Today State Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver is out with a statement on 289 Grand, a building heavily damaged in last month’s 7-alarm fire. Last week the landlord had notified residents their leases were being terminated, asserting there was no other choice but to demolish the building. Silver, however, is convinced 289 Grand can be repaired:
Assemblyman Sheldon Silver today called for tenants to be allowed back to their apartments at 289 Grand Street, which sustained damage in the April 11 fire that devastated the neighborhood. Silver received assurances from the city Department of Buildings that 289 Grand Street is structurally sound and needs only some repair work. He asked that the reconstruction work be done as quickly as possible so that the rent-regulated tenants can move back in. “These residents have suffered enough already,” Silver said. “They are entitled to return to their homes under the existing leases with as little further disruption to their lives as possible. As victims of this tragic fire, some of them lost everything. I want to make sure we do whatever it takes to get them back home.” Silver is also asking the state Division of Housing and Community Renewal, which must review any application to tear down 289 Grand Street, to preserve the rent-regulated units.
Whether the building – which consists mostly of rent stabilized apartments – can be repaired is a critical issue. If it’s torn down, the rent controlled units will be lost. If the building is refurbished, the apartments will be preserve as part of the city’s affordable housing stock.