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…?

New York Shitty Day Starter: Should We Stay Or Should We Go?

A commenter, hav, writes on March 29, 2012 (regarding this post about 239 Banker Street):

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.

Here’s the deal: while complaints have been placed, this building has most assuredly NOT been vacated. I know this because I saw another person move in March 30th. His (or her) personal effects included the box at top left.

Nonetheless, I perused the Department of Buildings Building Information System anyway.

Nary a Vacate Order was to be found— but there are plenty of complaints!

Let’s go to the latest: 3407084

So now we have to look at Complaint #3403837 for “closure”.

Hmm.

Given all the previous, I find the following missive (as found on the Broadway stop of the G train and thus out of the 33rd City Council District’s— and 239 Banker Street’s— jurisdiction) fascinating to say the least:

Those of you who have questions (as I do) as to why 239 Banker Street has, once again, been allowed to be illegally employed as residential property despite this— or simply have questions about the loft law should make it a point to attend. Be sure to ask our City Councilman why he is conducting a “loft law” workshop outside his own district while you’re at there!

Panel Discussion on the State of the Loft Law
Co-Conductors: Assemblyman Vito Lopez and Steve Levin, City Councilman, 33rd District (which includes 239 Banker Street)
Invited guests: The Department of Buildings & New York City Loft Board
Date: April 24, 2012 at 7:00 p.m.
Location: Our Lady of Pompeii, Community Room
225 Seigel Street
Brooklyn, New York 11206

Otherwise those who find all the previous disconcerting can send Mr. Levin an email via his web page.

From The New York Shitty Inbox, Part III: Gratitude

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

A personal we’ll call “D” writes:

Hi Miss Heather,

Thanks to your coverage I was able to avoid renting at 239 Banker. I was very close to moving in when I saw your posts. So after some savvy DOB research and a couple calls I decided it was not worth it. These folks are shady! Here are some bullet points as to why.

1. On the phone they had me meet at another location instead of giving the address. None of the advertisements for this place show the address anymore. Because it’s not a legal building.

2. They are advertising 2-3 bedrooms but even if the building were legal the spaces cannot be legally be divided up to be more than 1 bedroom without a window in each.

3. They say they will build out the space for move in, but there is no toilet, no heat, no stove, no appliances, the windows are unsealed, the doors don’t have locks, floors unfinished. Getting all that work done in a couple weeks is doubtful. Finishing floors alone can take a week with all the fumes and dust.

4. The place is full of unfinished apartments. Who wants to live in a construction zone? Not me.

Don’t get me wrong. We all know folks who inhabit work lofts with a wink-wink nudge-nudge agreement. And I’m okay with that. But this is masquerading as an apartment conversion and charging near market rates. I don’t want these people to end up on the street all over again!

Take care

xo

Thanks for the kind words, D! On a lark I headed over to Craigslist (which is apparently where a number of advertisements for this space are to be found) to see what’s shaking. Follows is one I found:

As you can see this place is apparently for rent by owner. Fascinating. Those of you who desire to do so can view this advertisement by clicking here.

The Word On The Street: Green Point Beach

This rather amusing bit of vandalism hails from 239 Banker Street; AKA: the Sweater Factory Lofts. And if what I saw this afternoon is any indication this building is— beyond any shadow of a doubt— being quite illegally pressed into service as residential space. Let’s review my findings, shall we?

For starters, you have a very residential throw pillow propping open a window and this rather stylish lamp. Not convinced yet? No worries, gentle readers. I am just getting warmed up.

There were not one— but two people— waiting to view apartments therein. Naturally I took it upon myself to give them a very general run-down of the history of this building. E.g.: it was not legally permissible to reside at 239 Banker Street (by virtue of it being located in an Industrial Business Zone); it had been pressed into service as residential space previously; and this ended with a Vacate Order as issued by the Department of Buildings— and a class action suit filed by a number of tenants (who are, to my understanding, still waiting to get their deposit money back). Were they happy to hear this? No, they were not.

Just as I was not happy to watch this couple (tenants, presumably) exiting said building…

and this family moving their son into it. Naturally I took a moment to speak with them. They, as did everyone else I chatted with on Banker Street this afternoon, had a number of questions for me. Follows are a few:

  1. Our lawyer saw nothing wrong with the paperwork, so what makes you think this building is illegal to live in? My answer: check my site.
  2. If this building is illegal to live in, why are they leasing it as residential space? My answer: Excellent question. (But if I had to hazard to guess, I’d say greed.)
  3. If the Department of Buildings has been alerted that this space is being illegally leased as residential space, why aren’t they doing anything about it? My answer (once again): Excellent question…

This is a disgrace, folks…

Spotted At 239 Banker Street: Signs Of Habitation

March 21, 2012 ·
Filed under: 11222, Greenpoint, Greenpoint Brooklyn, Greenpoint Magic 

Taken March 21, 2012.

