Community Board 6's district manager distributed the letter above that was sent to his office from Housing Solutions USA/Aguila Inc., a Bronx-based non-profit organization that provides services to homeless families in the Bronx as well as in Manhattan.
The organization intends to submit a proposal to the Department of Homeless Services to house 170 single adults at 165 West 9th Street right at the corner of Court Street near Hamilton Avenue.
The 7-story building in question was built in 2002, but its 10 residential units and commercial space have remained mostly empty to this day. (According to a resident of West 9th Street, some of the upper apartments have been occupied off and on for the past few years.)
Why the units at 165 West 9th Street have never been rented or sold at market value may have to do with some problems with the construction. The project appears to have been self certified by Robert Scarano** of Scarano & Associtaes Architects. Long the darling of Brooklyn developers for his creative floor-area calculations and use of illegal mezzanines to maximize building height, floor area, and lot coverage, Scarano eventually lost his license after he went too far. In permits filed in 2001 for this particular building, there is mention of mezzanines. It is interesting to note that a final Certificate of Occupancy has only been issued in 2010.
Recently, construction work has been performed on the interior.
Daniel of Fat Cat Wines at 538 Court Street, just around the corner from this building, expressed his concern to Community Board 6 in an email. He writes: "We were all expecting a free market rental building to open in that space to really increase business and revitalize the neighborhood. Instead this is the worst thing that could possibly happen to businesses with an already fragile economy. There have been so many positive changes in the neighborhood because hard working people have been willing to put there life savings and heart and soul into opening businesses here at the bottom of Court Street."
Acording to a response from Craig Hammerman: "We are in the process of setting up a public Informational Meeting for the Community Board and community to learn more about this proposal firsthand, and will be sending out a followup announcement as soon as the meeting details are confirmed."
**Carroll Gardeners may better remember Scarano for the 'tumor building at 333 Carroll Street and the mezzanines at the Satori Building on Bond Street.