Monday, October 31, 2011

New owner for 86 E. Fourth St.; no new leases for current tenants

86 E. Fourth St. at Second Avenue has been on the block... listed at $8.95 million.

Roberto Ortiz, a principal at Eastern Consolidated, who represented the seller, told this to the Observer last week:

Mr. Ortiz suggests there is a huge upside for this particular property because no significant renovations have been done in a very long time, and a committed buyer with resources could significantly up the rents when the current leases expire.

“It’s all about renovations,” said Mr. Ortiz.

Indeed. A resident gave us the scoop:

I suspected by the comings and goings of various groups of engineer and banker sorts that the building was quietly being shopped around for sale earlier this year. My suspicions were recently confirmed when I, along with the rest of the building tenants, received building sale notification letters under our doors one evening.

In any event, I also suspected that a building sale would bring a gut renovation or demolition of the building, as well. This now also appears to be right on target. The new owner and management are declining to offer new leases as current tenant leases expire. Par for the course

None of this will happen without a fight, though. Oh, and RURU & Associates was the buyer.


Anonymous said...

Why must there be a fight? If the owner does not want to offer new leases so he can upgrade the property, that is his right. This is how improvements in housing are made. This concept where tenants have some sort of life-long lease is ridiculous. At the end of the year lease, a tenant should not have the right to anything.

dwg said...

Terrible news and a terrible trend.

pennys herb co. said...

a new landlord buys the building
tenants with rent control n rent stabilization.
they are required by law to get leases.
you cant just tell people its over.
these are there homes!!
lower east side tenant since 1972

Anonymous said...

Anon 8:03

Interesting sentiment. While I appreciate your advocacy of an unbridled free market economy and your dreams of a utopian universe in which unbridled greed is the rule of law, as of 2011 you could not be more incorrect.

Under the current law, a landlord cannot just empty out a building and fill it up with new tenants paying higher rents. My prediction: this landlord is going to lose.

evflip said...

I can't confirm this, but I have heard that Magnum Management is the new owner. Magnum Management, owned by Ben Shaoul (of the 515 East 5th debacle, bringer of Starbucks to 1st Ave, and named one of the top ten worst landlords in 2007). Magnum also goes under the name of Fortunes East and PVE (or something like that).

Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...

More services = more rent. The landlord shouldn't be compelled to keep their property in the same state it was in when you moved in -- some landlords may want to go upscale while others may choose to go downscale (get rid of doormen, elevator attendants, etc).

You could always move to a different neighborhood the way I did -- Harlem is the LES of the 2010s.

evflip said...

I still can't confirm the Ben Shaoul connection, but the deed was signed by Nader Ohebshalom of RURU & Associates. I did a search and came up with Their statement:
The Shalom Tenants Alliance is a coalition of residents of New York City apartment buildings owned and/or managed by the (Oheb)Shalom family, including Fred Shalom (Empire Management), Jon and Ben Shalom (Sky Management), Nader Ohebshalom (Gatsby Enterprises), David Ohebshalom (Big Apple Management, Perceptive Management), and Daniel Shalom (Keystone Properties, based in California). Operating under various corporate names, the Shaloms buy rent-stabilized buildings and then systematically dismantle required building services, forcing out legal residents through harassment, intimidation, negligence and deception.
Well at least Ben won't be lonely on East 4th!

Anonymous said...

Anon @ 2:22pm

I read both comments and don't think your criticism is warranted. First, it's pretty clear the guy or gal wasn't making a statement about New York city law, but thinks for sharing your opinion. It's wrong by the way. Under N.Y. ADC. Law Sec. 26-408, demolition and substantial rehabilitation allow a landlord to not renew leases.

Otherwise, if you think that rent stabilization/control isn't also "unbridled greed" as the rule of law, you are very naive person. Just look at the tenants who sublet out their cheap apartments or demand expensive buyouts to end their leases. Rent control and stabilization laws don't eliminate greed, rather they merely serve to displace capital from owners to renters.

