Discovery of Asbestos at 85 Bowery Delays Return of Displaced Tenants
The discovery of asbestos during rehabilitation efforts at 85 Bowery has thrown a wrench in the timeline of return for exiled tenants.
Roughly one hundred tenants (mostly low-income) remain homeless, now two months after the city ordered their eviction. This is all part of the latest chapter in a nasty dispute with controversial landlord Joseph Betesh (aka retail magnate behind Dr. Jay’s).
Construction is not fully complete, and the aforementioned discovery of the asbestos carcinogen only makes matters worse. (The vacate is partially lifted, though, as the stair is replaced.) Basically, all repair work must now cease in order to detremine the extent of the substance and its subsequent abatement. But before said abatement can begin, the Department of Environmental Protection must inspect, which could take an additional two weeks.
Assemblywoman Yuh-Line Niou – continually on the front lines advocating for the displaced – sent a letter to the collective alphabet soup of city agencies imploring commissioners to execute a DEP inspection of the asbestos. And to also “explain, in a language [tenants] understand the discovery of asbestos in their homes and potential effects.”
Behind the scenes, meanwhile, we’re told that Betesh has been in discussions with the affected tenants about the status of their rent stabilization. Advocates see this as a big step forward, and point to the success of the hunger strike last month in bringing about an open dialog.
Below is the letter: