Monday, April 11, 2011

Life in a building undergoing a gut renovation

In February, we noted the sale of a residential building on Suffolk street...

Silverstone Property Group ... is pleased to announce the acquisition of 157 Suffolk Street ... The 6 story, 22,398 square foot residential apartment building consists of 33 apartments and 2 retail stores. Silverstone purchased the building for $8.8M, or approximately $392 per square foot, in an all-cash, off-market transaction with the private seller. Silverstone will be renovating the building to create a high-end boutique residential rental property, as well as leasing the retail space which has been vacant for many years.

Per a commenter:

"There are 7 apartments left here as of April 2011 and we are suffering through months of demolition and construction."

One of those remaining residents (we think!) sent along a video of what life is like here in the building during the months of construction...


nygrump said...

Bloomberg jerk off video. You know Bloomberg's ultimate dream is to have EVERY room in EVERY building in NYC being renovated all at the same time - except of course the building he lives in.

Anonymous said...

The same thing has been going on continuously over the past four years at 165/167 Avenue A and still continues. There is only one long time tenant remaining. All of the apartments have been converted into dormitory housing and they are still working on them now. The construction has been so severe that people couldn't take it anymore and left.

The construction for the commercial space on the ground floor, now Diablo Royale Este lasted over two years, and they are still working on it.
Every morning at the crack of dawn the sounds and fumes are treacherous. What made the initial construction for Diablo Royale Este particularly bad was that they used a blow-torch every day for two years to create a look of burnt wood, as to conjure up the feeling of being in hell. Various buildings on the block have called the fire department thinking that their building was on fire, that's how bad the smoke was, but the fire department said that it was allowable as long as windows were open to ventilate.

Some of the new tenants in the building, I'm thinking in particular of these four Yunnies who moved in, practically knock you in the teeth when they come down the stairs with their shoes, actually go down and hang out at Diablo Royale Este.

As it stands the construction still continues. In the end we will be a gated community. Sympathy from people including East Villagers has been zero. The support comes in the form of - "just take a buyout". Not only has this been a sick and violent ordeal in terms of tenants emotional health, it has also put peoples physical health in great jeopardy.

Here's to all of the workers who lost their health on September 11th. Here's to all of the people who survived the Holocaust. Here's to all of the people at 157 Suffolk Street.

Anonymous said...

I'm sorry, 10:06 -- are you actually comparing life in a building that is continually gut-renovated to September 11th, or the Holocaust?

I live in one of these buildings (I'm rent-stabilized) and yes, it's dirty, yes it's noisy and dangerous and it sucks and my building is also basically a dorm full of (mostly -- not all) unfriendly young idiots who can't even dispose of garbage properly. So explain to me why I shouldn't take a buyout?

As much as I admire the dedication and hard work of Cooper Square Committee, GOLES, etc., I'm not going to be a martyr for the cause. The East Village as we once knew it is dead. Sad, but true.

Anonymous said...

so leave. Goodbye.

Anonymous said...

I'm waiting for my buyout. ;)

You should know that people tend not to take seriously anyone who compares a bad, but not truly horrific situation to the Holocaust.

Anonymous said...

Anon: 10:56

Do nothing for your neighbors and take cash to leave - hmm sounds like someone who really cares about their fellow-man. What don't you get about the post or the situation??

The government ignores the health and safety of people until they advocate for themselves and shame this country into finally passing a law to provide for their health needs - hmm sounds like living in the EV for the past few years and dealing with DOB, DEP and our elected officials.

A group of people survive horrors and bear witness so we never forget and don't let it happen again. Isn't that what people who stay and fight for their homes and businesses are really trying to do.

To all who choose to fight for this neighborhood and document the savagry of these greedy developers, we salute you - great work 157 Suffolk street!! To those who choose to leave - don't let the door hit you in the ass on the way out.

Marty Wombacher said...

They should've used the original Cousin Kevin by the Who.

Anonymous said...

You don't sound too bright Anon 10:28. They make reference to the health of workers on September 11th, that being the starting point for them. That's how I read it. Their work continued long after September 11th as the government lied to everyone, assuring us that the Ground Zero site was safe for workers and all New Yorkers. Many firefighters, dogs, police officers and other people lost their lives or have very serious illnesses due to this. These people received no support and were forced to fight on their own behalf, so power to them.
This is the kind of narcissistic society we live in where nobody backs you, people like you. The reference to the Holocaust is an accurate comparison. The Holocoust was the extermination of a particular group of people, and that's what the current situation is. A particular group of people are being driven out. Most of the people at GOLES, Good Old Lower East Side don't live on the Good Old Lower East Side anymore because they are a particular type that have been driven out. And nobody said that you shouldn't take a buyout, please by all means. Goodbye and good riddance.

blue glass said...

your only hope - if any - is to stop paying rent and get an order to show cause against the unhealthy conditions.
if there are enough of you, and you have names, dates and pictures, the court MAY listen.
it is harder to do that now, people are too busy or too young to bother. and it is a lot of work.
met council's esther rand is gone and housing groups don't "organize" they way they used to, abd lawyers are rarely available.
housing court have some great folks that help tenants but you have to be ready before you go to court.
having been through two rent strikes (yes, it took two) i know how hard it is.
the problem with a buy-out is that it is rarely enough to pay for alternative housing.

