Samy Mahfar’s Luxury Conversion Creates ‘War Zone’ for Tenants of 102 Norfolk Street [PHOTOS]

Posted on: July 14th, 2014 at 5:38 am by
This image has been archived or removed.

Controversial real estate mogul Samy Mahfar (pka SMA Equities) purchased 102 Norfolk Street back in April of this year. It was around this time that we first started hearing chatter about the luxury conversion, and tenants caught in the crossfire.

Last week, however, we learned via the New York Times that “some tenants had accepted” buyouts to escape the mess. The truth of the matter is that three regulated residents took the money because Mahfar had leverage over their living situation. Of twenty-five total units, eighteen rent stabilized remain, a third of which are comprised of immigrant Chinese families (some not speaking English).

But that’s only part of the story. Here’s more. The holdouts, who are organizing opposition, continue to live in a “war zone” of constant construction, purported landlord bullying, and hazardous worksite practice. Tenants must contend with weekly water shut downs, exposed wiring, an influx of rodents, and ill-timed exterminator visits that don’t fit anyone’s schedule.

This image has been archived or removed.

Moreover, the apartments are falling prey to the constant banging. For example, one particular tenant reportedly came home to find that a screw had shot through his living space. Imagine the danger had he been at home. Also, fissures are forming in the walls and ceilings, resulting in lots of dust and peeling. Not to mention the constant scent of turpentine and the rash of “plastic vaginas” over each apartment door.

Yet it is the aforementioned dust that is of utmost concern. HPD paid a recent visit and conducted a lead test on the paint in the apartments and common areas. It came back positive. The fear is that residents are now inhaling toxic air.

The other fear is landlord muscle. A so-called relocation specialist is allegedly spreading lies and using bully tactics to ensure that tenants feel small and without choice. Methods employed include asking for identification before entry, removing the lock altogether, and threatening that buyout refusal could have consequences. Oh, and it’s definitely worth noting that HPD and DOB have apparently been barred from entry on numerous occasions.

This image has been archived or removed.

The battle continues to rage.

Through it all, the holdout tenants aren’t going easily, stating thresholds for buyout in the low six-figure range. The one glimmer of good news in this clusterfuck is that Councilwoman Margaret Chin’s office is involved, as well as advocacy groups CAAAV, Cooper Square Committee, and AAFE. All are working toward a resolution. After all, there’s media attention and headlines…

This gallery has been removed.

Recent Stories

Jing Fong Workers Protest Dining Room Closure and Rumored Shutdown

Despite the brisk weather, several dozen union members and Jing Fong employees rallied Tuesday morning in front of the East West Bank on Centre Street to save save the iconic dim sum restaurant. Advocates called on the Chu family, which owns the Elizabeth Street property (and the aforementioned bank), to stop killing Chinatown and to keep […]

Forever Stalled Delancey Street Condo Tower is Finally Rising

Stop the press – there is actual real world progress to report on a long-stalled development at the east end of Delancey Street. The 12-story “boutique condo” at the corner of Delancey and Pitt Streets has seen some serious progress in recent months, after spending most of its life cycle as a stalled steel skeleton. […]

Asian Man Pummeled Outside East Broadway Station in Latest Biased Attack

An Asian man was assaulted in an unprovoked attack outside the East Broadway subway station Tuesday night, adding to a recent spate of biased assaults against Asians across the city. Cops said the 56-year-old victim was entering the F train station – the Rutgers Street entrance by Woo’s Wonton King – at about 8:50pm when […]

NY PopsUp with Performances at Essex Crossing

A small crowd gathers outside the entrance to the International Center of Photography on Essex Street. Rain be damned. Music blares onto the street. Inside the sparse Essex Crossing storefront, behind plate-glass windows, a group of dancers prance around to the rhythm. The weekend spectacle was part of NY PopsUp, the months-long festival billed by […]

Lady Gaga’s Former Lower East Side Apartment is Back on the Market

The Lower East Side apartment formerly inhabited by Lady Gaga before she was famous is again available for rent. The one-bedroom abode at 176 Stanton Street (#4A) is currently listed for $2,000 per month via StreetEasy, and has been on the market for about thirty-five days. And the broker babble was recycled from past listings. […]