Asbestos and Lead at Iconic UWS Apartment Building

by - March 15, 2010 at 10:46 am -

apthorp3The Apthorp is one of the most famous and regal buildings on the Upper West Side, but in recent years it’s been recognized mostly for dysfunctional ownership and courtroom battles. Add this to the mix: residents have been testing the dust that’s been released by some recent renovation work done to the building and say it’s filled with unsafe levels of lead and asbestos, New York magazine reported. An expert hired by tenants supposedly found lead levels 10 times the legal limit.

The rent-stabilized tenants in the building are a feisty bunch and they’ve gotten local politicians and city officials to start nosing around the Apthorp to test the dust being kicked up. The Apthorp, a limestone 12-story building at 2207 Broadway with a gorgeous courtyard, tends to stir people’s passions. It’s a symbol of an era of New York City apartment-dwelling that has largely passed. Renters often had sweetheart deals (some still do) allowing them to live in gorgeous five-bedroom apartments at a fraction of the cost that market-rate renters pay in New York. Whether they’re motivated by envy, fairness, or bitterness, some people just don’t like that. (Just check out the comments in the New York magazine article)

Now the building is attempting to convert from a rental building into a condo, charging millions of dollars for each apartment. Even Brangelina supposedly took a look at the complex last year, but apparently didn’t buy. The attorney general still needs to approve the condo conversion plan. If the lead and asbestos are as bad as tenants say, it probably can’t help the landlord’s application.

The Feil Organization, which now manages the Apthorp, hasn’t responded yet to a request for comment.

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