Some fun website fun related to 47 East 3rd Street. The owners, Alistair and Catherine Economakis, have wanted to convert the 60-room, 11,575 square foot East Village tenement into a single-family residence since 2005, but there have been obstacles called tenants. And not just any tenants - these are rent-stabilized tenants (the 15 units rent for $600-1200/month) - and soon the two sides were embroiled in a 2+ year court dispute. To catch you up, last month, a Manhattan appeals court said the Economakises could evict the tenants and try to recover their house in Housing Court, overturning a 2006 Manhattan Supreme Court decision which found the couple violated rent-stabilization code. (This week, the NY Times looked the issue.)
There has been much suspicion that the Economakises would live in the building briefly and then convert the rest into luxury condos, so, in the mean time before another appeal, it seems the that the Economakises are trying to take their case to the public via a website, The Other Side of the Story: 47 East 3rd Street. You get the Economakis version of everything - the history, the appeals court decision, attempts to come to a resolution, etc.
We found the section about "Offers we have made to the tenants interesting" - here's an excerpt:
Guarantee that 47 East 3rd Street would become our home – From day one, we told the tenants that if their concern was that we were not going to make 47 East 3rd Street our home we would take that concern ‘off the table' by offering to guarantee that 47 East 3rd Street, would become our primary residence in whatever reasonable manner the tenants wished. Since this was not an issue for us, we freely offered to have them provide us with suggestions about what would make them comfortable (e.g. we would take out a bond guaranteeing our residence etc.) They never entertained this proposal.
Financial compensation – We have offered the tenants financial compensation numerous times and while indeed some tenants did accept our offers of compensation early in the litigation and successfully relocated, none of the remaining tenants have ever countered any of the offers of financial compensation made to them throughout the years.
Remain as tenants in the building – Because my family and I preferred to move into a unified space in 47 East 3rd Street (as opposed to having two separate living areas as is the present condition), we offered to resolve the entire case, which included not filing an appeal of Justice Soto's decision, by allowing 6 of the remaining 9 tenants to remain in their apartments and provide the tenants in the three apartments that would allow us to unify our space financial compensation. The tenants never even countered this offer and instead stated that they wished to pursue litigation.
But we called the tenants' lawyer - by coincidence, that's Stephen Dobkin, Jake's dad - to find out if these were true.
Dobkin says that there was nothing stopping the Economakises from getting a bond. And relocating tenants within the building would have forced other tenants to move out, so some tenants didn't want to sacrifice others. There's been question about how sincere many of the owners' offers truly were, and all notices tenants received said that the couple want to take over the entire building. Additionally, in our opinion, so you're getting financial compensation to move - but will it be worth it in the long-run if you could be in a rent-stabilized apartment otherwise?