The update on 325 Greenwich

I almost can’t write about this since it makes me both furious and queasy, but once again, the Loft Board is denying permits for the retail space at 325 Greenwich since the upstairs apartments have not been renovated — despite the fact that the landlord cannot access two of the apartments.

After a year of back and forth with the Loft Board (which is part of the Department of Buildings and regulates some smaller manufacturing properties that converted to residences in the ’80s), the folks at Clementine were given the green light. Landlord Josh Greenberg said they would have an opening date to aim for after a few weeks more of work.

But Chip City, which has leased the space next door, has now been denied a construction permit for the same reasons that Clementine was denied, yet ultimately approved.

“Now they’ve moved the goal post and want more from me,” said Greenberg. “It’s very unfair and I feel for the Chip City CHECK guys but I’m going to try and placate the Loft Board again.”

I contacted the Department of Buildings on this, and they explained that in order to get a go-ahead from the department for construction in a Loft Board building — called a Letter of No Objection — “a property owner needs to demonstrate progress towards legalizing the residential units in the building. The Loft Board has been in contact with the property owner about the steps they need to take in order to receive a LONO in this instance.”

Greenberg got a LOMO for Clementine, and assumed he could then get a similar letter for Chip City. But no go. The Loft Board denied the request in April and he’s been going back and forth with them ever since. The fact that Clementine got its permits has no bearing.

“One portion of a building receiving a LONO from the Loft Board to perform construction work does not necessarily have any relevance on the ability for an owner to receive a LONO for construction work in another portion of the building>” the DOB explained to me.

And they went a bit further with Greenberg, saying that in the six months since Clementine received their permits, he should have been able to renovate the two remaining apartments — but the tenants refuse to give him access.

“It has been six months since you submitted your affidavit and the letter from your architect. As indicated in your email dated April 25, 2022, not much has been done to further the legalization of the residential IMD spaces in the building. Please note that there are certain obligations which owners of IMD buildings must fulfill pursuant to the Loft Law and the Loft Board’s rules.”

In response, Greenberg summed up the experience for the tenant and landlord, and frankly, for all of us neighbors as well: ​”We both know there’s hundreds of properties that have been in process of legalization for 20-30+ years. And to ask for a full alteration … is a very big benchmark that will take me many many many months, and you know that well. My incoming tenant can’t spare that time and frankly neither can I, my property is bleeding money without tenants. I don’t see who is served well by any of this.

“You are essentially telling my retail tenant who signed a lease here that you could care less about their business and would prefer to have my retail spaces sit empty. I think all residents in this city have had enough of vacancies and I intend to prove that to you once again.”



  1. Any word on finishing the facade work? Would love to see the scaffolding come down there.

    Sounds like a nightmare dealing with the DOB, but good news about Clementine finally.

  2. When the landlord sues the two residential tenants for eviction for failing to provide access, then we will know he is serious.

  3. Never get involved with a Loft Law building. There’s a reason why the Loft Board still exists after almost 50 years, and hundreds of loft buildings can’t achieve legalized status. Because it’s prohibitively expensive, burdensome, and protracted to comply with the government’s myriad requirements.

  4. yikes! i am so sorry to learn about all of this.
    we who live here would love to have our town grow and bloom( thanks Signe) on this lively/ lovely corner.
    and yes there will be some direct comptetition to my biz, but
    to quote a movie line” you”ll find there is room for us all”

  5. A merciless situation. Every city politician and official has been doing somersaults trying to figure out a way to aid retail in the post-Covid lockdown environment. de Blasio even proposed taxing landlords who refused retail leases and chose to leave their spaces vacant speculatively. And here are the DoB’s petty bureaucrats trying to block retail space. (I will say that, as I understand it, this landlord did evict or would not renew leases on the existing retailers who were in these spaces.) As for Clementine (nee Columbine), it is a Tribeca treasure, as is its owner, and I cannot wait for its return.

