City agencies clamp down on Chelsea building owner to make repairs

The Department of Buildings, the Fire Department of New York and Manhattan Community Board 4 have decided that the owner of a Chelsea building, which residents call an “eyesore,” must fix the lighting in the building, leave its doors closed and address issues of structural instability, Chelsea Now reported. Belgian businessman Errol Rainess, the owner of the building, at 210 Seventh Avenue at 22nd Street, has been located in Florida, the paper said, and paperwork will be filed for him to return to address the repairs.

According to Chelsea Now, the most recent complaints that stem from local residents center on the building’s unlit construction canopy and a back door sometimes left partially open. Chelsea Espresso Bar used to occupy the ground floor retail space and was owned by Rainess’ late wife. The paper said the building has been closed since 2002, but public records show a 2005 sale of a co-op unit. According to PropertyShark, the building has three residential units total.

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“Anyone can come and squat there, or be smoking and the whole place could go up in flames,” Ellen Levin, who owns the next-door building, said. “There is an open door, and all of the windows are covered by graffiti.”

The building has been closed since 2002. Currently, the building has 67 complaints on DOB’s website, including “vacant/open/unguarded” building and a defective sidewalk shed and supported scaffold, according to the paper. [Chelsea Now]