Housing + Development

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Want to Move Into This Fortresslike Bushwick Theater?

(Photo: Daniel Maurer)

(Photo: Daniel Maurer)

Boarded up and covered in graffiti, the former Imperial Theater on the corner of Irving and De Kalb Avenue in Bushwick needs a serious facelift. Luckily it’s up for lease, and has been for the last two months, according to broker Justin Losh. “We’ve had a lot of interest, mainly from bars, restaurants and retail stores.” The real estate agent’s rendering shows light spilling out from an imagined “Irving Market,” with additional doors and windows having been added to the exisiting building.

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Chinatown Residents Rally Against ‘Racist’ Towers They Say Are Displacing Them

(Photo: Jaime Cone)

(Photo: Jaime Cone)

“Where are you, de Blasio?” That was the question of the afternoon when rain-soaked protesters braved the weather at City Hall to protest rezoning that they claim has led to racism and displacement within their community. According to the organizers of the rally, The Coalition to Protect Chinatown & The Lower East Side, Mayor Bill de Blasio told them earlier in the day Wednesday that a representative from his office would come out to address them, but no one showed up. It could have been the rain that kept the nameless flack away, but try telling that to 75 wet, angry people struggling to keep their umbrellas from turning inside out. The next stop, they say, will be Gracie Mansion.

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Bushwick Inlet Park Advocates Stage Funeral in Hopes of Killing Tower Deal

Friends of Bushwick Inlet Park march to Midtown Equities' offices. (Credit: Joshua Alvarez)

Friends of Bushwick Inlet Park march to Midtown Equities’ offices. (Credit: Joshua Alvarez)

Halloween came early for a developer seeking to take over a controversial plot on the Williamsburg waterfront; this afternoon activists hauling coffins and headstones tried to spook Midtown Equities out of building on land once destined to become a park. 

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In Williamsburg, Tenants Told to Clear Out For Demolition Dig In and Demand Repairs

Jesenia and her daughter outside their apartment building. (Photo Credit: Sam Gillette)

Jesenia and her daughter outside their apartment building. (Photo Credit: Sam Gillette)

The two-bedroom apartment that Jesenia Ventura shares with her three young children, her sister, and her mother Amalia Martinez is so run-down that some windows will stay open only long enough to smash fingers, while others are stuck open even in winter. Frames of doors are ripped off, floor tiles are pulled up, and there is no running water in the bathroom sink, Jesenia says. There is green and black mold, drooping ceilings and a floor that is so warped that Jesenia’s son once tripped and cut his forehead. Jesenia worries that if she takes her kids to daycare, she’ll be reported to Child Protective Services. She says they regularly wake up in the middle of the night itching from painful-looking bedbug bites, and cockroaches crawl across their beds.

The conditions at 501-505 Grand Street, in Williamsburg, are so poor that in the summer of 2014, Amalia, Jesenia and four others organized a tenant association and filed official complaints to NYC Housing Preservation and Development. They hoped to persuade the building’s new owners, Manny and Eden Ashourzadeh of 501 EMR LLC, to make critical repairs. Keep Reading »

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Empty Spaces: What’s Up With Wreck Room’s Old Place?

(photo: Cassidy Dawn Graves)

(photo: Cassidy Dawn Graves)

Empty Spaces takes a closer look at the buildings that used to house well-loved establishments, shuttered due to inevitable rent hikes or an unfortunate turn of events. When one establishment leaves a building, it is expected that another will take its place. Some, however, remain unoccupied for months or even years. We check in on these Empty Spaces to find out what’s up.

Address: 940 Flushing Avenue, Bushwick

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Anti-Construction Harassment Coalition Rallies at City Hall For Tenant Safety

(Photo: Nicole Disser)

(Photo: Nicole Disser)

A group by the name of Stand for Tenant Safety, consisting of tenant groups and eleven City Council Members (including Rosie Mendez from the Lower East Side, Stephen Levin from Williamsburg, and Antonio Reynoso of Bushwick) rallied on the steps of City Hall this morning. Never mind the rain. The coalition is named for a new report, released today by the Urban Justice Center, that coincides with the introduction of a legislation package that would protect tenants from landlords and developers who carry out neglectful and malicious construction projects. “My tenants have rain coming down in their apartments, so this is nothing,” said CM Rosie Mendez of the Lower East Side.

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Chinatown and LES Residents Rally Against ‘Building From Hell’

(Photo: Jaime Cone)

(Photo: Jaime Cone)

Around 250 local residents, business owners and members of the Coalition to Protect Chinatown & The Lower East Side met at the future site of a controversial luxury tower and marched to City Hall to protest the construction of Extell’s “Building From Hell.” The rally was a show of support for a rezoning plan being pushed by the Chinatown Working Group as well as a stand against a tax abatement program for developers that opponents say is costing the city millions in revenue.

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Williamsburg’s Sleek New Hotel Gets Glassed Up (Plus: The Rooms!)

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If you were anywhere in the general proximity of the William Vale these last few days you may have noticed the futuristic giant is getting glassed in. The rapidly rising hotel has just one last growth spurt left in it before it reaches max height, according to general manager Sebastien Maingourd. Construction on the building, located on Wythe Avenue between North 12th and 13th Streets, should be complete by the end of the year. They’re currently shooting to open on March 1, 2016, and we’ve obtained some renderings of the rooms and dining space.

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Three Bowery Buildings Vacated After Wall Collapses On Workers

Outside 210 Bowery. (Photo Credit: Daniel Maurer)

Outside 210 Bowery. (Photo Credit: Daniel Maurer)

A brick wall collapsed onto two workers this morning as they renovated a building at Bowery and Rivington.

The workers were digging for concrete placement in an elevator pit at 210 Bowery when the incident occurred. Both men were able to extricate themselves from the debris and sustained minor injuries, according to the Department of Buildings. One worker was transported to Bellevue in stable condition, the fire department said. The four-story structure and the two buildings on either side of it were given vacate orders.

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Extell Mum About Height of LES Towers as Residents Complain About Construction

Anthony Abbruzzese gives a construction update. (Photo Credit: Sam Gillette)

Anthony Abbruzzese gives a construction update. (Photo Credit: Sam Gillette)

Extell Development addressed concerns last night about the massive towers that will rise on the former Pathmark site on Cherry Street, but refused to tell local residents just how tall they will be.

No height information was given about the massive condo tower or its smaller, more “affordable” sister, scheduled for completion in 2019.
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From Squat to Rooftop Squash: A New Garden Blooms at Umbrella House

Residents hang out at Umbrella House's new rooftop garden (Photo: Nicole Disser)

Residents hang out at Umbrella House’s new rooftop garden (Photo: Nicole Disser)

After a visit last year to ABC No Rio, a former squat building turned community space still very much awaiting its day for the ambitious makeover plans to get underway, I didn’t know what to expect from Umbrella House. The latter is a former East Village squat that, after years of push and pull with the city over legalization, became a fully legal, limited-equity affordable housing co-op. But then I caught up with Steven Englander, who now works at his former residence ABC No Rio and has lived at Umbrella House for about 16 years.

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