The only real question is who do we want to benefit from such displaced capital. The businesses who would use the profits to build more housing or the people who use it to boost their consumer spending. Whichever one we choose will have consequences, but changing human greed isn't one of them.

Anonymous said...

to; anon 8:03am & anon 7:04pm

Although you two probably work at the same real estate agency that promises potential landlords that they can empty buildings that they buy through you, you are being untruthful.
I just read the law you stated. I suggest you read it as well, here;
There will be one hell of a fight if the landlord goes that route, one that will drive the greedy ***** into bankruptcy.
The only solution is for landlord, if he wants building empty to offer buyouts that will enable tenants to relocate to suitable apts. and afford that rent for many, many years. Mid-six figures should do.
Landlord should do that right off the bat, or end up losing the building and then some, as well as their dignity.
You two, probably same person, symbolize the reason "Occupy Wall Street" movement is so popular.
You just keep digging a grave for you and your type.
You seem to be forgetting that these apartments are peoples homes. How disgusting can you people get?
Please just go away.

Anonymous said...

I was the initial commenter Anon 7:04 was responding to. I am an attorney and have practiced for many years in housing court. As a preface, I reiterate the first commenter is just wrong, the landlord has no such right vis a vis his property under NY law. The initial commenter's statement was not hortatory; it was a declaration; therefore, I must believe he believes that it is some right of the property owner assured by law.

Your response is excellent Anon 7:53. I would just add a couple of points.

1. The entire argument is incredibly reductive. No matter which side of this issue one argues, there are multitude of societal and economic issues to be examined. Ignoring all the relevant issues and reducing the entire discussion to capital redistribution is, at best, faulty logic. There are long term personal and societal costs and benefits in a redistribution of this kind, I could argue either side, but I certainly wouldn't limit myself to such a patently specious argument (it's just not persuasive).

2. To assume that the outcome of capital redistribution would result in landlords building more housing is not only naieve, it is wrong. For the latest evidence I have come across, I direct this commenter to the article in the NY Times A COUPLE OF DAYS AGO about landlords in Harlem leaving buildings empty and only collecting commercial rents. For a particularly ugly example of unbridled landlord greed - I point to the debacle that is Stuyvesant Town.

3. At first I thought this commenter might be a lawyer of the law and econ stripe. However, the argument that there is parity between the greed of landlords and that of tenants is such a ludicrous argument, I don't think any self- respecting practitioner would make it. Certainly not before a judge; s/he would be laughed out of the courtroom.

Aside from the fact that inherent in the purpose of the BUSINESS of property ownership is making a profit (that's capitalism), anyone who has witnessed landlord behavior over the past 30 years knows that even when there were stricter (and more strictly enforced) tenant protections in effect, landlords' greed was such that many sought to circumvent those protections both legally and illegally. The struggle has been for the tenant to ensure that the law is enforced.

4. Finally, I think the point you make about OWS is incredibly relevant. The combined criminal acts of landlords and deregulation of rent stabilization is analogous to what has occurred on Wall Street. I am old enough to remember a time that maximizing shareholder value was not tantamount to syphoning money from a company into the shareholder's pocket. There were many long term goals of benefit to a shareholder (and to the company) that could be served by taking a reasonable profit from a company. (One of the benefits, for example, would be retaining workers which would strengthen the fabric of society in which the shareholder must live.)

The same is true with landlords. Grabbing apartments whether illegally (or as our commenter is arguing legally but in manner not really consistent with the spirit of the law) and ratcheting up the rent has many consequences. Yes, in the short term the landlords will make money, but if this activity is so disruptive to communities and people, the damage the landlord does will ultimately inure to himself, his family, his neighbors, his colleagues and his friends, whether it will be higher taxes, a less safe city, fewer local skilled workers or the lack of proximity to certain services. You would think that after what has gone on globally with respect to rampant greed, unregulated capitalism and abject criminality, and the consequent wealth and societal destruction, a thinking person would immediately, given a similar set of circumstances, extrapolate a similar effect to a locality, but clearly not.

