New York Shitty Day Starter: Now In Williamsburg…

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

239 Banker Street!



 

LAST GASP: 239 Banker Street Gets SWO’ed (again)

July 2, 2012 ·
Filed under: 11222, Greenpoint, Greenpoint Brooklyn, Greenpoint Magic 

Perhaps this has something to do with the pile of debris this fellow saw at this building’s “open house” last weekend? Among other things. Follows are a few complaints about this property I found interesting. Enjoy!

Reader Comment Du Jour: A Dispatch From 239 Banker Street

July 2, 2012 ·
Filed under: 11222, Greenpoint, Greenpoint Brooklyn, Greenpoint Magic 

Some of you might recall that last week I posted an item about Greenpoint’s my favorite illegal residential conversion: 239 Banker Street. More specifically that this— one of Greenpoint’s more notorious “loft spaces”— was to have an “open house” last weekend (as seen at left). In this tome I wrote:

Your eyes are not deceiving you, Greenpointers. This weekend there will be an open house at 239 Banker Street! Those of you who are curious to see what an illegal residential conversion in an Industrial Business Zone looks like (or simply want to ask Mr. McHale a lot of really uncomfortable questions about the legal status and history of this building) this is your golden opportunity!

Guess what? Someone did! A commenter who calls himself/herself “gittlebass” writes today, July 2nd, 2012 (NOTE: I have taken the liberty of bold-facing my favorite passages— and there are many!):

i went to this.

1) the first broker never showed. when asked if we could see an apartment he said “if the door is open just go in and look around” which i did, and it was a horror show reminiscent of the basement scene from the burbs, i just couldn’t find the furnace. Also, they did the ol’ “This apt is on calyer and franklin” then when i got there “oh its a mistake in the ad, go to 239 banker st”

2) he said the rooms can be built out to whatever i would like. Ok, ill bite, how about…i dont know…windows and floors!? there was a huge mound of dirt in the middle of the hallway and bricks for where there should be a window. the realtor on the phone assured me that this would be ready for july 15th, which is impossible just short of a miracle in which jesus returns as the carpenter he was in order to build lofts for the poor.

3) All the apts had to be moved in by august 1st, no exceptions. i found this odd and asked them about it, they didn’t have a reason why, just that they had to be occupied. I was offered a free months rent to get me in there

4) It was a realtor frenzy there. I asked about the legality of the building because of its sordid past, and they offered to show me the documents that proved they were legal, only thing is, they had the docs in the office and had to go get them if we wanted to see them. i said i did and that i’d wait patiently, but she couldn’t leave cause there were other people coming to check out the place (red flag). She also told me that all my info was wrong and that no one was ever evicted. then there was this other broker who asked if i had a broker,  i said he didn’t show up and then the broker who was there did the “money rub” with his fingers and at that point i left

overall it’s a shit show there and i feel bad for anyone who gets duped. save your money and get a nice place to live for cheaper. hell, even the gawdy condos they keep building are cheaper and LEGAL.

Fascinating!

UPDATE, 11:45 p.m.: It would appear 239 Banker Street was served a Stop Work Order this weekend. Click here for the deets (they’re interesting to say the least).


 

From The North Brooklyn Community Group*: Open House!

June 28, 2012 ·
Filed under: 11222, Greenpoint Brooklyn, Greenpoint Magic, Greenwich Village 

Your eyes are not deceiving you, Greenpointers. This weekend there will be an open house at 239 Banker Street! Those of you who are curious to see what an illegal residential conversion in an Industrial Business Zone looks like (or simply want to ask Mr. McHale a lot of really uncomfortable questions about the legal status and history of this building) this is your golden opportunity!


View Larger Map

Tell him New York Shitty sent you.

*Here’s what a member of said forum (a real estate agent, no less) had to say when I pointed out these lofts are NOT legally allowable for residential use:

Well damn. At some point they’re gonna have to tell them that the space is not zoned for living. Its gonna say it right on the lease!

Heh.

Reader Comment Du Jour: No Children Allowed At 239 Banker Street?

June 5, 2012 ·
Filed under: 11222, Greenpoint, Greenpoint Brooklyn, Greenpoint Magic 

If a commenter we’ll call Wayne is to be believed this would appear to be the case. He writes:

