The blaze gutted 595-611 Smith Street on June 14 — just a few weeks after residents began pushing for the structure to be landmarked. The New York City Fire Department deemed last week that the fire was set intentionally, Crain’s reported.
Chetrit and Crown bought the property, known as S.W. Bowne Grain Storehouse and built in 1886, in 2007 for $14.5 million. In the weeks leading up to the fire, the Department of Buildings found that unauthorized demolition work had been done at the property. A stop-work order was subsequently issued.
The timing of the fire raised a few eyebrows. City Council member Carlos Menchaca called the blaze “highly suspicious.” [Crain’s] — Kathryn Brenzel