Contrasted against a sea of well-kept homes and pristinely-manicured lawns in Auburndale looms an abandoned property – a massive four-unit building left destitute, much to the dismay of locals who take pride in their neighborhood.
The structure, located at 47th Avenue and 198th Street, once a single-family home, was converted into four separate houses by a self-certified builder roughly 10 years ago.
“They tried to squeeze in as many properties as possible,” said Community Board 11 Chair Jerry Iannece.
According to Iannece, because the builder was self-certified, they did not need to acquire permission from the city and could undergo construction without any supervision, inspections or guidelines. The Fire Department refused to sign off on the property as livable and the owner went into foreclosure. The outcome was a four-home complex that garnered over 30 violations from the Department of Buildings (DOB).
“This is why self-certification was abolished,” said Iannece, who alleged that this practice leads to builders taking too many liberties and architects putting their licenses on the line.
Iannece alleged that in 2006, the builder went into negotiations with the owner, and in 2009, a bank from the Midwest took over the property. According to Iannece, the bank paid up the remaining violations, which had amounted to “tens of thousands of dollars in fines.”
The building is now a target for squatters and debris, littered with trash and stripped of any remaining value, according to neighbors.