More than 200 people found themselves homeless last night after they were evicted from an enormous industrial building at 17-17 Troutman St. in the Ridgewood section of Queens, with Bushwick, Brooklyn just across the street. The loft residents were told to leave by the Department of Buildings and signs were posted saying that the building was "imminently perilous to life."
Fire and building inspectors also cited numerous violations in the fire code and evidence of building work done without proper permits. The 25-foot-ceilinged lofts, according to the Daily News, go for $1,500-3,500 and we spoke to one person who told us that the space was subdivided back in August 2003. The building is apparently zoned for commercial use, and since the loft conversions (between 60 and 70 of them) were done illegally, the DOB says that the space will have to be converted back to its raw condition.
The newly homeless were allowed to take what they could by the end of the day and the Red Cross was on hand to find them temporary shelter at area hotels and motels. Officials have scheduled times for former occupants to retrieve the rest of their belongings.