Anonymous said...

I wrote the first comment in this thread. I realize that if units are rent controlled or stabilized then a landlord must offer new leases. Obviously if this is the case, the landlord should comply with the law. If the units are not stabilized, then a landlord can in fact empty the building.

I say end all rent control and stabilization. It is a lottery ticket for people who have been living in these apartments for decades, and are no more deserving of this huge windfall than the next person. It is not handed out based on need or anything else. Give these people a section 8 voucher and cut them loose.

And no I am not some rich landlord. I just have a brain.

Anonymous said...

moderator, is there a way to retrieve message that I lost when I forgot to check "anonymous" and left "google account" checked instead?

Anonymous said...

to "Anon." today 8:43am;

Lottery ticket??? Are you kidding?

The long term residents of the EV lived here when people like you were afraid to step a foot in here. Early residents were called "homesteaders" because it was a dangerous place to live, full of crime, grime and drugs. Several people died or were injured while making this place livable for you yuppie types.

For you to suggest that the people who put their lives on the line, so the speculators and yuppies could make a buck, should now be discarded, is another example of how people like you are giving strength to the OWS movement. Despicable.

If you really had any "brains" like you say, you would already know all of this, and would not have to be told.

Good Day.

Glenn Belverio said...

Thank you anon 12:36. I moved to my block in Alphabet City over 20 years ago when the street was full of gangs and drug dealers and people were afraid to visit me. Violent fights in front of my building and break-ins were commonplace. Not much of a winning lottery ticket there. And then I helped make the 'hood safe by basically paving the way for all the self-entitled NYU brats running around care-free and drunk at 4am every weekend. I hope the rent-controlled residents of 86 e. 4th street fight tooth and nail to stay there, they've most likely earned the affordable rents.

Diana said...

well, I also moved in over twenty years ago and while there were drugs, gangs, break-ins and crime, there were also communists, artists, squatters, and a lot of homeless people permanently camping in Tompkins Square Park who could not be persuaded to move into the squats no matter how hard the (white) anarchists squatters tried because actual homeless were convinced that squatting was illegal but a park was public property. The East Village was a different place then, in so so many ways -- more rent controlled apartments was only one -- CBGBs was another!
I dislike rent control for many reasons, one of which is the fact it disincentives anyone to conserve fuel or fix up the building. That said, unbridled capitalism leads to companies where the most successful strategy is to rule them all -- and how better to demonstrate that you rule them all by looting your company to death. Hence the bailouts, our new recession, OWS.

Anonymous said...

I'm surprised you (the owner of this blog) posted this without comment.

I find it hard to believe that there are not stabilized tenants still in this building - if there are the law says they have to be offered new leases. Remember the whole shebang on E. 2nd or 3rd street (forget the exact locale) where the owner of a building with stabilized tenants had to claim he was going to use it as a private residence in order to evict them?

On the other hand, a friend of a friend who lives in a HUGE apt in another very expensive neighborhood downtown was involved in a deal where the LL paid all the (stabilized) tenants 500 grand to vacate the building.

If there are stabilized tenants in this building they should band together and refuse to leave unless they get paid boucoup bucks.

Anonymous said...

The tenant lawyer's post is a hoot. The best line is "legally but in manner not really consistent with the spirit of the law." That's clever lawyer way of admitting that you were wrong on substance, but not in spirit!

Just to end the nonsense over what the first commentator said, the use of the word "should not" in the last sentence is indicative that the comment is a normative statement (i.e., what should not be). In addition, statements about rights (as opposed to citations of law) are indicative again of a normative argument (because they convey value judgments). The only clear positive statement the commentator made is on the relationship between renewal leases and housing improvements.