    • The politicians and the officials are counterproductive, which is worse than useless. If you want retail to come back, saddling businesses with more and costlier regulation like forcing them to accept cash is not the way to go. It is a balance, and the pendulum has been swung too far in a punitive, regulatory direction by people who have never managed a business or grown a business in a competitive environment or even worked in anything other than the regulatory monopoly that is government.

  6. The owner has been trying to get rid the tenants of the unrenovated units. Instead, he needs to find a way to legalize their residences without evicting them. We have already lost far too many old timers due to unnecessary evictions of long time good neighbors!

    • I agree with you. But “find a way” is as nebulous as “make time.” What way? Do you have a suggestion that makes it financially possible for the landlord? And I am not being rhetorical.

      • “Find a way” that’s is similar to how people generally upgrade their homes. Instead of trying to evict the residents, do whatever work can be done that is necessary and can be done while they are living there, and for work that requires them not to be there, pay for their temporary lodging elsewhere while the work is in progress.

        It’s not necessary to take away someone’s long-time home to bring a building up to code or whatever it is that needs to be done to satisfy the legal requirements in question.

        • It seems like neither side has done what is necessary here.

          1. The Loft Board’s map website shows that there is still no finalized “narrative statement”

          “187 DUANE ST, MANHATTAN
          Building Identification Number (BIN): 1001550
          IMD Number: 10348
          Original Registration Date: 3/17/1983
          Section of Law: 281(1)
          Current Number of Units: 4
          Milestone: Open Narrative Statment (sic)
          Date of Milestone: 10/6/1992”

          2. The owner could move this along by submitting plans and forcing the Loft Board to adjudicate the narrative statement. See:

          3. The tenants are required to provide reasonable access once the scope of legalization work is finalized and agreed or decreed. See:

          “The Loft Law requires IMD occupants, upon appropriate notice, to provide the owner with reasonable access to their units so that the owner can perform necessary legalization work. Occupants must also provide access, upon appropriate notice, to allow inspections and surveys of IMD units, if the work is required for legalization.

          “If the tenant does not provide reasonable access after receiving notice, the owner may apply to the Loft Board for an order directing the tenant to give the owner reasonable access to the unit. If a tenant does not comply with a Loft Board order granting the owner access, the owner may bring a court action to evict the tenant.

          “See 29 RCNY § 2-01(g) for more information.”

          • From what I’ve been told by the tenants in that building they are not being asked to provide access for work or inspections. The owner is trying to get them to move out, almost certainly planning, I’d think, to do gut renovations and bring in greater revenue from new residents after that. This scenario has happened over and over and over in this neighborhood.

          • Have you spoken to the tenants?

  7. Yes I have spoken to tenants and what one tenant described sounds like harassment. I am not directly involved so prefer not to say more.

  8. From the info James dug up it seems the building was registered under loft law on 1983.
    39 years ago? Owner or owners have done nothing in 39 years to legalize the lofts? Not even a finalized narrative statement? Nothing to meet their legal obligations?

    • In fairness to the new owner, the prior owner had the building for the bulk of its time under the Loft Law to date. Numerous orders by the Loft Board over time have seemingly produced little progress.

      Most recently, Loft Board Order No. 5126 states:

      “On July 21, 2021, Joshua Greenberg (‘Owner”), the owner of the building located at 187 Duane Street [a/k/a 325-327 Greenwich Street], New York, New York, filed an application seeking an abandonment finding for the fifth-floor unit.

      “In an email dated July 27, 2021, […] the residential tenant of the fifth-floor unit, informed the Loft Board staff that he opposed Owner’s abandonment application.

      “The Loft Board staff transferred the case to the Office of Administrative Trials and Hearings for adjudication. In a letter dated November 3, 2021, Owner withdrew his abandonment application without prejudice.

      “Owner’s abandonment application is deemed resolved.

      “DATED: May 19, 2022”

  9. The loft board is a joke. I am saying this as an owner of multiple IMD buildings. I have been waiting for applciations to be adjudicated for over two years. All the staff left. No one wants to deal with this.

    Talk to dob legal. Get the NY Post involved. Its time to put a stop to this bs.