From The New York Shitty Inbox: Apartments For Rent At 239 Banker?

January 8, 2012 ·
Filed under: 11222, Greenpoint, Greenpoint Brooklyn, Greenpoint Magic 

An anonymous tipster writes:

Hello Heather,

I’ve been apartment hunting in Greenpoint and responded to this Craigslist ad about a “newly converted warehouse”:

The agent set up a showing with me today, and told me to meet her at the corner of Meserole and Franklin. When I arrived, she was 10 minutes late, so I called her phone and she told me to come meet her outside of 239 Banker.

Well I know quite a bit about 239 Banker, thanks to your blog. And I couldn’t resist going in and having a look-see.

I asked the agent whether this is the same building where all the tenants were forced out because the building was unsafe/illegal. She tried dodging the question at first but eventually conceded that it was in fact the same building. I then asked her if the building was still owned by the same guy, and whether it was up to code/legal. She assured me it was and that he had fixed all of those issues.

She showed me a number of units on the 4th floor, all priced between $3000 for a moderately-sized studio loft up to $3300 for a larger loft, and apparently all prices are negotiable. In fact when I told her I’d looked at a different loft building on Kent (59 Kent), she pressed me for details on how much they were charging for units there.

I’d say the units seem semi-habitable. Some looked as though they’d recently been spruced up, most did not yet have any appliances, and the laundry rooms did not have any machines in them. One unit still had evidence of the old tenants- a makeshift lofted space still intact, and some artwork left sitting above the kitchen cabinets.

One unit I looked at literally had a hole in the brick wall about the size of a baseball that went straight through to the outdoors. I joked that perhaps there were squirrels living in the unit. The agent did not seem amused.

Many of the floors showed signs of water/environmental damage. They were uneven in many units, and peeling up in others. It’s actually quite sad, because the space could be very nice. The original details are great, and the square footage of the units are pretty well-sized.

Anyways, I thought I’d let you know because I’m VERY curious to know if 239 Banker is legally habitable. Regardless, I won’t be renting there given the history of the building.

To address Anonymous’s question, the answer is an emphatic NO.

239 Banker Street is located in an Industrial Business Zone. Curiously enough, hotels are permissible in such areas (take the proliferation of such establishments on the Northside, for example). Residential property, however, is not. The owners of 239 Banker Street could seek a zoning variance through our local Community Board to make this arrangement legal. (They haven’t.) They can also file paperwork with the Department of Buildings to “convert” this manufacturing property into residential. This they tried…

and it was declined. Inasmuch as I can ascertain work has been conducted on this property without the auspices of any applicable permits whatsoever. Peruse the permits on file and see for yourself. This just goes to show if something strikes you as being amiss about an apartment you are viewing, gentle readers, it is best to go with those instincts (and consult the Department of Buildings’s Building Information System).

Caveat emptor, apartment shoppers.

UPDATE, January 9, 2012: It would appear this tome has come to the attention of a former resident. Here’s what he/she has to say:

Hilarious! Those pictures (well, two of them) are of my former pad pre-vacate order.


UPDATE, January 9, 2012; 5:40 p.m.: A tipster found these units listed on Street Easy.

He/she writes:


All units are up on street easy as available.  I started a discussion at the bottom.  Good looking out.

While this is clearly a listing from the previous owner, it is informative nonetheless. In 2009 these “units” went for $2,100 plus. Three years later you can have the luxury of living in this illegal apartment building at the starting price of $3,000 a month! Nice.

P.S.: In the event the above-mentioned apartment advertisement is removed by Craigslist, you can view a screencap of it by clicking here. Do give it a read. Your truly’s favorite passage is as follows:

Several units to choose from at this point! Some are complete 2 or 3 bedrooms while other are beautiful open spaces.

One has to admire this rather artful spin on an illegal (and unfinished) apartment building. And yes, there are plenty of units to choose from after a building has been, say, vacated by the Department of Buildings for conditions imminently perilous to human life. Genius!

New York Shitty Photo du Jour: 239 Banker Street

July 31, 2011 ·
Filed under: 11222, Greenpoint, Greenpoint Brooklyn, Greenpoint Magic 

It would appear the mysterious resident (caretaker?) of 239 Banker Street has installed a second air conditioner.

Miss Heather

Quicklink: Who’s Behind The Blight?

July 18, 2011 ·
Filed under: 11222, Bloomblight, Greenpoint, Greenpoint Brooklyn, Greenpoint Magic 

Those of you who have been following this site of late have undoubtedly noticed yours truly’s renewed interest in 239 Banker Street. After seemingly no activity whatsoever for about a year since being vacated by the Department of Buildings it appears to have a resident. For those of you who are wondering, this is not only dangerous but it is also quite illegal.

Needless to say when this was brought to my attention by my buddy over at Brooklyn11211 I found it quite informative. Want to know who is behind a number of derelict construction sites and nondos hereabouts (including 239 Banker Street), gentle readers? Look no further: The Real Deal has the answer! Do take a moment to give this read.

Miss Heather

Spotted At 239 Banker Street: Signs Of Life

July 12, 2011 ·
Filed under: 11222, Greenpoint, Greenpoint Brooklyn, Greenpoint Magic 

Despite its rather drab appearance Banker Street is proving to be rather lively of late. Yesterday I observed that 259 is in the process of being reverted (back) to an “eating and drinking establishment”. This is a development which undoubtedly bring its neighbors (especially those familiar with Studio B) much joy. Well folks, the fun doesn’t stop there! If the above footage (which was shot July 10th) is any indication, it would appear that someone has taken residence next door at 239 which, as some of you might recall, was vacated by the Department of Buildings almost two years ago for conditions imminently perilous to human life.

