The Real Deal New York

Loft residents at future Gowanus charter school site fighting eviction

July 12, 2011 11:57AM

A longtime tenant of one of the three Gowanus commercial loft buildings set to be demolished in order to make way for the new Brooklyn Prospect Charter School is suing the landlord over his impending eviction, according to the Park Slope Patch. The tenant, an artist named John Romano, said he has been living in the 5,000-square-foot, third-floor loft at 269 Douglass Street,between Third Avenue and Nevins Street, for the past 15 years with the landlord’s permission, even though the building is technically zoned for commercial use. But a year and a half ago, when developer Jack Elo bought the building, Romano alleges that renters were all asked to sign five-year leases, to which Elo added a clause that read: “In the case of a demolition order, occupants will be required to vacate the premises in six months.” Elo tried to get tenants to sign it by assuring them that he wouldn’t sell the building, Romano said, but later broke that promise, striking a deal to sell the site to Daniel Rubenstein for his new, controversial school. Elo has denied that anyone is currently living in the commercial-zoned building, but Romano said he’s also now seeking protection under the city’s loft laws from the New York City Loft Board, which would make it difficult for Elo to evict him. [Park Slope Patch]

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