For the second year in a row, PH Greenpoint LLC, the developer of the planned luxury boutique hotel at 71 White Street, has gotten slapped with a summons by the Department of Health for lakes of standing water that have formed on the roof of the development site. According to the violation notice, issued by the Department of Health last month, the standing water creates conditions that are “conducive to breeding and harborage of mosquitos.”
A representative from the Department of Health stated, “We take standing water complaints seriously. We have inspected this property multiple times this year and we have cited the property for extensive violations.”
In September of last year, the Department of Health issued a ticket to the developer for the same exact violation. PH Greenpoint LLC did not show up to its hearing with the Environmental Control Board and ended up getting hit with a $2,000 fine. They paid the fine, but never got rid of the standing water.
Though summonses were issued to “PH Greenpoint LLC,” the owner of the development site is actually a company called All Year Management, according to coverage at the time of the property’s sale. In 2014, All Year acquired 71 White Street for $9.4 million. The following year, the company announced plans to turn it into a monstrous 7-story, 112-room hotel that would include space for retail stores and restaurants.
The Health Department notice explains that it considers standing water violations “extensive” when the water covers 10 or more square feet. According to Phil Buehler, an artist who lives across the street and has a direct view of the roof, these pools are much bigger.
“It’s probably not that deep, six inches at most, but it’s 25 feet wide and 60 feet long and there’s now three of them … One has never evaporated and you can start to see the algae and all the stuff growing on it,” says Buehler.
Buehler got in touch with the Department of Health last year when he realized that the standing water posed a public health threat, especially considering the heightened concern about the spread of the Zika virus at the time. Since then, he has continued to complain to the Health Department, and they continue to be responsive, but All Year Management has not shown any signs of addressing the issue.
“I’m just very skeptical whether or not they’ll ever fix it. The thing that really bothers me is that the guy who’s going to build this hotel … he’s one of the biggest developers out here,” explains Buehler.
The “guy” Buehler is referring to is Yoel Goldman, the mysterious developer who founded All Year Management. He owns some of the biggest properties in the area, including the William Vale Hotel in North Williamsburg.
Goldman and All Year Management already have a somewhat notorious reputation in Bushwick. All Year is one of two developers involved in the development controversy at the Rheingold Brewery site. Both companies backed out of a non-binding affordable housing agreement that the site’s previous owner had made with the community. This move decreased the number of planned affordable housing units by almost 90 units.
All Year Management is set to appear in front of the Environmental Control Board to review their standing water violations on July 12th. But, in case the situation continues to go unresolved, Buehler has taken matters into his own hands for the time being. He bought “mosquito dunks,” pucks that diffuse in standing water and kill mosquitoes without harming the surrounding environment.
“Until it gets fixed I’ll have to be throwing these things on the rooftop, which is ridiculous, but it’s a workaround.”