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?

Comments

2 Comments on 239 Banker Street Craigslist Advertisement Du Jour

  1. lauren on Sun, 9th Sep 2012 9:34 am
  2. Amazing investigative work. The Vito Lopez angle is such a wretched twist to this never-ending tale.

  3. missheather on Mon, 10th Sep 2012 9:11 am
  4. You can rest assured if Vito has his hand in something, it is probably NOT for the betterment of the community. At least not as a whole. Rather, he is simply (and cynically) playing people off of each other for his own gain. That’s been his shtick for decades. As you can see, it has worked. Rather depressing if you ask me.

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