This is in and of itself quite interesting. It gets even more so when one considers:

1. A group of residents who were evacuated from this buildings have filed a class action suit to get their security deposits back.

2. The owner of this property (fairly) recently tried— and failed— to get it re-classified as residential.

To be continued…?

Miss Heather

Spotted At 239 Banker Street: Pure Love

May 1, 2011 ·
Filed under: 11222, Greenpoint, Greenpoint Brooklyn, Greenpoint Magic 

Taken May 1, 2011.

Miss Heather

P.S.: On a related note I recently received an email which would suggest someone is living here. Anonymous writes:

I was past 239 Banker this morning when I saw one of the secondary doors (one of the ones between the main door and Meserole) open, and a gentleman walk out, carrying a plastic bag and wheeling a bicycle. When I walked by the door, I saw someone had taken that blue painter’s masking tape, and cut pieces to mark the door with a “239”…

If it was someone living there to make sure the place wasn’t vandalized, I could almost be sympathetic, but the number on the door makes me feel like something else is up.
I called it in to 311 (who just hands it over to the 94th, and I will call the non-emergency number later myself), and asked them to transfer me to DOB to file that complaint as well. According to BIS, Full Vacate still exists on that property.

Some of you might recall this Vacate Order was served back in 2009. If not, this might refresh your memory. As far as I know none of the former tenants of this building have received their security deposits back.

Greenpoint Street Seating du Jour: Buckle Up!

From Banker Street.

Miss Heather

New York Shitty Day Ender: From Banker Street With Love

February 19, 2011 ·
Filed under: 11222, Greenpoint, Greenpoint Brooklyn, Greenpoint Magic, Street Art 

Taken February 20, 2011.

Miss Heather

From The New York Shitty Inbox, Part II: Signs of Life at The Sweater Factory Lofts?

December 28, 2010 ·
Filed under: 11222, Greenpoint, Greenpoint Brooklyn, Greenpoint Magic 

The tipster who took the above photograph writes:

Open? Vacate notices removed and door propped open. There’s even someone shoveling sidewalk out front.

New York Shitty “glass half full” analysis:

At least they are cleaning the sidewalk.

New York Shitty “glass half empty” analysis:

There is still a Vacate Order on this property.


Miss Heather

New York Shitty Day Ender: Oh Sh*t!

May 20, 2010 ·
Filed under: 11222, Greenpoint, Greenpoint Brooklyn, Greenpoint Magic, Street Art 

From the Sweater Factory Lofts.

Miss Heather

From The New York Shitty Inbox, Part I: A Question About 467 Troutman

May 14, 2010 ·
Filed under: 11231, Bushwick, Bushwick Brooklyn 

J writes:

Miss Heather:

I’m apologize in advance if I am wasting your time, but you seem like you might be able to shed some light on a certain amount of confusion I have around 467 Troutman.

I’m looking to move into a 3 BR loft in the area and have been shown several decent options. We were recently shown a space in 467 Troutman – I went in with very low expectations resulting from some internet research and a landlord/manager that I (think) I respect telling me the following:

Eeks! 467 troutman st has no certificate of occupancy, same landlord as 260 Moore street + 315 siegel .I don’t recommend living in that particular landlords buildings-besides the dept of building violations the buildings has bedbug issues and shanty build out of the building…

Anyway, the space I saw was the nicest I’ve seen so far – kitchen/bathroom seemed relatively new and clean, the hallways clean, the buildout seemed better than most I’ve seen, etc…. the overall vibe seemed good – and the the tenant who currently occupies the space told us she’d been there 4 years and had nothing negative to say about the landlord.

Do you know of any good reason to not live there? My feeling is that the building had issues in the past but things are better now… Am I missing something? It seems like Max Starck and 467 Troutman come up often enough on your website in a negative light… so I thought I’d ask you for your opinion.

Thanks so much for any info you might be able to provide, and thanks for doing what you do. It’s an invaluable resource.

Aside from having walked by 467 Troutman (and knowing that Max Starck) is its owner I know very little about this building. For this reason I am putting your inquiry to my readers, J. This having been written I am familiar with a number of Mr. Starck’s other buildings. For the purposes of this post I am going to narrow my focus to two: the Sweater Factory Lofts and the Greenpoint Hotel. Both are located in Greenpoint.

As you have probably learned by perusing my site, the Sweater Factory Lofts were vacated by the Department of Buildings last year for harboring conditions dangerous to human life. Among the violations cited were uncapped electrical wires and sprinklers being sealed over with sheet rock. A rather appalling fire safety hazard if you ask me. It should also be noted that the space in question (239 Banker Street) was zoned to be a hotel but Mr. Starck and his partner were marketing it as residential property. This may seem trivial but the fact of the matter is there are different safety requirements for transient and residential properties. See where I am going with this?

Now let’s consider the Greenpoint Hotel for a moment. Until fairly recently it was owned by Mr. Starck. The new owner (whom I have met and it should be noted acquired this property at a public auction— it was seized) is spending a lot of money to get this facility back to code. Among the violations being corrected are a sagging wall, an inoperative bathroom and, drum roll please, repairing a number of inoperative sprinkler heads.

These are but two examples be they are enough to establish a pattern of neglect and general disregard for tenant safety. I have little doubt if you were to search his other properties (like 315 Seigel Street, for example) you will find similar such stuff. While I applaud your due diligence for talking to a tenant of 467 Troutman Street I have to go with the landlord/manager on this one: keep away from anything this chap owns.

This having been written does anyone— preferably tenants of Mr. Starck’s properties— have any advice for J? If so please leave them in the comments or email them to me at: missheather (at) thatgreenpointblog (dot) com. All tips/anecdotes will be kept anonymous if you so desire.


Miss Heather

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