Volume 19 Issue 52 | May 11 -17, 2007

Fire halts condo project

A fire erupted at 148 Chambers St. at around 9:30 p.m. Friday, spreading from the fourth floor up to the building’s eighth floor. Two firefighters sustained minor injuries and were taken to St. Vincent’s hospital, the fire department said.

The building, at Chambers and W. Broadway in Tribeca, was unoccupied: it’s a residential building being converted to into condominium of six residential units and one commercial unit. The cause of the three-alarm fire is unknown and is under investigation, a fire department press official said.

“It’s a complete shock,” said Tom Currier, the selling agent for the building. “I am happy no one got hurt.”

Renovations were set for completion by July, but Currier said the damage to the building is “major, and possibly near total.” He called the fourth and fifth floors “complete destruction.” The seventh and eighth floors, he said, were relatively unscathed by comparison and the roof still intact.

The building was also littered with water damage. Firefighters pumped water into the building for some four straight hours before they contained the fire, Currier said. In the basement, he said, there are 18-inch high marks. Some neighboring buildings also sustained water damage, Currier said.

Before the conversion, the building was a rent-stabilized, with residential tenants paying around $400 a month, according to Lloyd Zimet, the owner of Food in Motion, an upscale catering business that used to be at 148 Chambers. In 2006, he said, Food in Motion, along with the residential tenants, were forced out of the building.

“We were paying $7,000,” he said. “They said we could stay for $12,000. A few weeks later they told us to move out.” Food in Motion has since moved to 214 Sullivan St.

Prices for the condos were to start at $1.85 million, according to the building’s website. The building was purchased in 2005 for $4 million by GTJ Associates, LLC, whose manager was James W. Stockwell, according to the deed of sale.

-- Chris Bragg

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