New York Shitty Day Starter: Great Moments of Real Estate Hyperbole

March 5, 2012 ·
Filed under: 11222, Greenpoint, Greenpoint Brooklyn, Greenpoint Magic, Wow, WTF 

(Or: The “Hart” of Greenpoint)

There is real estate insanity and then there is real estate insanity. This apartment, located at the immensely bucolic intersection of Green Street and Manhattan Avenue, has a manifold number of advertisements on Craigslist. But by far this one was the most imaginative (hence why I decided it merited mention). Nothing says “luxury” like a toilet ready, willing and able to do its duty  juxtaposed against a tropical paradise (which Greenpoint, my beloved home, is decidedly not). Citing the G train as an enticement is rather dubious as well. The previous having been written, here are the rest.

All these listings are purportedly  “by owner”. Damn.

P.S.: Lest any of you, dear readers, are wondering why I was looking at apartment advertisements on Craigslist in this draconian price bracket I’ll tell you. I had the pleasure of bumping into yet another group of people waiting to view “apartments” at 239 Banker Street this weekend! Here’s what one had to say afterward:

Hi Heather. Thanks, again, for the heads up on the shady business at Banker St. today. The apartment had very bad craftsmanship and the only elevator in the building was a scary freight elevator that had a sign stating it was unlawful for any person other than the operator to ride in the elevator…the guy renting out the spaces is named Saul (917-549-XXXX) and he’s got them listed multiple times on craigslist. We’re obviously going to pass on that building but we really loved the area. Do you have any tips/leads on finding an apartment around there? I’d appreciate any help you could offer!

I have tendered my advice to this (incredibly nice) person. If any of you, dear readers, have tips/advice as well please share them via comments or via email at missheather (at) thatgreenpointblog (dot) com. This having been written, it would appear Saul’s advertisements regarding 239 Banker Street have since disappeared into the ether. No worries, I found this…

and this.

 

Now At 39 Meserole Avenue: The Factory Building

February 14, 2012 ·
Filed under: 11222, Greenpoint, Greenpoint Brooklyn, Greenpoint Magic 

Yes gentle readers, it would appear the place formerly known as the Sweater Factory Lofts is not only continuing its brave endeavor to press a transient hotel into service as residential space, but now it has a new address, new name and these will set you back an additional $700.00 plus a month! The newly christened Factory Lofts listing on Street Easy (as seen above) can be perused by clicking here. Please do take a moment to give this a read. Follows is a sample of the ad copy which awaits your delectation:

The lofts at The FACTORY BUILDING are made for unique individuals. Each loft apartment remains different, and there are endless opportunities to divide, reimagine and design your own personal space. Yes, we’ve thrown in new amenities to make sure that you’re living in modern comfort, but how you decide to live is up to you. These are raw, chic spaces ready for you to make your mark.
Another huge perk of The FACTORY BUILDING lofts is the preservation of old windows from when the building was a factory. Come for a viewing on a bright day. Sunlight pours through the windows and adds a wonderful aura to the spaces. We’ve reinsulated and reinstalled all apartment fixtures, so you get old world ambiance with new improvements.

These words struck me as being eerily familiar. After a little research I discovered why:

It is the same exact ad copy used to pitch the Sweater Factory Lofts in 2009! And of course we all know what came of “old world ambiance meets new improvements” that time around…

 Caveat emptor, apartment hunters.

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

New York Shitty Day Ender: All Apologies

MAX

whoops

From 239 Banker Street.*

Miss Heather

P.S.: Those of you who are wondering about 718-STANDUP’s provenance you can see it here. I suppose Max was a supporter of Isaac Abraham for the 33rd City Council District.

*Formerly known as the Sweater Factory Lofts.

Reader Comment Du Jour: Advice For Someone DOB’d From The Sweater Factory Lofts?

October 13, 2009 ·
Filed under: 11222, Greenpoint, Greenpoint Brooklyn, Greenpoint Magic 

239bankerMost folks (myself included) would consider the evacuation of 239 Banker Street to be yesterday’s news. However, when the following comment came to my attention today I simply had to post it here.  Action writes:

The vacate happened 3 days before I was supposed to move in. I’m working with Brooklyn Civil Court to start the process to get my money back. Does anyone know of alternative routes to take? Maybe a class action case?

I do not profess to be an attorney (or even playing one on t.v.). Although I have some tenant-landlord court experience Action’s problem is way off my radar. Does anyone have some advice or thoughts for Action? If so please leave them in the comments. Thanks!

Miss Heather

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