Last Friday there was plenty of coverage of the Bushwick loft building 345 Eldert Street, where the fire department ordered a partial vacate order due to illegal and poorly built mezzanines, illegal plumbing, blocked sprinklers, and blocked egress. Residents were ordered to leave their homes by 9 p.m. on Friday and demolition crews began tearing down loft walls. Yesterday a resident filled us in on what’s happened since then:
Looks like many of the residents have chosen to move their items into storage and will allow the management company to demolish any offending structures to bring individual units up to code. Six apartments yesterday [Saturday] decided to demolish their mezzanine structures as per instruction from the DOB and then this morning 4 more had vacate orders lifted. There were more during the day, but I have not received a total count yet.
Most are relying on the management company to enter tomorrow and begin demolition. A handful of units have decided to move out, wherein the management company has verbally agreed to void the leases.
Please note that everything is hearsay at this point. Neither management or the DOB has indicated anything in writing. There is speculation that the DOB wants to work with management to resolve all issues ASAP (dumpsters magically showed up hours after FDNY issued vacate order; demolition is occurring without permits). Also from what I understand, the drawings on file for the building with the DOB from 2003 have illegal structures that should never have been approved.
There was a meeting yesterday between tenants organized by the Lead Organizer for the East Williamsburg/Bushwick Loft Tenants association. In attendance were Councilman Erik Dilan and David Ratner, the Attorney who worked on the 475 Kent lockout and the subsequent loft law. Councilman Dilan promised to put the DOB the FDNY and the management on the same page. Apparently this had been problem on Thursday and Friday when tenants asked what they needed to do I’m order to lift the vacate order. Depending on who they asked, they received different answers.
Despite all the efforts of the tenants, I’ve heard of many who are in a bad situation. There is a family that lived above me that must now (2 young children in tow) move in with a relative in a studio apartment in Manhattan. I also know that as young artists there are people who spent their savings on a storage unit and have no place to stay.