The shenanigans at 239 Banker invoked enough curiosity that I called the broker. Apparently, these lofts have been renting like hotcakes as only five remain. I explained to the broker that I am looking for 1,500 square feet. Of course, he wanted to know my credit and income and how soon I could move in. Fair enough. Must have been my lucky day since of the five remaining lofts, there is one 1,500 square foot space. Upon further inquiry about what I could expect for a monthly rent of $4,000 [not the lesser amount noted on craigslist], the broker told me I would get just an open space. No heat. No hot water. Though the building has a laundry. Fair enough. It is what it is. I asked if the landlord would allow me to construct two bedrooms. Yes. I asked if a two-year lease was possible. No, was the retort. Only one year leases. I asked when my wife and two children could inspect the space. That’s when the conversation turned around. The broker informed me there’s graffiti across the street and all over, the area is dirty and very noisy, and the building in particular is very, very noisy. I explained to the broker that we are Greenpoint loft dwellers [100% legal building I might add] and what he was stating about the neighborhood does not match reality [except for the graffiti across the street, but so what]. He went on to tell me that the building is full of shares and egads, yes, hipsters, and there are no children in residence. Of course, not wishing to rent to a family is wholly illegal [the broker is clearly unaware of this] yet one has to give this broker a modicum of credit as he fully knows 239 Banker will blowup again with the DOB and to have a family evicted would not make for good press, particularly when the new owners just plunked down $9.1 million for this shipwreck.

Fascinating. Than again, given all the laws being broken here what’s another one?

New York Shitty Day Starter: 239 Banker Street, Revisited Once Again

June 4, 2012 ·
Filed under: 11222, Greenpoint, Greenpoint Brooklyn, Greenpoint Magic 

Once again, a word from our City Councilman:

Heather,

I have noticed your posts and am glad you continue to bring light to the issue of lofts in Greenpoint and Williamsburg. The Loft Law was designed to protect residential tenants who, knowingly or unknowingly, moved into manufacturing or commercial spaces and it may grant rights for tenants to save and stabilize their housing and avoid the excessive costs associated with being vacated.  With regard to 239 Banker Street, I cannot say whether they will be covered by the Loft Law.  However, when the building was vacated in 2009, many tenants suddenly lost their living spaces as well as thousands of dollars in rent and security deposits.  I do not want to see a repeat of that event.  I will work to ensure that all building code issues at 239 Banker are addressed, but I hope to avoid seeing another vacate order if possible.  All I can do is try to spread the word about the Loft Law so that tenants in such spaces can apply for coverage that they may be legally entitled to.  Of course, the Loft Board will make final determinations about each application individually.

And I suppose “ensuring all building code issues are addressed” includes doing work without a permit on a Sunday?

New York Shitty analysis: they ain’t doing pointing.

You can view this, the latest advertisement for the “lofts” at 239 Banker Street on Craigslist by clicking here.*

*A casual search of this phone number netted this gem:

Alas this apartment is no longer available. I have little doubt the availability of “bras” is to blame. In closing, here are a few screencaps of advertisements from StreetEasy for 239 Banker Street for your viewing pleasure:

New York Shitty Day Ender: If At First You Do Not Succeed…

April 30, 2012 ·
Filed under: 11222, Greenpoint, Greenpoint Brooklyn, Greenpoint Magic 

Our City Councilman writes to yours truly on April 11, 2012 (regarding this post):

…The Loft Law was designed to protect residential tenants who, knowingly or unknowingly, moved into manufacturing or commercial spaces and it may grant rights for tenants to save and stabilize their housing and avoid the excessive costs associated with being vacated. With regard to 239 Banker Street, I cannot say whether they will be covered by the Loft Law. However, when the building was vacated in 2009, many tenants suddenly lost their living spaces as well as thousands of dollars in rent and security deposits. I do not want to see a repeat of that event. I will work to ensure that all building code issues at 239 Banker are addressed, but I hope to avoid seeing another vacate order if possible…

Cityslicker24 writes on April 8, 2012:

…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…

hav writes on March 29, 2012:

non-surprisingly someone decided to complain to the DOB which ordered the building to vacate yesterday. As of today there are some interesting developments but nothing solidified yet. It is however looking like the building has a strong possibility of getting covered by the NYC Loft Law which will protect tenants from being vacated…

Given that 239 Banker has— at long last— overcome their recent brush with vandalism, the above-listed comments; and Mr. Levin’s apparent confusion as to whether or not this rather notorious edifice qualifies for Loft Law protection, I decided to do a little research. First, I perused the Loft Law proper. Then I proceeded to parse through each and every post I have authored about 239 Banker Street. You see, unlike our City Councilman, I actually lived here when this shit show started.

My conclusion is as follows: I can assure cityslicker24, hav and Mr. Levin that 239 Banker Street is in no way, no HOW entitled to Loft Law protection. And the best reason of all can be found on the New York City Loft Board’s own web site:

In June of 2010, the State Legislature expanded the Loft Law to include tenants who lives in a commercial or manufacturing building where three or more families have lived independently from one another for 12 consecutive months from 1/1/08 through 12/21/09, in a building that lacks a residential certificate of occupancy.

So let’s review a (somewhat) concise timeline of 239 Banker Street with the previous data in mind, shall we?

1. For starters, the permit approving the conversion of 239 Banker Street into a “hotel” (as seen at left) was not granted until July 30, 2008. This expired on July 30, 2009 and was not renewed until December 11, 2009.

2. Advertisements shilling apartments at 239 Banker Street were noticed on Craigslist May 28, 2009 (as seen below). In fact, there was a website created for the sole purpose of marketing “The Sweater Factory Lofts”. Alas, this is long gone, but you can view screencaps by clicking here.

