The residents of 135 Plymouth Street, virtually the only remaining live/work loft building in Dumbo, are holding a fundraiser to save their rental units. The residents are in a loft law lawsuit with the building’s landlord, who residents say wants to evict tenants to create luxury apartments. This New York Times article gives some background on the residents’ desire to apply for protection under the loft law, while the landlord wants to legalize the building for residential use under the Department of Buildings. As the building residents state on their website, “We are presently trying to claim the rights that the Loft Law grants us, but risk losing our homes for want of funds to pay the team of legal, architectural, fire and engineering experts that it takes to prevail in court.” The fundraiser, which will have food, drink and performances in two of the building’s loft apartments, is scheduled for Saturday, June 8. Twenty of the building residents are contributing to the menu, as well as entertainment such as screen printing, caricatures, mural painting, bands, magicians, DJs, and an aerial show. To purchase tickets to the event or to make a donation, go here.
Today the Post has a story about some residents of 338 Berry Street in Williamsburg, a former noodle factory that many artists moved into in the mid-1990s and who are now fighting off a landlord trying to evict them. Here we go, yo:
Most of the seven-story building is already vacant. All that’s left is 10 large lofts filled with dozens of pioneers who moved to Williamsburg in the mid-1990s, when it was still isolated, crime-ridden and full of factories. They paved the way for the subsequent hipster invasion — which sent property values skyrocketing. Seeing the writing on the wall, the residents of the building’s work-live lofts signed agreements with the previous landlord allowing them to stay until 2011. But in 2010 the state revised the Loft Law — to put such artist-occupied spaces under rent stabilization. The Berry Street tenants claim the legislation supersedes their agreement. But Brooklyn Supreme Court Justice Bert Bunyan two weeks ago sided with the current landlord, Mona Gora-Friedman, who wants to show them the door. She finds the artists unpalatable, they claim, because they’re standing in the way of converting the building into luxury condos.
Last time this building was in the news, in 2009, it was because a very respected drummer, Jerry Fuchs, fell to his death after a malfunction with the property’s manual elevator. At the time, the building had code violations out the wazoo.
W’burg Has Art Attack [NY Post]
Site of Drummer’s Fall Lousy with Violations [Brownstoner] GMAP