Joseph Betesh, partners sue tenants to evict them from Chinatown buildings

Owners say structural problems at 83 and 85 Bowery can’t be fixed until they are empty

83-85 Bowery in Chinatown
83-85 Bowery in Chinatown

Landlord Joseph Betesh is suing to get tenants out from a pair of Chinatown buildings, claiming in the lawsuit necessary repairs can’t be done unless they are empty.

Betesh, who runs Milestone Equities and co-owns the clothing chain Dr. Jay’s, led of a group of investors who paid $62 million in 2013 for a 11-building portfolio that included 83 and 85 Bowery.

The five-story properties, which were once flophouses converted into apartment buildings, have structural problems and the city ordered parts of both buildings vacated.

However, the city has yet to declare the buildings an immediate hazard, the New York Times reported.

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The owners’ lawyer told the newspaper that they did not intend to empty the buildings when they bought them.

Last year, the owners served eviction notices to tenants, claiming that apartments were not rent-regulated units because of renovations done around 35 year ago, but ultimately withdrew the case. Tenants were offered $15,000 to leave, but they declined.

The new lawsuit, filed in New York State Supreme Court, claims that the buildings can’t be fixed until the tenants vacate the property.

Chinatown real estate is much in demand, with a 25 percent increase last year in the price per square foot for condominiums in the neighborhood. [NYT]Dusica Sue Malesevic