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This image has been archived or removed.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This image has been archived or removed.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This image has been archived or removed.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

Full GovBall Lineup Announced for Summer 2020

This year marks the 10th anniversary of The Governors Ball Music Festival on Randall’s Island, and Founders Entertainment has tapped some big names to kick off the celebration. Headliners for this year’s festival are GovBall veterans Tame Impala, alongside New York indie darlings Vampire Weekend. New additions to the top slots include venerable Fleetwood Mac […]

International Center of Photography Launches at Essex Crossing Next Week

For the International Center of Photography, four years of transition come to an end next week, as the institution plans its inauguration at Essex Crossing. The 40,000 square-foot museum and school, reunited for the first time since the midtown move, will debut on January 25 with a free “Opening Community Day.” Visitors on day one […]

Michelin-Star Chef Bringing Omakase to Former Black Tap on Ludlow Street

From shakes to sushi. After the epic bomb that was Black Tap, 177 Ludlow Street is now taking a more upscale tack. Omakase, which is Japanese dining for the ultra-luxe set. Real Estate Weekly has the scoop, reporting that a new mystery tenant, who currently owns and operates eight restaurants in New York and Tokyo, […]

‘Karvouna’ Evicted from the Bowery After Less than a Year

Restaurants can’t seem to make it work at 241 Bowery. The latest entrant, Karvouna Mezze, just joined the growing list of failures at this address. The City Marshal paid a visit to the restaurant and shut it down. All told, Karvouna lasted barely one year. Partners Dimitris Vlahakis, Wei Chen, and Chef Giuseppe Scalco (Merakia […]

Beastie Boys and Spike Jonze Announce New Documentary for Apple+

Apple yesterday announced that a new Beastie Boys documentary is coming to its Apple+ platform this spring. Right alongside the 26th anniversary of Ill Communication. Beastie Boys Story is just that – the history of the band as told by surviving members Mike D. and Adam “Ad Rock” Horovitz. It’s based on the bestselling Beastie Boys […]