As to the tenant lawyer's comment on the economics of the rental market, here is where one can appreciate the way that rhetoric is used to advance irrational positions in the face of reason. It's an important skill for a lawyer to have, as on the whole human beings are quite bad at distinguishing between rational and rationally deceptive arguments. But arguing the economics of the rental market based on a few buildings makes about as much sense as evaluating Islamism based on a few extreme people. The rental economy of New York isn’t Stuyvesant town, nor is it a few empty buildings in Harlem. Nor is it about arguments in a courtroom to a Judge, which hopefully the tenant lawyer is better at than economics. Rather, it's the general consequence of those rent regulations on the overall market that matters, which of course is a topic the tenant lawyer noticeably avoids.

Anonymous said...

To Anon 2:47am ov. 2;

The LAW was meant to protect tenants from greedy landlords. This is "the spirit of the law"! What is so "clever" about that statement?
I guess simple things seem CLEVER to you....hmmm I wonder what that could indicate about you?

As far as your other rhetoric, it just comes across as "wannabe legalese". All-in-all your comment is a sever case of the pot calling the kettle black.

btw, I am not the poster of any comments you mocked, I'm just sayin'.

Anonymous said...

I have an idea for all of you that want to end rent stabilization; Let's just end "Ownership" as well.

That will really level the playing field.

All of the "lottery winning" condo owners give up their condos to a free market rent basis. Landlords of apt. buildings..... the biggest "lottery winners", give it all up, and pay rent like everybody else (only one apt.)

Let's level it all that way.

86'd at 86 said...

I am a resident (soon to be former) of 86 E 4th St, and laws, feelings, and beliefs aside, the building is a MESS. It has not been renovated at all since I have lived here (6 yrs now), the roof is sinking, there is mold everywhere, and it is absolutely in dire need of renovations.

The old owners didn't want to put all of the money needed into a huge overhaul, so these new shady owners, RURU (i.e. Gatsby Realty) took it off of their hands. They have quite a challenge ahead of them. The place is falling apart. Minimal "renovations" were done to make the place look better for the new owners...bad paint job of the common area, staircases, etc, and "scraping" of the mold...i.e. painting over it and not tackling the problem. When it rained, the whole building was flooded inside and out. I can't believe we were PAYING RENT for this. Disgusting and unacceptable.

I will miss the community in the building (a cool mix of old school EV residents, some of which have been here for 20+ years, and people like myself, who have been in the neighborhood for 10+ years, rent stabilized apts from the 1960s next to newer renovations), however, the neighborhood has deteriorated as far as I can see. There are drunk frat boys puking on the stoop every night. I will miss the fabulous queens of the Boiler Room though!

Oh and FYI, there are many tenants with stabilized apts in the building. By law, they have to be offered a new lease when their current one has expired. Some of my friends in the building have been offered buyouts, since RURU wants everyone out, but I don't see this situation being resolved easily. Whether you believe in rent stabilization or not, these apartments are our HOMES, and it's not that simple to give something like that up and move on.

Anonymous said...

To read some people in these comments, one would think that rent stabilized tenants have unlimited rights to renew. However, as with most things, such legal rights are not unlimited.

An owner can refuse to renew a lease for several reasons, some of which are:

The owner or a member of the owner's immediate family needs the apartment for their personal use and primary residence. If the tenant is a senior citizen, or disabled, special rules apply [See Fact Sheets on Special Rights of Senior Citizens and Special Rights of Disabled Persons].

The apartment is not used as the tenant's primary residence.

The owner wants to take the apartment off the rental market, either to demolish the building for reconstruction or use it for other purposes permitted by law.

Crazy Eddie said...

@Anonymous 8.34 AM-"Give these people a section 8 voucher and cut them loose. And no I am not some rich landlord. I just have a brain."

