From The New York Shitty Inbox: Greenpoint Lofts Going Rental…

February 25, 2010 by
Filed under: 11222, Greenpoint, Greenpoint Brooklyn, Greenpoint Magic 

and residential? The latter being the in the true north Brooklyn tradition (READ: illegal living space).

Not only are there “for lease” signs gracing the place formerly known as The Greenpoint Lofts but I have intriguing information from a tipster we’ll call Q. It started like this:

Hey Miss Heather,

My name is Q and I stumbled on your blog during my search for a work/live space.  I noticed you had quite a few entries about the place I was considering on 231 Norman…

This raised some serious bells and whistles for yours truly. You see, 231 Norman is by definition (and Certificate of Occupancy) a commercial space. Living is not allowed. I brought this and a number of other concerns to this person’s attention including (but not limited to):

1. The slew of complaints and violations for this property per the Department of Building’s Building Information System

2. What happened at 239 Banker Street). He/she replied:

…No, the property was not advertised as live/work space.  I saw it as a commercial property and I thought it would be possible to convert because the set up of this particular building seems to lend itself to that quite well.  On the other hand, I think there is a bit of wink-wink-nod kind of thing going on about the whole live/work set up.  I had a pretty big discussion with the realtor about putting in some amenities to make it a work/live set up and he informed me that there are people who have done that in the building.  In addition, he didn’t say that my plans to convert the place to make it more “livable” was anything illegal.  Of course, if one is to be a cynic, one could say that he is just eager to make a sale…

If 239 Banker has taught a number of unfortunate folks (and yours truly) an unpleasant lesson it is this: exercise due diligence. Do not take a broker’s word as gospel. This is not to suggest there are not reputable, ethical, dedicated brokers out there. There are— but there are many who are not. Especially in these lean economic times.

It goes without saying that if it seems too good to be true, it probably is. Trust your instincts and do not fool yourself into thinking that illegal conversions (even if given a blind eye by the developer and/or the real estate agents who represent his/her) cannot or will not effect you.

They can and will. The last I heard the residents of 239 Banker Street have yet to get back their deposit money. There’s a distinct possibility they never will. Don’t become a statistic.

Miss Heather


One Comment on From The New York Shitty Inbox: Greenpoint Lofts Going Rental…

  1. neighborhood threat on Thu, 25th Feb 2010 11:18 pm
  2. Here’s what happened: when this building was being renovated, the landlord assumed that they would get the usual zoning variance and be allowed to convert to residential, or at least that the city would look the other way. So that’s why you see things like kitchens and full baths in this building. However, the city didn’t turn a blind eye and probably paid a few visits and in the end, they couldn’t go ahead with the plan to lease residential. That’s what happened with the Loom out in Morgantown. I would take people in that building for work lofts, they’d see the sink and shower and say, “Oh, wait, I can live here?!” “No.” “But why–”

    Now, I understand that the Loom just started shoving anyone in there and not paying attention if someone was living there or not. And sure, that might happen here too. This place, unlike the “Sweater Factory,” at least has a C of O and it isn’t a fire hazard for people to be in the building, nor is the masonry or the water tank going to collapse on you. But don’t do it, because if you do and get thrown out you have NO recourse. The broker will never ever cough up the fee, the landlord will not give you back your deposit, even if you take them to small claims court – which I would recommend for the residents of 239 Banker, enough is enough already – you still have to get them to cough up the money and in this economy they likely don’t have it. Do you want to be on the street out a $3k deposit?

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