[EVG photo from Sept. 5]
Workers packed up their gear and sidewalk bridge a few weeks ago at 515 E. Fifth St., where they had been removing the illegal top-floor addition courtesy of landlord Ben Shaoul.
And the top level here between Avenue A and Avenue B has been hollowed out, with a couple of walls remaining ...
[Photo via an EVG reader]
515 Penthouse Removal Watchers say this configuration is now similar to the Shaoul-owned 514-516 Sixth St., where the formerly illegal space is apparently making for a cool party gazebo for residents.
To quickly recap seven-plus years of illegal addition history: The Board of Standards and Appeals (BSA) ruled in 2008 that Shaoul needed to remove the 6th and 7th floors. However, his attorneys had requested that the city grant a zoning variance to "permit the constructed enlargement, minus the penthouse, to remain" here.
The BSA apparently gave Shaoul until the end of July to provide proof that the top floor had been taken down … then the BSA would reopen hearings on the variances that Shaoul and Co. are requesting.
According to a member of the 515 tenants association, the next hearing is today.
DNAinfo reported on Sept. 4 that four studio apartments on the sixth floor had been listed for rent even though the "floor does not have a certificate of occupancy and the building is technically noncompliant with local zoning regulations."
Shaoul told DNAinfo that he did not know how the listings came to appear on Streeteasy. (They are no longer on the site.)
“I’m not responsible,” he said before pinning the listings on brokers.
“Brokers are unauthorized. Brokers do that all the time. There’s nothing,” he said. “Brokers do whatever they want to do.”
A building source claims that one of the sixth-floor units has been occupied since late August.
Previously on EV Grieve:
[Updated] 5 years later, another BSA hearing on illegal rooftop addition at 515 E. Fifth St.
Protest at 515 E. Fifth St. this morning, site of Ben Shaoul's illegal addition
The disappearing illegal penthouse of 514-516 E. 6th St.
Never-ending battle wages on over additional floors at 515 E. Fifth St.
Never-ending battle over additional floors at 515 E. Fifth St. promises to keep being never-ending
CB3 not into Ben Shaoul's zoning variance for 515 E. 5th St.
Another BSA hearing on Ben Shaoul's illegal rooftop addition; plus, rent 1 of the contested units!
BSA tells Ben Shaoul to remove the illegal penthouse on East 5th Street within 60 days
Ben Shaoul now has until the end of July to demolish his illegal penthouse on East 5th Street
Sidewalk bridge arrives at 515 E. 5th St., site of Ben Shaoul's illegal penthouse conversion
Actual demolition work happening at Ben Shaoul's illegal East 5th Street penthouse