Thursday, October 11, 2012

And now the renovations really begin at 50-58 E. Third St.

[Yesterday outside 50 E. Third St. Photo by Bobby Williams.]

There hasn't been any shortage of drama at 50-58 E. Third St. Back in July, reps for the new owners, GRJ, a fund co-founded and co-managed by brothers Graham and Gregory Jones, promised that the remaining tenants would have to endure "heavy construction" in the days and weeks ahead.

At 50 E. Third St., a tipster recently claimed that "illegal" work was taking place in the building. The resident or, perhaps, neighbor, wasn't too specific, just that it was a living hell.

Tenants have noted other worrisome developments in the last week or so, claims such as workers shutting off the water without any notice or knocking a hole in someone's living room wall from next door and claiming that it was an "accident."

On Sept. 24, the DOB approved a whole bunch of work for No. 50:

"Renovation of existing apartments 2A & 2C on 3rd floor, 3B & 3C on 4th floor, 4C on 5th floor, 5A, 5B & 5D on 6th floor. New metal balconies facing rear in conjunction with apts. 2C, 3C, 4C & 5D. New roof decks in conjunction with apts. 5A, 5B & 5D."

There are several complaints on file with the DOB for No. 50 (12 since Aug. 23), including a Partial Stop Work Order that only applies to the balconies.

Yesterday, the DOB approved the exterior renovation of the entire building; ditto for the exteriors at No. 58 and No. 54, the other two buildings that the Jones brothers purchased for a three-building price of $23.5 million. (There is paperwork on file dated yesterday for interior work at No. 54, renovations that will be similar to No. 50. The DOB assigned those plans to an examiner. There is only a permit for exterior work on file for No. 58.)

In April, 17 residents of the buildings received letters that stated, in part: "It has been agreed with the impending new owners that your lease will not be renewed and that you will be expected to vacate at the expiration of your lease." The residents banded together and formed a tenants group; local politicians came out to offer support during a rally on May 7. However, as one former resident put it, the Big Real Estate Machine was too great to overcome.

Per Gregory Jones in the news release announcing the sale this past July: "We see a real opportunity to reposition the buildings. We'll invest significant capital and we look forward to creating the most desirable walk-ups in the East Village."

Have any tips or photos about the situation here? Please send them our way via the EV Grieve email

Previously on EV Grieve:
Reader report: Three apartment buildings sold on East Third Street

Advocate for East Third Street buildings moving to Washington Heights

More about the lease renewals at 50, 54 and 58 E. Third St.

Tenants at 50, 54 and 58 E. Third St. banding to together in face of building sale

More drama at 50-58 E. Third St.; 'heavy construction' awaits tenants who stay


Anonymous said...

Don't you people have anything better to write about?

Marcos said...

Seems like worthwhile reporting to me. I think this naming and shaming balances out all of the talk about property rights that we see from the astroturfing landlord advocates.

A suggestion: I would type out "Graham Jones" and "Gregory Jones" when referring to GRJ LLC so that search engines are able to properly index the reporting of their behavior. It could be that one day GRJ LLC, Graham Jones, and Gregory Jones will be as notorious as Steve Croman. It looks to me like they are headed in that direction.

Pumpkin Patch said...

9:39AM, I concur. Living conditions in the community are not worthy of bandwidth.

More Suri sightings!

Lista86 said...

Oh shit... Looks like you ruffled the feathers of a Jones brother!


@"Anon"9:39- don't you people have any other city to ruin?

blue glass said...

Anonymous 9:39am
Don't you people have anything better to write about?

Yes oh worthy one! We could write about heartless people like you that consider tenants less then dirt on their value scale; and who never think about somebody losing their homes of business.
And while there are tenants that can afford to spend more on rent nothing compares with current landlord greed that has displaced so many long-time,multi-generation residential and commercial tenants.
The speed of displacement of our neighborhood is astounding and scarey.
Money is the only thing that people care about these days, and they have enough and what they will do for it is ANYTHING.
A bit like that not so great Terry Southern movie of yore,

Anonymous said...

I agree with anon 9:39

The displacement rate in this neighborhood is out of control. I'm moving out because my building was also sold and all market rate tenants are being forced to leave. I don't want to go through this again, so I'm not going to bother looking for places to live in this neighborhood because this sort of thing is going to keep happening to every relatively affordable building in the area until every single one has been renovated and rented at max rents. Since this area is still relatively affordable compared to other downtown neighborhoods, investors and developers see it as a gold mine. Unfortunately, forming tenants associations, shaming these people in the media and doing everything else we can think of isn't going to change anything. These guys really couldn't care less. They are going to keep going as long as there is money to be made.

Gordon Gekko Wannabe said...

More "Doom and gloom" sayers.

Folks, don't you realize that the property values in this area have syrocketed over the last few decades?

That's good news. Now please move your family someplace where you won't be in the way.