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.
Meanwhile, the future of 285 Grand Street is also taking shape. After the fire, the city ordered the demolition of the building, saying it was in danger of collapsing. Multiple lawsuits are working their way through the court system, alleging the owner is responsible for compensating residents for the loss of their apartments. As you can see from the photo posted above, a new two-story building is going up on the site. According to listings that have popped up online in recent days, Fair Only Real Estate Company plans an all-commercial, 15,000 square foot building. Three 5,000 square foot spaces are available; they range in price from $20,000-40,000/month. The listings indicate the building will be ready for occupancy in January of next year.
Yesterday, Adam Leitman Bailey, the attorney representing the owner of 289 Grand said he intends to appeal the judge’s ruling. He declined to elaborate. John Gorman, who represents the tenants of 289 Grand, said he would file a petition to dismiss the case since the appeal has “not been filed in a timely manner.”