Friday, December 14, 2007

Park Slope Renovation from Hell Continues to Torment

Renovation from Hell

We doubt that 103 104 complaints to the Department of Buildings generated by a small renovation project is a record. (Between the time we posted this on Curbed yesterday afternoon and the time we wrote this in the evening, another complaint was added.) Likewise, three years of work probably isn't a record either. However, the Park Slope Renovation from Hell, aka 598 Sixth Street, is a neighborhood horror. The 11-unit building is being converted to 15 units, and the permits were first issued three years ago.

There was some brief press coverage in 2005 after residents that remained in the building were forced to live in the winter of 2004-05 without heat, not to mention horrid living conditions, and what is alleged to be intimidation and harassment, in an effort to get them out. Neighbors, meanwhile, have been subjected to work at all hours of the day and night. Some have moved; others has simply suffered through the three years of work, including much of it done after hours. (Complaints on this front have produced little DOB action as the inspections can happen days after the complaint is made and the inspectors inevitably find "no evidence" of after-hours work.) The community has watched parking spaces occupied, on and off, for years by dumpsters and other construction-related equipment. Gaping, car-killing trenches have appeared in the street and been left to do damage for weeks on end.

There is a new thread on the Park Slope Forum started by a neighbor who appears relatively new to the Park Slope Renovation from Hell. The post says:
We have been dealing with a sleazy developer who bought a building next door and has been renovating it for 3 years. He got rid of most of the rent stabilized tenants through bullying tactics and continues to think he can bully the whole block. He takes up parking spaces illegally and dumps his construction debris all over the block so he doesn't have to pay for a dumpster. He works on the weekends without permits etc. etc. We have called 311 over the past 3 years and gotten very little results.
Here's something that a tenant of the Renovation from Hell Building wrote almost two years ago about the landlord/developer's tactics:
His coersion worked on one of the tenants. He couldn't handle the extremely loud noise all summer and phone calls from Livanos 2 to 3 times a day telling him to take a ridiculously small sum of money and leave, so he just up and moved overnight.

Some of us feel we will die here before we leave. 3 of us are here over 31 years and one other for about 15 years. You can't just antagonize old timers who are very adjusted to a lifestyle and expect them to leave.

Livanos was told this over and over again, so he started to use very nasty means thinking he'd have us all out by now. He tries to get the city to say the building is unsafe to have us vacate, when he is doing the best he can to create the disaster, so he won't have to pay us money to vacate. Once vacated, you may or may not get your apartment back.
Neighbors have also alleged that the scope of the work has far exceeded anything allowed by the original permits and in the original plans. For whatever reason--slow or less than rigorous enforcement--the 103 filed complaints have resulted in far less violations than one would expect for such a development. It's unclear whether any tenants have stuck out the three-year construction project or whether it will be wrapped up in 2008 or 2009 or 2010 or 2011, although one might expect things to move along if the buildings is completely vacant. That's one screen (and there are several) of the complaints to DOB pictured below.

DOB Complaints

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Anonymous CB6 said...

Has after hours construction taken place at all over the past 2 weeks?

11:29 AM  

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