No, you do not have a brain, DB. Because if you did, you would know NYCHA is no longer processing any new Section 8 applications except for the following emergency Categories:

1. Victims of Domestic Violence
2. Applicants referred by the District Attorney's Office for the Intimidated Witness Program,
3. Applicants referred by the Administration for Children's Services' (ACS) Independent Living and Family Unification Programs

To all the real estate trolls, please go fuck yourselves and then hitch a ride on Bloomy's private jet as he flys to Bermuda EVERY fucking weekend and suck his sweaty, tiny balls on the plane. Suck em! Big time!

Anonymous said...

"Real estate Trolls" .........
Exactly right. Trying to provoke. Either that or they have their heads so far up their asses that they believe what they're saying.
Trolls or 5hit heads. :)

blue glass said...

86'd at 86 - your only recourse is to organize and that is a time consuming and frustrating endeavor.
the more folks that participate the stronger you are. and local elected officials and or groups might even help you.
while the landlord may not be able to empty your building it sounds like s/he will be able to some work that will qualify as capital improvements.
the attorney general has a pretty simple tenants' rights guide you can download from there is also the NYS Department of Housing and Commnunty Renewal.
take a deep breath and fight for your housing.
good luck.

Anonymous said...

The government can't afford anymore Section 8 vouchers because the program is so costly. This is exactly why rent stabilization makes no sense. You are forcing owners and other renters to provide certain lottery winners with deeply discounted rent at a loss. And, yes, they are lottery winners. If someone came here in 1970 and suffered from the high crime rate. Good for them. Give them an East Village Merit Badge. They can go high five all the bums in the park. But their early arrival date simply indicates how long they have been taking advantage of an inefficient, backward law. These pioneers should have bought an apartment, or better yet an entire building. But they didn't. So when rents go up, they should either pay or leave.

I understand people who have rent controlled or rent stabilized units defending the laws. Why wouldn't you want to defend your windfall gain. Everyone else who pays these people's rent, should oppose. Rent controlled units don't even pay the real estate taxes, let alone the expenses associated with providing the unit.

Study up.

Anonymous said...

Real Estate Trolls go away. With stupid comments like the recent 8:21am, you just make the OWS movement more valid.
You want-to-be 1per centers should just go to hell.

Mia said...

Can someone please tell me when we stop making money on everything around us. I'm pretty sure air will be sold just as frequently as water is these days. I grieve for my city, I grieve for the loss of my neighborhood. I no longer buy from Starbucks, no longer go to whole foods, and no longer think it's okay to value money over the people who are my community. Such a shame. We really need to take back our neighborhood. Occupy wall street? I say Occupy East Village

Anonymous said...

Listen trolls, when I came here in 1974 this whole block was boarded up. My landlord was thrilled to have us and is still a pretty good landlord in my building. We paid higher than average rent and were considered to have ruined the neighborhood at the time with our middle class ways. Now after all this you think we should all just go away? Every time the lease came up we had the rent raised a certain percentage sometimes as much as 7%. This is not a lottery ticket this is what a normal business would see in increased profits and expenses. Why should the tenants pay thousands of dollars extra because some idiot overpaid for a building? I should not only have affordable rent but I should get a medal for living here and be thanked for making it possible for you people to be able to charge $3,500 for a rat-hole. As for the situation around the corner from me at 47 E 3rd. Those people not only added two stories to the building which doesn't seem to have bothered the building department any and have put in a garage no one knows about yet (It's behind the plywood in front)they still don't live there after all those years. Choosing to live here was not some lucky break it was hard work everyday. Every great city has laws protecting tenants in apartments going all the way back to Rome. Cities cannot operate without reasonable housing and rent laws that make that possible.BTW, commercial rents are now so crazy that we are back to boarded up storefronts again on 2nd Avenue. They should have some laws for small businesses too.

Anonymous said...

@anon November 2, 2011 4:36 PM

I do not believe the following statement to be true:

(tenants can be evicted if) "The owner wants to take the apartment off the rental market, either to demolish the building for reconstruction or use it for other purposes permitted by law."

I know that tenants can be evicted for the first 2 reasons you cited, but I think the above is purely wishful thinking on your part.