Dumbo artists push back against warehouse conversion plans

Residents fear landlord GRJ will force them out of their homes at 57 Jay Street

57-59 Jay Street
57-59 Jay Street

UPDATED, 3:55 p.m., August 25: Residents of a Dumbo warehouse that has for years been something of an artists’ enclave fear their new landlord will soon try to push them out ahead of a rumored plan to convert the property into upscale apartments.

Landlord GRJ, made up of brothers Graham and Gregory Jones, purchased the building at 57 Jay Street on Aug. 20, and are now threatening to evict tenants from their homes, residents told DNAinfo.  “[GRJ] has a history of buying buildings and doing extensive renovations to make them upscale,” Margaret Sandercock, a lawyer representing another group of tenants, told the news site. “And they do so without regard for the rights, needs or safety or the people living in the building.”

GRJ co-founder Gregory Jones told The Real Deal that his firm “has not spoken to one tenant about a buyout.” Regarding tenant reports of threats and harassment, he said “all of that is inaccurate and unfortunate.”

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The developer duo purchased a 20-unit Yorkville building and three East Village properties in 2012 with plans to convert them into “the most desirable walk-ups in the East Village,” according to reports at the time.

Regarding GRJ’s future plans for the building, Jones would only say the “plans are to legalize the building, to get a residential certificate and occupancy and make the property safe and fit for residential.” [DNAinfo]Julie Strickland