Tenants May Lose Home So Owners Can Add Another High-Rise To 4th Avenue

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Wash n Dry Sign, Corner of 4th Ave and St Marks

Families who’ve lived for decades in the four-story apartment building at 78 St Marks Place, on the corner of 4th Avenue, may soon have to leave to make way for yet another, taller housing development on the rapidly rising street, according to a story in the Times.

They spoke to building resident Benito Cruz, who reports that new owners Victor and Harry Einhorn have offered the families $50,000 to leave, though after the tenants refused they expect that sum to be doubled. Still, the families have seen the neighborhood change for the better in their time here, and would naturally rather stay than have to find somewhere else to live:

No tenant at 78 St. Marks gets weepy for the old days. Junkies shot up in their vestibule. Gang members punched little girls in the nose. A dead woman was found, gape-mouthed, inside the burned-out frame of a sedan.

Now there’s a natural food store, a wine grotto, a good supermarket. The schools have gotten much better.

“It was ugly,” Mr. Cruz said. “Now it’s not. I’d like to stay.”

The Times says the owners have officially submitted plans to demolish the building and replace it with a warehouse, and an application filed with the Department of Buildings in 2012 does specify plans for a two-story commercial building. But owner Harry Einhorn told the Times that they plan instead to build a residential tower there.

Public records show the same owners also purchased three adjacent properties in 2011, though no permits have been filed for work at those addresses.

Similar stories may play out along 4th Avenue in the coming years. Neighbors have already reported steep rental increases in existing low-rise apartments, where landlords aim to keep pace with the new buildings. And there are plenty of new buildings on the way, with tall ones currently planned for 153 4th Ave275 4th Ave, 470 4th Ave, and other recent sales that could indicate more development. How many of those units will be “affordable” remains to be seen.

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