Repairs Begin at Fire Damaged 289 Grand Street, Commercial Building Rises at 285 Grand

285-289 Grand Street.

It’s been a sad sight in Chinatown for more than two years — the two parcels just west of Eldridge Street, where dozens of families were displaced following a devastating fire. Now there’s news about 285-289 Grand Street, properties that remain entangled in legal proceedings.

Earlier this month, scaffolding went up around 289 Grand, and Buildings Department records indicate a major renovation is underway inside the six-story building. Residents, aided by Asians Americans for Equality, have been battling the landlord since the April 2010 blaze. Attorneys for the property owner, Wong’s Grand Street Realty, argued the building was so badly damaged that demolition was the only option. In March, a hosuing court judge disagreed, ordering the owner to make repairs and to return the tenants (many of whom lived in rent regulated apartments) to their homes.

Judge Orders Owner of Fire-Damaged 289 Grand Street to Make Repairs

289 Grand Street.

A big victory today for the residents of 289 Grand Street, who have been fighting for two years to return home to their apartments after a devastating fire.  A housing court judge ruled in their favor, saying the property owner is compelled to renovate the building, rather than tear it down.

Late this afternoon, the tenants, along with Asian Americans for Equality (AAFE), an organization advocating legally on their behalf, and local elected officials called a news conference to celebrate the decision.

Grand Street Fire Victims Allowed to Enter Apartments

289 Grand Street.

We’ve been keeping an eye on the legal battle between the owner of 289 Grand Street and the building’s tenants, who were displaced by a devastating fire in April of last year.

The residents, represented by Asian Americans for Equality, argue that the building can and should be repaired, so they can move back into to their (mostly) rent regulated apartments. The landlord, Wong’s Grand Street Realty, contends the building is severely damaged and must be demolished.

The Grand Street Fire — One Year Later

It’s been one year since a devastating fire ripped through four Grand Street apartment buildings, killing an elderly man and displacing dozens of tenants. Today the New York Times has an update on the contentious legal battle surrounding one of those buildings, 289 Grand.

Asking why the building remains empty prompts finger-pointing from tenants and the landlord’s lawyer, Adam Leitman Bailey. Each side accuses the other of trying to delay a Housing Court trial on a lawsuit filed by the tenants to force repairs. Mr. Bailey moved for a jury proceeding. John Gorman (the tenants’ attorney) opposed that, and this week, Judge Timmie Erin Elsner sided with the tenants. “It would be oppressive to charge a jury with enforcement of highly technical and complex housing safety standards and force them to devise a solution when various remedies exist,” she wrote.

You can read the full article here… and see our past coverage of the 289 Grand saga here.