The Word On The Street: Green Point Beach

This rather amusing bit of vandalism hails from 239 Banker Street; AKA: the Sweater Factory Lofts. And if what I saw this afternoon is any indication this building is— beyond any shadow of a doubt— being quite illegally pressed into service as residential space. Let’s review my findings, shall we?

For starters, you have a very residential throw pillow propping open a window and this rather stylish lamp. Not convinced yet? No worries, gentle readers. I am just getting warmed up.

There were not one— but two people— waiting to view apartments therein. Naturally I took it upon myself to give them a very general run-down of the history of this building. E.g.: it was not legally permissible to reside at 239 Banker Street (by virtue of it being located in an Industrial Business Zone); it had been pressed into service as residential space previously; and this ended with a Vacate Order as issued by the Department of Buildings— and a class action suit filed by a number of tenants (who are, to my understanding, still waiting to get their deposit money back). Were they happy to hear this? No, they were not.

Just as I was not happy to watch this couple (tenants, presumably) exiting said building…

and this family moving their son into it. Naturally I took a moment to speak with them. They, as did everyone else I chatted with on Banker Street this afternoon, had a number of questions for me. Follows are a few:

  1. Our lawyer saw nothing wrong with the paperwork, so what makes you think this building is illegal to live in? My answer: check my site.
  2. If this building is illegal to live in, why are they leasing it as residential space? My answer: Excellent question. (But if I had to hazard to guess, I’d say greed.)
  3. If the Department of Buildings has been alerted that this space is being illegally leased as residential space, why aren’t they doing anything about it? My answer (once again): Excellent question…

This is a disgrace, folks…

Comments

4 Comments on The Word On The Street: Green Point Beach

  1. SpillConspirator on Sun, 25th Mar 2012 8:26 am
  2. And there’s so many light industrial businesses looking for space. I wonder how much DOB gets to clear the building for the landlord’s next batch of down payers.

  3. SimpleTwig on Sun, 25th Mar 2012 1:37 pm
  4. I’ve had developers like this call my office, and I say ‘I can’t help you’ because they are willing to ignore the law completely due to their massive ego. They have a general disrespect for the law, Architects, and residents. This owner is in a deep financial pit because of his actions. Even if the city changes the zoning to residential (or he gets a variance) there’s no way the FAR works for this site. I also can’t believe any professional would work on this project including all the ‘architects’ and ‘engineers’ who filed on the owner’s behalf or the contractor who built it. Realitors need to also say what’s legal and what’s not, implying some spaces can be used as bedrooms when they’re obviously illegal to do so.

  5. superclam on Mon, 26th Mar 2012 8:18 am
  6. Not to mention those holes by the lintel & windowsill will be “interesting” when the first windy rain comes!

  7. cityslicker24 on Sun, 8th Apr 2012 8:04 pm
  8. I am a real estate salesperson and I just started working for a broker that’s representing the property owner, leasing out the building’s top three floors as residential units. I had not heard anything about this building being illegal until a couple of my prospective clients cancelled on me, citing your website.

    A couple of things I wanted to raise with you: Oasisnyc.com shows that this is zoned as an office building, not as a manufacturing facility, as your article claims. Also, you fail to mention that the building was issued a certificate of occupancy in 1930, permitting up to 225 occupants on the upper three floors, though you do allude to the fact that NYC Department of Finance has this building classified as a hotel.

    Furthermore, an application for legalization under the NYC loft law is pending, and indeed the building has undergone modernization, including new windows, floors, and fire sprinklers installed throughout each unit. I was in the units two days ago and saw that there have been significant projects intended to make the building appropriate for dwelling use.

    Obvioulsy your efforts to keep everybody informed are laudable, and now that this story has been brought to my attention, I have the legal duty, which I will uphold, to advise my prospective tenant clients that the building is zoned as a commercial space, that the legal status of the building has yet to be determined, since the DOB has not yet resolved the active complaints, and that an application for coverage under the loft law is pending. And I will try to get the company’s listing agent to bring these issues up with the owner and the city in order to find out whether I should even be dealing with this property at all.

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