one of these units, cuz, you know, looking for 3 bedrooms I was cruising Craigslist and I was *very* bewildered when they came up. Oh. My. God. Even the realtor (first week on the job, just moved to NYC and is couch surfing) said “Yeah. I’m sorry. I don’t know why they said that. It’s not a 3 bedroom at all. And I wouldn’t bring a kid here, no way”

This sort of negates the safety argument— among other things.

2. I have previously noted a “Community Organizer” from NAG (Neighbors Allied For Good Growth) had some involvement in someone filing a Loft Law application for this property. It’s been my personal experience the most damning thing one can do to a hypocrite is to use his (or her) own words. So here it goes:

…NAG has been a big proponent of industrial retention and affordable housing. It is our goal to protect the little guy, both small manufacturing and loft tenants. We have advocated continuously for mixed use districting in our neighborhood, supporting standards that allow manufacturing and creative residences to share space safely and effectively.  Our neighborhood has the immense pressure of luxury housing constantly looming and we feel that the Loft Law expansion can help alleviate displacement of residents from the Greenpoint & Williamsburg community

Let’s take a very rational look at 239 Banker Street.

1. Exactly HOW is “organizing” residents, who were seemingly unaware of this property’s “history” (if said “organizer” is to be believed)— but are willing to pay $2,700- $3,300 a month in rent, going to realistically address the issue of “displacement” in Greenpoint is it actually exists? (Answer: It won’t.)

2. The above-listed advertisements purporting roof-top views, stainless steel appliances, etc., strike me as being amenities associated with “luxury” housing.

3. How does enabling the conversion of 239 Banker Street (and other properties like it) to become residential property by legislation (as opposed to going through our Community Board, of which the aforementioned “Community Organizer” is a member) help “the little guy”— be it an artist seeking an inexpensive place to work, a small business, mom and pop landlords or (especially) long term residents— the latter of whom made this community “safe” in the first place?  (Answer: it does not.)

4. The Certificate of Occupancy on file states it was (is?) a factory building. Sort of.

As you will note Job number 302260871 has been listed— but alas there is no Certificate of Occupancy available and/or on file. Here’s a synopsis:

NOTE:

  • This application was approved on July 21, 2008 but the permit was not issued until January 25th, 2011.
  • This application seeks to convert 239 Banker Street to J-1 Residential (Hotel).

Now let’s jump back to NAG’s Loft Law page (which states the revised requirements for Loft Law protection):

  • Three or more units in your building must have been put to residential use during any consecutive 12 month period from January 1, 2008 through December 31, 2009. (239 Banker does not qualify. NAG’s “Community Organizer” certainly made quite me aware of this fact.)
  • Some portion of your building must have previously been occupied for either manufacturing, warehousing, or commercial purposes. (239 Banker does qualify.)
  • Your building must currently lack a residential certificate of occupancy. (We’ll get to this shortly.)
  • Your unit must have at least one window opening to the street, a yard, or court. (I suspect this is why neighbors were complaining about bricks falling in their backyard and why bricks and other debris were hauled out of 239 Banker two days ago: these windows were being made.)
  • Your unit must be at least 550 square feet. (239 Banker’s “hotel rooms” are.)
  • Your unit cannot be located in a basement or cellar. (Inasmuch as I know none are at 239 Banker Street.)
  • Your unit cannot be in a building that, as of June 21, 2010, contained certain uses determined by the Loft Board to be incompatible with residential use. (Very, very vague. I’m guessing 239 Banker will pass.).

To wrap it all up: How can 239 Banker Street be taxed as a hotel (which it never has been) without a Certificate of Occupancy? That is a question for the New York City Department of Finance. As to why the present owners of 239 Banker Street have seemingly gotten away with little more than a slap on the wrist, perhaps that has something to do with the following?

Anyone care to guess who “He”  really is?

New York Shitty Day Starter: 239 Banker Street, Revisited Once Again

June 4, 2012 ·
Filed under: 11222, Greenpoint, Greenpoint Brooklyn, Greenpoint Magic 

Once again, a word from our City Councilman:

Heather,

I have noticed your posts and am glad you continue to bring light to the issue of lofts in Greenpoint and Williamsburg. The Loft Law was designed to protect residential tenants who, knowingly or unknowingly, moved into manufacturing or commercial spaces and it may grant rights for tenants to save and stabilize their housing and avoid the excessive costs associated with being vacated.  With regard to 239 Banker Street, I cannot say whether they will be covered by the Loft Law.  However, when the building was vacated in 2009, many tenants suddenly lost their living spaces as well as thousands of dollars in rent and security deposits.  I do not want to see a repeat of that event.  I will work to ensure that all building code issues at 239 Banker are addressed, but I hope to avoid seeing another vacate order if possible.  All I can do is try to spread the word about the Loft Law so that tenants in such spaces can apply for coverage that they may be legally entitled to.  Of course, the Loft Board will make final determinations about each application individually.

And I suppose “ensuring all building code issues are addressed” includes doing work without a permit on a Sunday?

New York Shitty analysis: they ain’t doing pointing.

You can view this, the latest advertisement for the “lofts” at 239 Banker Street on Craigslist by clicking here.*

*A casual search of this phone number netted this gem:

Alas this apartment is no longer available. I have little doubt the availability of “bras” is to blame. In closing, here are a few screencaps of advertisements from StreetEasy for 239 Banker Street for your viewing pleasure:

Greenpoint Photo du Jour: Commercial Street

April 5, 2011 ·
Filed under: 11222, Greenpoint, Greenpoint Brooklyn, Greenpoint Magic 

Taken April 4, 2011.

Miss Heather

From The New York Shitty Inbox: Regarding Tomorrow’s Hearing

December 4, 2013 ·
Filed under: 11222, Greenpoint, Greenpoint Brooklyn, Greenpoint Magic 
A very nice lady named Kim writes:
Hi Heather,
This is Kim over at Save Greenpoint. Just wanted to give you a heads up that the City has switched the location of the Public Hearing to City Hall. I’m not sure if it’s b/c they are anticipating a whole bunch of us or they are trying to confuse people so they won’t have a chance to sign up and speak. Either way, we can’t let that happen.
Here is the new location. The time slots will remain the same.

Subcommittee on Zoning and Franchises (77 Commercial Street)

9:30 am

Council Chambers, City Hall

 

Subcommittee on Planning, Dispositions,& Concessions (Greenpoint Landing)

1 pm

Committee Room, City Hall

Thanks!

Plan accordingly, Garden Spotters!

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