3. Individuals were spied moving into 239 Banker Street May 31, 2009 and June 2, 2009. Following me so far? Great!

4. A Stop Work Order was issued shortly thereafter. This was (naturally) disregarded. So complaints were filed July 31, 2009.

5. The Department of Buildings actually saw fit to cite 239 Banker Street for violating a Stop Work Order (at right, which you can view in larger format by clicking here). This came to pass September 8, 2009.

6. And last— but hardly least— the Department of Buildings issued a Vacate Order citing “conditions imminently perilous to life” on September 29, 2009. Among their dismal discoveries were disabled/concealed sprinkler heads and uncapped electrical wires.*

Follows is ABC’s footage of this death trap. Seeing is truly believing folks!

Post-script: as of December 28, 2010 this Vacate Order was still in place.

Let’s review:

  • The Loft Law requires that three or more families reside in a commercial or manufacturing building for twelve consecutive months between January 2008 and December 2009.
  • 239 Banker Street did not have tenants— much less three families living independently of each other— until at least May 31, 2009.
  • 239 Banker Street was vacated by the Department of Buildings September 24, 2009.
  • This makes five months total— not even close to what the law requires.

So why file such a spurious application in the first place? Well, as one commenter noted recently:

they can apply for loft law status, but they will have an almost impossible task of getting coverage. The problem is that once they apply and receive a docket number they are actually protected from any action from DOB, which actually sucks because there is a 2-3 year back up to hear the case with the loft board. So while they will almost certainly lose the hearing they will keep moving people into the space who will get evicted in 2 or 3 years at best…

Unless of course in the meantime someone changes the law**:

Assemblymember Vito Lopez told more than 200 tenants gathered at a meeting last night on his 2010 law protecting their right to live in former industrial spaces that he is their best ally — and suggested that Congresswoman Nydia Velazquez is the one they should throw out of office this year.

“[Councilmember Diana] Reyna and Velazquez wanted the area carved out of the law,” said Lopez, who also heads the Brooklyn Democratic Party, referring to the industrial zone bridging Williamsburg and Bushwick that lies within his district. “They really don’t like you. This was Velazquez’s way of saying you don’t matter.”

Velazquez faces a primary challenge this June from term-limited Councilmember Erik Dilan, a close ally of Lopez who sat at his side onstage at the event. Flanking Lopez on the other side was Williamsburg GREENPOINT Councilmember Stephen Levin, who formerly served as Lopez’ chief of staff…

*Which, it is interesting to note, netted them a paltry $25,000 fine. Not they they have bothered to pay it or the litany of other penalties they have accrued. They haven’t.

**You do not honestly believe Mr. Lopez and Mr. Levin are pushing for an expansion of the Loft Law out of the kindness of their own hearts, gentle readers? No sir. Rather, this is simply an expedient means to use voters so as to rezone by decree and reward landlords/political backers who have no regard for zoning laws— or their tenant’s safety. Landlords like Meserole Factory, LLC.

Spotted At 239 Banker Street: Direct Action

April 27, 2012 ·
Filed under: 11222, Greenpoint, Greenpoint Brooklyn, Greenpoint Magic, Street Justice 

This item comes via an anonymous tipster who notes:

Someone irked at 239 Banker took action last night…

 

 

Coming to 239 Banker Street: The Loft Law?

April 26, 2012 ·
Filed under: 11222, Greenpoint, Greenpoint Brooklyn, Greenpoint Magic 

That’s right folks! It would appear this month someone has filed for protection under the Loft Law! Given the amended law states three or more families must have lived independently from one another for 12 consecutive months from 1/1/08 through 12/21/09— and 239 Banker Street (which started showing signs of habitation May 31, 2009) was vacated by the Department of Buildings on September 24, 2009:

Do the math.

From The New York Shitty Inbox: A 239 Banker Street Update

April 19, 2012 ·
Filed under: 11222, Greenpoint, Greenpoint Brooklyn, Greenpoint Magic 

An anonymous tipster writes:

a violation was issued by DOB on 04/09/12.

And so the plot thickens…

UPDATE, 6:35 p.m.: I have been asked an interesting question by a reader. A person we’ll call ‘S” writes:

The complaint status says ‘resolved’. Does that just mean that a violation was issued?

Here’s the 411 from a person in the know:

Resolution of DOB complaints is either no action or a violation. They wrote a violation in 09 for occupancy contrary to CO (which has an unpaid 25K penalty). This is just a repeat violation for not curing the first one. Nothing will come of it as far as vacating the premises. Owner probably just ignores it. Looks like this owner is well seasoned in shady dealings: http://therealdeal.com/blog/2011/07/12/israel-perlmuter-known-as-sam-perl-and-menachem-stark-face-51m-in-property-suits-over-williamsburg-and-greenpoint-developments/

So there have you.

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