BREAKING: The Sweater Factory Lofts Gets DOB’d Again!

September 24, 2009 by
Filed under: 11222, Greenpoint, Greenpoint Brooklyn, Greenpoint Magic 

Remember the Sweater Factory Lofts?


You know, the building at 239 Banker Street that is zoned as a hotel but is actuality being used as residential space? The one which despite being fined $5,000 for violating a long standing Stop Work Order kept on working anyway? Day and night. Well, something very interesting came to pass there this afternoon.


Anonymous writes (at 3:19 p.m.):

Breaking news! That building next to what was studio B is being served vacated notice right now….


Unhappy residents on an unpaid vacate(ion). I’m sure Curbed will be interested. Building dept guys didn’t like me snapping pics.

WOW. I wonder how my buddy Max took the news? Just under two weeks ago he sold the Greenpoint Hotel for a paltry $3.5 millionand now this!?! I’m not too sure what motivated the Department of Buildings to issue a vacate order but if I had to hazard a guess, I’d say non-compliance with fire code had something to do with it.

Miss Heather

UPDATE, 5:27 p.m.: Apparently the Red Cross has been brought in to help displaced tenants from this building (pets and all) find a place to hang their respective hats. Per a reader:

The DOB showed up today, I think, around 2, and cleared the whole building. There’s an order to vacate posted on the front (“occupancy is perilous to life”), and a  (new?) stop work order plastered on the front door, plus about a 6 yellow sheets that I didn’t get close enough to read, mainly because all the tenants were trying to read them. Probably on their arrival home from work. I do feel a bit bad for those who moved in without a clue what they were getting themselves into.*

The Red Cross is outside finding people places to live, the landlord is scurrying around, and the tenants are outside with suitcases and their cats in carriers.

Curious what finally caused the DOB to crack down?

UPDATE, 7:29 p.m.: Musings on ‘point offers his expertise:

It’s not a fire issue, FD would have been present. It’s probably a combo of two things: it’s a factory, not a residence and structural issues; the facade seems to be falling off.  The DOB is loathe to vacate solely because of occupancy contrary to the CO (see 475 Kent) but “perilous” is usually code for “we think it might fall down.” I haven’t been following this or researched it but that would be my guess. If it’s not, I wouldn’t want to be living at 475, because they’re just as susceptible to just such selective enforcement.

*I agree. The Red Cross should NOT be pressed into providing housing to individuals whose only mistake was not being informed consumers. This organization was not founded to assist people who have found themselves homeless as a result of a landlord’s malfeasance and this city’s ineptitude and/or lack of responsiveness when it comes to protecting and serving its citizens. The blame for should be laid where it is truly due:

  1. This city and the agencies charged with enforcing housing/building/fire code. Had the standing Stop Work Order on this property been enforced, this would never had happened.
  2. The landlord: for not obeying the the aforementioned Stop Work Order and having a disregard for the safety of his tenants.
  3. The real estate agents who leased out these “residential” lofts knowing full well that they are illegal and hazardous. Anything for a buck.

UPDATE, 11:44 p.m.: another reader sends photographs:



Maybe this one will stick?


10 Comments on BREAKING: The Sweater Factory Lofts Gets DOB’d Again!

  1. Tony From Kent Street on Thu, 24th Sep 2009 10:26 pm
  2. FYI.. At about 1:25PM, FDNY was definitely there. More than one truck and plenty of firemen were present.

  3. lylet on Fri, 25th Sep 2009 8:12 am
  4. FD or no FD, there’s a huge crack in the masonry running down one of the rear corners of the building…

  5. neighborhood threat on Fri, 25th Sep 2009 8:44 am
  6. There was definite flooding on the ground floor last night when I went to take the photos of the vacate notice. I wonder if the water tank finally burst?

    There was SO MUCH information out there that this building was illegal. All you had to do was Google “greenpoint sweater factory”.

    But everyone in that building thought they were “living the dream.”

    This is NOT 475 Kent. This is NOT that illegal loft in Bushwick. The broker may have lied but given how much people hate brokers how did you NOT try to look this up?

  7. missheather on Fri, 25th Sep 2009 10:51 am
  8. I was, in fact, partially correct. The FDNY DID have a hand in this:

  9. foodiej81 on Fri, 25th Sep 2009 11:03 am
  10. At around 620ish I saw Eyewitness news outside filming the stop work orders and the poor people being tossed out. I agree that they should have been more informed consumers, I would be. Still the city should have taken more of a lead in preventing this kind of illegal activity.

  11. missheather on Fri, 25th Sep 2009 11:09 am
  12. Yeah, I stumbled upon it online:

    It’s amusing to see exactly how reliant the mainstream media is on blogs for news stories.

  13. lylet on Fri, 25th Sep 2009 11:26 am
  14. wow – rule number one of apartment leasing: check the hot water before you sign a lease. And I’m guessing that most of the brokers working on this assignment probably thought DOB means ‘date of birth’

  15. rowan on Sat, 26th Sep 2009 12:28 pm
  16. despite the Red Cross not being formed for this kind of event, i’m grateful that they were on hand to help. i can’t imagine suddenly being evicted (and with pets!) and wondering where i would go. uninformed or not, i feel sorry for the tenants and their pets.

  17. bleibtreu on Sat, 26th Sep 2009 6:37 pm
  18. I wasn’t present when the Red Cross was founded, so won’t assume that I can say with authority what its planned mission was. But with no such authority, my understanding is that its mission is simply to help people cope with emergencies. Like suddenly not having a home.

    It is in fact absolutely routine for the Red Cross to respond when DOB closes a building. If you ever see a fresh DOB vacate order on a residential building, you’ll also see that same Red Cross notice.

  19. Action on Tue, 13th Oct 2009 10:59 am
  20. The vacate happened 3 days before I was supposed to move in. I’m working with Brooklyn Civil Court to start the process to get my money back. Does anyone know of alternative routes to take? Maybe a class action case?

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