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February 6, 2018

Dear Congressmember Velazquez, Senator Kavanagh, Assemblymember Niou, Public Advocate


James, Comptroller Stringer, Borough President Brewer, Councilmember Chin,

Thank you for your support of the tenants of 85 Bowery during this difficult time. As
you know our goal is to ensure each apartment is safe and habitable so that tenants can return
to their homes.

To that end, the Department of Housing Preservation and Development (HPD) has been
working with other agencies to hold the owner accountable and ensure work progresses as
quickly as possible.

After a full structural assessment last week, the NYC Department of Buildings (DOB)
concluded that the required work to ensure safe re-occupancy is extensive. Repair is not an
option; only a full replacement of the stairs and several structural supports can address the
conditions. DOB has issued an order to force the owner to correct these structural conditions.
Construction and installation of the stairs is estimated to take 6 weeks. An additional 2 weeks
will be needed to address other safety issues, such as removing unsafe partitions that are
blocking means of egress. This gives us a preliminary timeline of 8 weeks.

The owner of 85 Bowery has already started the work necessary to stabilize the building
as required. DOB has approved architectural plans and structural plans, and the owner has
retained the services of a steel manufacturer to fabricate the stairs and a separate contractor to
install them. DOB is also performing daily inspections to ensure work is progressing
appropriately.

At this time it does not make sense to use the Emergency Repair Program (ERP) as it
would slow down the projected timeline and would delay residents from moving back into
their homes. Our ERP team has been in the building and determined that the structural work
would require expertise and equipment beyond the normal scope of the Emergency Repair
Program, which commonly addresses conditions like heat and hot water conditions, window
guards and lead-based paint. However, given the extraordinary circumstances at this building,
ERP is working with the DOB to understand and prepare a scope of work that HPD can
implement should the owner fail to meet the DOB expectations for structural work. Given that
the owner has already filed acceptable applications with the DOB for structural work and the
stair work, HPD is reviewing those plans and permits. If the owner does not continue to do the
work necessary to rebuild the stairs and the DOB issues an Immediate Declaration of
Emergency, HPD will be prepared to contract out the necessary work to restore the building to
occupancy.
The City has also been working hard to ensure that the tenants live in the best possible
conditions until they are able to move back into 85 Bowery. The owner has committed to
paying for 18 rooms at the Wyndham Hotel located at 93 Bowery for the duration of the
construction period. Residents who have registered with NYC Department of Housing
Preservation & Development’s (HPD) Emergency Housing Services Program (EHS) and are not
served by the hotel will continue to be provided with temporary relocation services by the City.

HPD has participated in the lawsuit since its inception in 2015. We are in frequent
contact with the tenants’ attorney and we share a common goal of making sure the tenants
return to the building. When the parties appear before the court later this week, the City plans
to seek a court order to ensure the owner is carrying out construction on the agreed-upon
timeline.

Sincerely,

Francesc R. Martí

Assistant Commissioner, Government Affairs Division


NYC Deptartment of Housing Preservation & Development

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