2008_08_avalonchrystie.jpgThe mammoth Avalon Chrystie Place rental building on Chrystie, between Houston and Stanton, is facing a federal lawsuit from the Department of Justice. The DOJ accuses developer AvalonBay Communities of, per the NY Times, "illegally discriminating against disabled people by failing to provide them with sufficient access at a 361-unit rental building on the Lower East Side."

The building, which ushered in a new era of large, modern apartment buildings to the formerly "gritty" Bowery, with amenities and retail offerings like a Whole Foods on the first floor, opened in 2005, with rents around $2850 for a one-bedroom (now it's more like $3895). DOJ's issue is that there are no "routes into and through dwellings, reinforcements in bathroom walls to allow the installation of grab bars, and kitchens and bathrooms usable by a person in a wheelchair.” The lawsuit also notes SLCE Architects in it.

The DOJ says the case is "the government’s first lawsuit in Manhattan alleging violations of the Fair Housing Act in the design and construction of multifamily housing.” AvalonBay says the building "was designed and constructed, and is operated, with a view to full compliance with all accessibility codes and laws."