Prudential Douglas Elliman's Leonard Steinberg has made a career out of matching celebrities to bonkers Soho lofts, and he's also Mr. Friggin' Luxury Loft. That's why when we read this morning's report on the stepped-up enforcement of Soho's artist-in-residence law, a decades-old rule that could, if carried out to the letter of the law, derail the neighborhood's luxury loft market, we knew we had to get his take on the matter. Steinberg tells us he hasn't encountered any recent enforcement issues regarding the AIR law, but that didn't stop him from sounding off on the whole system:
AIR is a bad joke. It is Animal Farm re-visited: we are all equal but some are more equal than others. Yes, SOHO was an artists neighborhood and made many mediocre artists very rich through something called evolution. Now maybe its time for the City of New York to evolve...if they want to evict non-artists, then they should pay back all the real estate and transfer taxes they've collected over the decades, evict all non-art-supply retail and pay for it. Is our government really that bored???Think that's heated? For the non-broker perspective, we turn back to the New York Times story on the matter, and the comments of neighborhood activist Sean Sweeney. He said one West Broadway co-op tried to evict an artist because he could not help pay for a lobby renovation: "Echoing the tension that still exists between the old SoHo and new, Mr. Sweeney added that he would rather see a banker's closing fouled up 'than to see a pioneer evicted because that financier’s trophy wife wants a crystal chandelier in the lobby.'" Civil War is brewing in Soho, and Poggenpohl kitchens are the front lines.
· Soho Loftpocalypse! Artist-in-Residence Rule Matters Again! [Curbed]