The 11,000 square foot mansion dreams of a couple that owns 47 East 3rd Street in the East Village have been stalled for now, as a judge ruled that Catherine and Alistair Economakis did not get permission to cancel their tenants' leases. The buliding has 15 rent-stabilized apartments (totaling 60 rooms) which range from from $600 to $1200, and the Economakises asked the tenants to hit the road when they were expecting a baby. And enter the dispute, with some of the tenants suing the couple, putting their plans to turn the building into a five bedroom, plus six bath, den, library, study, gym, and nanny suite, home on ice; this has been roiling for over a year. Manhattan Supreme Court Justice Faviola Soto ruled that the Economakises violated rent stabilization code and that there would be an "inescapable consequence" of converting the building to a single-unit residence: "all of the building's 15 rent-stabilized apartment units will be forever withdrawn from the rental market." Alistair Economakis says that they thought they would just live in the "only building that my wife and I own" but the tenants' lawyer, Stephen Dobkin (yes, there is a connection to Gothamist!), told the Post, "To me, it's the kind of thing that spoiled brats would do."
The NY Times looked at this situation last year, with one expert saying, "The size of the space that somebody claims they intend to live in must pass what lawyers call the 'giggle test' - the notion that the claim is believable and will not cause a judge to start to giggle. The idea that someone would take 15 units with 60 rooms as a primary residence is absurd." It's unclear what will happen next, except that the owners will appeal. Hmm, since five of the apartments are free, which seems there might be around 2000-3000 for a very fine apartment, plus rental units!
Next, we expect to hear that people will start to take over Brooklyn warehouses to make their own city style McMansions.
Photograph from the Daily News