New York Shitty Day Starter: Business As Usual

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

Yesterday before I celebrated our nation’s birthday, I felt a constitutional was in order. I wanted to see the latest Stop Work Order issued to 239 Banker Street (which I reported about in this post) in person. This has become my hobby. But alas, it was not to be.

Sure, I saw ample amounts of detritus. The stuff which fell onto an adjoining property’s backyard, and in so doing, wrecked a barbecue grill. Major party foul.

No Sir: nary a Stop Work Order was to be found. And when I got back home I learned why:

In a rare act of bureaucratic efficiency/mercy it has been lifted! And I suppose it goes without saying our real estate professionals have wasted no time posting capitalizing on this most miraculous turn of events.

To be continued, no doubt…

P.S.: Oh yeah, you can see the above advertisement by clicking here.

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).


 

Quicklinks: 239 Banker Street Sold?

May 24, 2012 ·
Filed under: 11222, Greenpoint, Greenpoint Brooklyn, Greenpoint Magic 

If Brownstoner and Curbed are to be believed, this is the case. Per the latter:

The latest development at perpetual Greenpoint headscratcher the Sweater Factory Lofts has us, if possible, even more puzzled. The building just changed hands for $9.1 million, according to a deed that hit public record this morning. The buyer is an LLC, so we don’t know anything about who has plans for this building or what those plans might be. But the building’s long and slightly sordid history means our mind is slightly boggled by that sale price.

Brownstoner notes that the LLC in question is “JL Take Two LLC” and goes on to add it is unclear whether or not the new owner is a developer. In regards to this a commenter on Curbed tenders an interesting analysis:

Read the court case Lebedowicz v Meserole Factory LLC. JL had a mezz loan on the property above the $8m first mortgage. Probably either just got foreclosure or deed in lieu. Mezz lender foreclosure would explain the low price on the deed. It wasnt an arms length sale.

This keeps getting more and more interesting folks…

UPDATE: Here’s some more analysis from someone “in the know”!

You no doubt saw that this sold – if you haven’t already, you’ll want to spend your morning on ACRIS: http://a836-acris.nyc.gov/Scripts/DocSearch.dll/BBLResult (block 2593, lot 1)

I don’t have time to get into too much detail, but the transactions there are interesting.

JL Take Two is owned by Jerry and Lucy Lebedowicz, and they bought the property for $9.1 million from Meserole Factory LLC (the only name I could find was Israel Perlmutter, but I’m not sure if he is associated with the seller). Jerry & Lucy appear to hold the mezzanine debt on the property, which $3.5 million and dates to November 2005.

Separate from the sale, there is a four-year lease from Jerry and Lucy to Northside Lofts, LLC (390 Berry Street, Joseph Brunner is the manager of the LLC). Northside Lofts seems to have an option to purchase, but I can’t see any details.

Separately, an entity named Lex Debt LLC has a four-year option to purchase the property from Jerry and Lucy. That option is for $9.679 million if it is exercised today, and there is an escalator clause of $22k per month for the first 36 months and $42.5k per month for the last 12 months. So if they wait until the end of the option period, the price goes up by $1.3 million. The only name I can find associated with Lex Debt LLC is Israel Worch (not sure the spelling of the last name, it was scrawled). The address for Lex is a PO box in 11230 zip code.

So – Jerry and Lucy of Flushing hold a big chunk of debt on the building, and now they own the building outright. But Northside Lofts is the tenant of the whole thing, and a third party has an option to buy the property, with incentives to buy sooner rather than later.

I think I have that all correct…

Curbed: Someone Just Bought Greenpoint’s Sweater Factory Lofts
Brownstoner: Greenpoint’s Sweater Factory Lofts on Banker St Sells

Greenpoint Photos du Jour: Live From 239 Banker Street!

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

After sharing the good news about some unhappy citizen scrawling commentary about 239 Banker Street on 239 Banker Street (as seen again above) at 9:52 this morning I decided to swing by and see the Greenpoint glory for myself. But alas as of 11:30 a.m. it was gone!

Looks like Meserole Factory LLC Googled 239 Banker.

In any case, they were thoughtful enough to station a worker whose sole purpose was to make sure the residents of this building used the second entrance. It brings a tear to my eye to see the owners of this property demonstrate such concern for the safety of their tenants!

UPDATE, 2:30 p.m

Note to self: when endeavoring to conceal an offending piece of graffiti with water-based paint and hosing-down the exterior of your building (presumably with water), it might be advisable to do the latter first. Whoops.

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.

New York Shitty Day Starter 239 Banker Street

April 22, 2012 ·
Filed under: 11222, Greenpoint, Greenpoint Brooklyn, Greenpoint Magic 

Taken April 21, 2012.

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.

Reader Comment du Jour: An Agent Speaks About 239 Banker Street

April 9, 2012 ·
Filed under: 11222, Greenpoint, Greenpoint Brooklyn, Greenpoint Magic 

CitySlicker24 writes in regards to this post:

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.

While I disagree with some of Cityslicker’s analysis, for example:

  1. the building in question is permissible as a hotel per the Department of Buildings because it is located in an Industrial Business Zone and
  2. of course there’s the fact this building is not legally allowable as residential property in the first place but is being represented as such

I’ll be very interested to see where this leads.

To be continued…?

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