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614 Woodward Avenue repossessed by the city

By Jessica Meditz


New information regarding the story “614 Woodward Avenue repossessed by the city” learned by the Queens Ledger after press time, indicates that a tax lien sale certificate has been placed on the property which remains in the possession of Silvershore Properties. Tower Capital Management is handling the sale.

Ridgewood’s biggest eyesore is no longer owned by Silvershore Properties.

The property, left abandoned and unproductive for several years, has now been repossessed by the Bank of New York because of unpaid taxes, NYC Department of Finance records show.

After years of 311 reports, complaints to the Community Board, and efforts to clean up the site, the property was taken back by the city on Feb. 24.

The action was filed to the Automated City Register Information System (ACRIS) on March 4.

Tyson Washburn, a resident of Ridgewood, suspects this was the plan all along.

He said that he knew the site would be an issue since the building, where there is now an empty lot, was illegally demolished about five years ago.

“They got a stop work order and a fine for that, and I sort of knew they were going to abandon it. The moment they stopped, they didn’t pay for their dumpster to be picked up, and so the guys who own the dumpster had to pick it up and pay the cost,” Washburn said.

“And it’s just kind of getting worse and worse. I’ve reported multiple times about the sidewalk being in terrible disarray and the scaffolding that has been up for more than two years. At one point, there was water constantly leaking from it.”

At least a dozen 311 service requests have been made regarding dirty conditions, graffiti, rodents, and illegal dumping at 614 Woodward Avenue in the span of the past month.

From February until now, eight summonses have been issued to Silvershore Properties by the Department of Sanitation, as a result of people illegally dumping their garbage there.

Washburn suspects that since the building was torn down illegally, the city may have to demolish the remaining property.

“It’s definitely unsafe,” he said. “If you look at that building, you can see it is crumbling. I’m not sure what they can do with it.”

Gary Giordano, district manager of Queens Community Board 5, said that the board has requested that the Department of Buildings reinspect the site.

“I don’t know what the Buildings Department is going to be able to do as far as gaining safe entry goes,” Giordano said. “So if they could see the property from the roof of someone nearby, they would get a much better idea about the condition of the property. Often, if the roof is a problem, the inside is going to be a real problem.”

He added that it’s hard to say if the site will be demolished, and that the “best situation” would be to have extensive work done on the property as opposed to demolition.

Giordano suggested that if there’s no demand to operate a business at the site, and the building can be salvaged and renovated, that people could eventually live there.

“There is a shortage of housing, and I haven’t seen anybody doing anything there that has been of any use for at least seven years. I think it would be a good site to have some apartments on the first floor,” he said.

“But you would have to go to the Department of Buildings to get that done. It would be hard to have something there for public use, in any period of time, where the property doesn’t sit there for a while.”

A representative from Silvershore Properties could not be reached for comment.

Ridgewood’s biggest eye-sore: 614 Woodward Avenue

By Jessica Meditz

Known for its eye-catching architecture, swanky cafes and rich cultural history, Ridgewood is a community appreciated by lifelong residents and first-time visitors alike.
But for residents who live and work on Woodward Avenue, it’s a nightmare.
614 Woodward Avenue is a large, corner side abandoned property that is boarded up with construction fences and sidewalk sheds.
It is owned by Silvershore Properties, a company whose former owner, Jonathan Cohen, was labeled “New York City’s worst landlord” by Attorney General Letitia James during her time as the former public advocate of NYC back in 2017.
Since 2018, the property has racked up 28 violations from the Department of Buildings, adding up to a total of over $200,000 in fines.
The tickets are issued to Silvershore Properties as well as another individual named Dawny Martinez.
As per the Department of Buildings, both parties failed to show up in court and pay their fines.
In the meantime, the property has acted as an unofficial dumping ground for people to leave their trash, inviting rats and other creatures to wreak havoc.
Gary Giordano, district manager of Queens Community Board 5, said the site has been an issue in the community for several years, ever since Sehy Carson Funeral Home went out of business.
“I remember we had to get the Department of Buildings over there because people were squatting there. We eventually got that taken care of, but I don’t know of any real legitimate use of that property for more than seven years,” Giordano said.
“I will say that I have not known it to be the dumping accumulation problem it has been lately,” he continued.
“When I started at this job 32 plus years ago, nobody was complaining about illegal dumping.”
Giordano said that he has reached out to the Department of Sanitation to clean up the mess, and they do, but people continue to leave their garbage there.
Angela Mirabile, executive director of Greater Ridgewood Restoration Corporation (GRRC), a nonprofit that focuses on preserving Ridgewood, said that she’s received numerous complaints from residents about the site and its sanitation issues.
She is unsure of who is dumping there, and explained that most of the trash left on the sidewalk there is regular household garbage, and not something that Sanitation would not pick up.
Another issue at the location is graffiti, which GRRC has helped clean up as part of one of their routine programs.
“Normally, with a construction fence, we would give it time for them to do whatever they’re supposed to be doing because the fence is usually a temporary thing,” Mirabile said.
“But that fence has actually been up there for a very long time. So we figured it would help to have the graffiti removed because people are dumping garbage there,” she added. “Sometimes they think that nothing is going on and they dump it, so if we painted over it, it would give it a better look.”
Mina Takla, who owns Aghapy Food Inc. Deli & Grocery across the street, said that 614 Woodward has looked the same since he opened up shop seven years ago.
“People constantly throw their garbage and other stuff in front of the building and I don’t know why,” he said. “I think if somebody fixes it or takes care of the building it’s better for everyone who lives and works here, because it’s a problem.”
Another resident, who requested to remain anonymous, has remained on top of the issue that the property presents to the neighborhood by taking photos, making 311 reports and keeping in contact with community members who are part of the Community Board, the Neighborhood Association and local realtors who are concerned about showing homes in the area.
“I’ve contacted the realtor who is trying to sell the property whose documentation is hung up. It’s old information showing the building in an entirely different state, and they’re asking more for it than it would ever sell,” she said.
“So they’re clearly not really trying to sell it. I’m concerned for the Catholic charity building next door that’s had scaffolding on their building this entire time. It really seems like a hardship on their quality of life,” she continued.
She said it appears that Silvershore Properties keeps opening new LLCs in order to shuffle around losses. While it remains unclear what their strategy is, the resident said it can be categorized as an acceptable loss.
“I think it’s just criminal negligence for the health and safety of this neighborhood. It’s absurd how much trash children are exposed to, and that they can’t even walk a normal path to the park because the sidewalks are unusable,” she said.
“By having the scaffolding up for an extended period of time, on an unoccupied building without lights, it becomes an area for all kinds of criminal activities, like the shooting we had. It’s criminal that Silvershore treats this like a financial instrument, whereas we have to live with this health hazard.”
A Google search will reveal that Silvershore Properties is “permanently closed,” and the phone number listed is disabled.
Jonathan Cohen or any representative from Silvershore Properties could not be reached for comment.

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