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Neglected Chelsea Building Elevates from Annoyance to Danger

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It's unclear if the owner of this Chelsea building on the corner of Seventh Avenue and West 22nd Street is a vindictive jerk or just terrible at maintaining properties, but neighbors want the city to step in and do something about the derelict structure. Chelsea Now reports that Government agencies and neighborhood residents met earlier this week to discuss concerns about 210 Seventh Avenue, which has sat abandoned for a decade, but has recently concerned neighbors as a danger more than just an eyesore. Problems like unswept sidewalks and garbage are being overtaken by the fact that the building is allegedly being left unlocked and open to trespassers. This is freaking out some Chelsea neighbors who fear crime, or the threat of fire which could spread to adjacent properties. "Anyone can come and squat there, or be smoking and the whole place could go up in flames. There is an open door, and all of the windows are covered by graffiti," said Ellen Levin, who owns the building next door.

The building, which was built in 1860 as a Civil War recruiting station, is owned by Erroll Rainess, a Belgian businessman who currently resides in Florida and has a history of buying historic structures and letting them go to seed. Some neighbors, however, feel that the current level of neglect being shown 210 Seventh Avenue is a form of payback by Rainess against neighbors who initially complained about more minor problems, like dirty sidewalks.

Rainess pays his property taxes, so the city cannot seize the property. City agencies are now filing papers requiring that he makes certain structural repairs and improvements to the building. If Rainess fails to reply, the city will be authorized to hire someone to do the repairs independently, and a lien will be placed against the property to pay for them.
· Derelict building draws scorn from residents [ChelseaNow]