Why? According to the Daily News, in a 9/27/06 article headlined Her brick prison: Holdout tenant is walled in, one family--Migdalia Barreto, her daughter, and her elderly mother--have refused a buyout and are being pressured to leave. Scheiner called it a safety issue, though he did received a violation from the Department of Buildings for working without a permit--and numerous violations have been filed by the Department of Housing, Preservation, and Development.
Barreto said other tenants had received buyouts and she had her hot water turned off:
"He just wants us out so he can renovate the building and rent it for thousands and thousands of dollars."
Last month, when I took the above picture, the family had posted a sign reminding passers-by and police--who had checked for squatters--that people are living there. The other day the sign had been replaced by two American flags.
Barreto, who pays $535 for (apparently) a rent-controlled apartment, rejected an offer of $30,000 to leave. There's big profit to be made--more . According to Property Shark, the building was sold in June 2004 for $500,000.
Though Scheiner wouldn't reveal his plans to the Daily News, a real estate notice, featuring a full-windowed version of the building, offers a pretty clear clue, a profit of more than $1 million (minus expenses for relocation and renovation):
BRING YOUR BUILDERS!
499 Dean Street, Prospect Heights, Brooklyn
CONDO CONVERSION OPPORTUNITY!
Asking $1.6 mil
Why start from scratch when you can custom renovate this 1930’s classic 8 family brick being offered to the savvy developer for CONDO CONVERSION. 6 units will be delivered vacant, 2 TBD. All apts. are large 3 BR’s. There is a huge, full basement w/separate entrances and access to a large yard. Lots of possibilities. Located in HOT Prospect Heights, minutes to Manhattan, close to ALL.
That "2TBD" means "to be determined." Adding another layer of strangeness, the property might not be the most attractive place to live. Should the Atlantic Yards project proceed, the 100-foot plot of land east of Sixth Avenue, a row of five houses, would serve as parking and staging for nearly a decade--and perhaps longer. The condo conversion would be right next to a construction site.
Then it would be two doors down from a 272-foot tower, known as Building 15, in the bottom left of the map below. That tower would have a parking garage, as suggested in the second map below.