Sweater Lofts Vacated


NewYorkShitty reports that the Sweater Lofts (239 Banker Street) has been issued a vacate order by DOB. Once again, tenants are out on the street while the landlord who created the problem is in the clear.

Normally, I’d more upset for the tenants, but this has always been a case of landlord blatantly flouting the laws for a quick buck. I think there is a big difference between a legitimate live/work loft situation and a situation like this where the landlord was bottom feeding for a fast buck. Unlike the typical loft situation, the landlord converted the building on his own dime and marketed it as residential when he knew that was illegal. Does it suck that innocent tenants are shit out of luck? Absolutely. But this is very different than 475 Kent or 889 Broadway – lofts where the tenants themselves had a lot of time. money and effort invested in the building. This is just a case of a landlord taking advantage of the law and his tenants.

6 responses to “Sweater Lofts Vacated”

  1. I’d take issue with the statement that this is very different from 475. 475 is still a warehouse/factory. It was never legalized for residences. Until they get a CO or TCO for apartments, they’re still susceptible to another crack down. So, they are quite similar in that neither property can be ‘legally’ occupied as residences. Beautiful example of the City’s selective enforcement.

  2. Sorry – I wasn’t very clear in my reasoning. I was speaking more of the difference between an artist conversion live/work loft (where I think there should be protections for tenants) and a Sweater Factory situation, where the owner is doing the development (where I don’t). I know, it’s not a particularly logical position, but it is one based on how the city has approached the different situations for decades. What we really need is a better loft law that would protect tenants, encourage life/safety upgrades, allow safe live/work etc. but not allow landlords to game the system through illegal apartment conversions.

  3. I lived in these lofts… and they were lofts. When people rented them, they were open spaces with no walls. The tenants put money into them to divide the rooms. I don’t see any difference in what you say has happened at kent and broadway. I lived there 4 months and others had just moved in. Some even put 6 months down to get a cheeper rate. I am sick of landlords getting away with this. Something needs to be done.

  4. As a tenant who is now homeless, I’m a bit at a loss here. To say your reasoning is specious is to state the stunningly obvious. Why do you need to blame the tenants? The tenants at Kent were victims; we were victims. Leave it at that. The developer is a sleazebag, and we all knew that. But no one ever thought it would come to this. I don’t need sympathy but it adds salt to the wound to have bloggers who know nothing about the specifics of what happened weighing in with their opinions.

  5. A – I didn’t blame the tenants at all. I specifically called the landlord out as a sleazebag for taking advantage of the tenants. There are differences between Sweater and 475, but you are right – in both cases the tenants are victims. I did not mean to imply (and certainly did not say) that you and your fellow tenants are anything less than victims of a sleazy landlord. But I did not mean to offend, and I’m sorry you misunderstood my meaning (which, as I said, was not very clearly articulated).
    Dude – what was advertised online was not live/work space – it was residential space. If the landlord was also renting out raw loft space, that changes things only a little, but the fact remains that the owner converted the building for residential use, marketed it for residential use, and knew that what he was doing was illegal. It is a direct result of the landlord’s sleazy actions that you, A and others are out on the street.

  6. 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?