Gramercy school to be hit with certificate of occupancy violation amid $67M renovation

The Friends Seminary is under investigation for its LPC application tied to the work

The Friends Seminary at 222 East 16th Street in Gramercy
The Friends Seminary at 222 East 16th Street in Gramercy

The city is about to slap a violation on the Friends Seminary in Gramercy for not having a valid certificate of occupancy for the past four years.

The Department of Buildings has approved 23 permits for the private school’s controversial $67 million renovation. Last month, the city’s Department of Investigation launched a probe into the school’s Landmarks Preservation Commission application tied to the renovation.

A DOB spokesperson told DNAinfo that issuing permits is not dependent on the certificate of occupancy and that building inspections have not found it to be a danger to students.

The Friends Seminary’s certificate of occupancy expired in 2006, and the school got temporary permits until the summer of 2012, when it ceased to have a valid certificate, DNAinfo reported. The lack of certificate is linked to paperwork complications after the school’s architect died in 2007, the website reported.

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The school at 222 East 16th Street wants to add two floors across its three townhouses and at an adjacent building. Since the buildings are in the Stuyvesant Square Historic District, the work required LPC approval, which the school received in May.

However, letters of support in the application that were supposed to be from neighbors, were reportedly linked to the names of B&L Management employees. Luigi Caiola, whose daughters attend the school, runs B&L.

Caiola is the son of New York real estate macher Benny Caiola, who died in 2010, and has actively raised funds for the school in the past, DNAinfo reported last month.

Last year, Fairstead Capital and Blackstone Group acquired 24 Manhattan rental buildings owned by the Caiola family for $690 million. [DNAinfo]Dusica Sue Malesevic