Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Court Street Building Housing Buschenschank Hit With Partial Vacate Order And Stop Work Order


More trouble for James McGown, the real estate developer and restaurateur, whose questionable business practices, string of bankruptcy filings and dilapidated buildings have drawn quite a bit of attention from the press in recent time.

A few weeks ago,  a construction crew gutted the second floor at 320 Court Street, a building owned by McGown, which currently houses his pseudo-Tyrolian pub Brooklyn Buschenschank.  After someone reported to the New York City Department Of Buildings that the brick building was shaking and vibrating, the agency sent out an emergency crew to investigate.
The inspectors determining that the second floor had been illegally gutted and that major steel support beams had been removed.  DOB issued a complete stop work order on August 23rd.  In addition, since the missing support beams jeopardized the stability of the third floor apartment and access to the fire escape was blocked on that floor, a partial vacate over was served at the same time.
The orders were posted on the front door to the upper floors on Court Street the day they were issued, but promptly (and illegally) removed.

Plans have since been filed with, and approved by DOB to remedy the situation, but the Stop Work and Partial Vacate orders are still in effect as of this morning.  There are some additional concerns about the building.

This is not the first time there is trouble with the building.  According to DOB records, there are quite a few open violation, some of which have been deemed hazardous.  Significant fines have been imposed, but remain unpaid.

A PMFA reader pointed out recently that McGown uses the basement of the building as a music venue, bar and restaurant.  Sure enough, on Buschenschank's web site,  there is a page dedicated to the Ratskeller, which offers a series of concerts as well as a full bar, tables for dining and is available for private parties.

The use of the basement raises some serious questions. Has it been approved by the Fire Department and are there enough means of egress in case of fire?  Is the Buildings Department aware of the additional occupancy?

 photos above from Buschenschank/Ratskeller web site

And lastly, I would just like to point out to Buschenschank patrons and pedestrians passing by the building that a piece of masonry above a window situated directly over the pub's front door looks as though its about to fall down.  Watch your head.


Anonymous said...

James McGown is THE WORST. How can he continue to operate with impunity?

Anonymous said...

I think that the only thing that will stop him is when the building collapses on a busy Saturday night and people are killed. The city has reasons for all of it's rules; I know that they are a severe pain it th ass for restaurant owners, but you have to follow the rules!

Anonymous said...

not a basement - it is a cellar and can only be used for storage and building systems - occupancy by public is illegal.

Anonymous said...

Why blame McGown? Its the city. All over the city landlords don't pay fines, do illegal construction and destruction and misuse of property. Nothing ever happens. Sometimes they are fined, and sometimes they even pay the fine. The city needs to be held responsible along with the landlords

Anonymous said...

Why are people idiots when it comes to a building in NYC ?
They are old. They are constructed with key components that make them stand up. Why are crews tearing out what holds them up?! Who are these people?!?!

Anonymous said...

My question for the DOB is - how does one get a permit approved when there are already 24 OPEN VIOLATIONS on the building and almost $10,000. in unpaid fines?
This is insane!

Katia said...

Good question.