Anonymous said...

Well you know who's driving the train for land use in the EV, LES and Chinatown. Dominic Pisciotta and David McWater. Check out the articles about the SPURA project on The Lo-Down and in The Villager and you will see how the conspiracy works and all the players involved. The annihilation of our neighborhood is like a wet dream for the appointed architects and their supporters on the SPURA project. The people have no say. Not allowed!
Our public officials do nothing for people being forced out of their homes. There is no support. The fact that The Cooper Square Committee and LESPMHA supported the plans for SPURA, as well as other land use developments is a disgrace. We do not need anymore market rate housing. Most of our privately owned tenement buildings have been converted. The affordable housing people in the area need to wake up and stop supporting mixed income projects. We need all affordable housing now.

Anonymous said...

11:36 and 11:40, I am not a narcissist; I just don't believe that there's much hope left for happiness for stabilized tenants in many of these buildings. I wish that wasn't the case, but sometimes it's better to take a buyout and leave a situation that will not improve. I'll cop to being cyncial and you can even say to take a buyout is a selfish act, but like I said, I'm not a martyr and sometimes people have to do what is best for them. Were the lovely abuelas who lived across the hall from me, who had been in the building for 30+ years, narcissists and cash-grabbers too, for accepting their buyout and leaving? Or were they just trying to live out their final years with some peace?

Look, I'm still there, I'm still in the building. I support Cooper Union. I believe in fighting the good fight, but you can't blame people for wanting to give up.

And I'm sorry, but living in a Westbrook building, awful as it can be, is NOT on par with September 11th or the Holocaust. It's a poor comparison at best, deeply offensive at worst.

Anonymous said...

this is 1:06, "Cooper Union" s/b "Cooper Square (Committee)" -- sorry

Lisa said...

The Cooper Square Committee sold out to the devil years ago. They play-act at maintaining an image of a pro-rent-stabilized, low income tenant-friendly organization, but one reason the Bowery has become the new go-to street is because of their development of parts of it. Like everyone else, their main pursuit is that of the almighty dollar, no matter how Val Orselli might have postured.

Anonymous said...

Nobody is saying any of this. You are. People are reacting to actual information which you are supplying. I don't understand, you are still in the building? What building? Nobody said anything about Westbrook. You did. I'm not quite getting the picture here. You sound guilty for something though. Please tell us more.

Anonymous said...

2:48, I made an offhand comment about understanding why people take buyouts. When I say "I'm still there," I mean despite feeling powerless over my developer/landlord, I'm still hanging in there; I haven't sought a buyout. And I mentioned "Westbrook" so you know which infamous parcel of buildings I live in.

I sound guilty of something? Laughing my ass off! The only thing I'm guilty of is handing over my hard earned cash to one predatory-equity outfit after another in the almost 15 years I've been in my building.

You sound a bit paranoid. I am not your enemy, trust me.

Mike said...

Wow, I cannot believe I just read a comment that attempted to articulate why it's appropriate to analogize gentrification on the LES to the Holocaust. 1) economic forces drive normal people to choose to live and open businesses in a neighborhood they previously paid little attention to resulting in a natural rise in prices as demand increases for the housing and commercial real estate inventory in the community; and 2) a totalitarian government lead forced imprisonment and murder of classes of people in a society deemed undesirable by the dictator.

Are you kidding me? The sense of entitlement that runs through some people's philosophies is amazing. If the government doesn't step in the way of every day people choosing to move to a community and pay higher rent because they actually like it there, then its akin to murdering those that can't afford the higher rents. Why are you entitled to stay there if you cannot afford it?

Anonymous said...

I like the way New York politician and activist Charles Baron recently compared Walmart to a plantation.

Also, some of the greatest artists and thinkers of all time have referenced the Holocaust to social demises of their time.

Anonymous said...

Yes, 11:27, and some of the greatest internet trolls of our time have done the same thing. Godwin's Law?

I'm not calling the guy upthread a troll, but it's a melodramatic comparison and rarely useful.

imo said...

I would gladly live in those conditions for the $500 those rent regulated tenants pay.