Syracuse orders James Street apartment complex to close, city helps relocate tenants
SYRACUSE, N.Y. — Tenants in a 38-unit apartment complex at 477 James St. are being relocated after the city determined the building needed “substantial work” and would probably need to be torn down by next spring if unfixed, according the city.
The apartment complex’s foundation is crumbling, causing uneven floors in the complex, according to the building’s manager.
The building’s Brooklyn-based owner, Chaim Apartments LLC, intends to remodel the building into higher-end apartments, said building manager Mary Cook.
Cook said 22 of the building’s 38 apartments were occupied when the city ordered tenants to move Sept. 13. The tenants have received help from Catholic Charities of Onondaga County to find new apartments, she said, adding the process has gone smoothly.
The tenants will have to move out by Oct. 13. The city initially ordered tenants out by Oct. 3 but then extended the deadline, Cook said. Cook did not have an exact number of tenants who were forced to move.
“She’s tired,” Cook said of the building. “She needs some exterior work, some interior work. The city is helping us to do this in such a way that people can maintain their dignity, not be forced into shelters.”
About a third of the tenants receive housing assistance, she said. Many are elderly or on disability, she said.
The building was built in 1890, according to county property records.
Ken Towsley, the city’s code enforcement division director, said the building would likely not have been able to withstand another winter without becoming completely unfit for tenants.
“This wasn’t in imminent danger, but we wanted them out prior to winter,” Towsley said. “Another winter of freeze-thaw-freeze-thaw and we would probably have had to demolish it.”
The Brooklyn-based company’s subsidiary James Street Apartments LLC bought the building in September 2016 for more than $520,000, according to Onondaga County property records.
The company did not immediately return a call for comment Wednesday.
Cook and Towsley said they were unaware of the owners’ timeline for remodeling the new building or if the owners intended to tear it down and rebuild. A fence securing the property should be up soon, Cook said.