Mayor Eric Adams Takes Landlords to Court Over Alleged Dangerous Living Conditions

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The developers who tried to build the massive Astoria Cove project are in a legal tangle with New York City.

Mayor Eric Adams launched a lawsuit against Alma Realty for alleged code violations that lead to unsafe living conditions in 13 buildings the landlord owns, the mayor’s office announced Friday.

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The city also sued landlord Empire Management America in a similar case tied to seven buildings Empire owns.

The New York City Law Department wants a settlement that will result in the resolution of those conditions similar to an agreement recently struck with Sentinel Real Estate for similar infractions, the mayor’s office announced.

Under a settlement agreement, the landlords would have to set a timeline for repairs pertaining to the buildings located in Upper Manhattan, Brooklyn and Queens, according to the Adams administration.

“All New Yorkers deserve to live in safe, clean homes, which is why we will not tolerate landlords who repeatedly flout the law and put the health and well-being of tenants at risk,” said Mayor Adams. “Alma Realty, Empire Management America, and Sentinel Real Estate allowed thousands of code violations to go unchecked for years, endangering the well-being of thousands of residents.”

Alma alone allegedly has more than 800 uncorrected violations in 13 buildings, including deteriorating facades, defective electrical wiring, missing fire doors, lead-based paint hazards, and infestations of rats and mice, according to the city. 

“We take our responsibilities as property managers seriously and will respond as appropriate, following an opportunity to thoroughly review the contents of this legal complaint,” a statement from Alma Realty read.

Meanwhile, Empire has 300 standing violations in eight of its buildings that include deteriorating facades, defective elevators, non-code-compliant sprinklers, illegal gas connections, and failure to maintain fire suppression systems, the city said. Empire did not respond to a request for comment.

Both firms have been sued by the city’s Department of Housing Preservation and Development for noncompliance.

Sentinel is committed to the health, safety, and welfare of all its residents and to ensuring that all our properties are Code-compliant,” a Sentinel Real Estate spokesperson said in a statement. “In partnership with our management company, we have dedicated significant resources to resolving the issues identified at some of our buildings and to date have made a comprehensive effort toward addressing all of these items.”

Alma was meant to develop a 26-story tower, two eight-story buildings and a seven-story building that would bring about 469 apartments to the area under its massive Astoria Cove proposal. The proposal made its way through the Department of City Planning and later to New York City Council’s Land Use Committee, but the site sat undeveloped for years.

Permits for the plan surfaced in April 2022 under the name of David Kronman from Cape Advisors, a firm that recently built the Astoria West apartment complex, Patch reported. It’s unclear if Alms is still involved in the project.

Mark Hallum can be reached at mhallum@commercialobserver.com.