Controversial Third Street Buildings Sold?

Sue PalhakSarah Darville Sue Palchak-Essenpriess in her apartment.

Sue Palchak-Essenpriess caught a break in Housing Court last week.

The resident of 50 East Third Street, who along with her husband organized fellow tenants against the landlord who refused to renew their leases, defiantly stayed two months past the expiration date of her lease. That caused her landlord, Abart Holdings, to file suit for $2,400 on top of the rent she had paid for the two extra months, as well as for legal fees. On Friday, those demands were dropped, Ms. Palchak-Essenpriess said, and the parties settled for the amount of their security deposit and a month’s rent.

Now Ms. Palchak-Essenpriess is packing up and preparing to move to a new apartment in Washington Heights. “If you were to think of the stress arc, I guess this is the peak of it. The uncertainty is over, but now the devastation of the change is settling in,” she said.

Actually, there’s still one bit of uncertainty: Who owns 50-58 East Third Street?

Tenants were told in April that the three buildings, located between First and Second Avenues, were in contract to sell. That’s why 17 of their leases weren’t renewed, sparking protests with City Council member Rosie Mendez.

On Monday, a flyer slipped under the door of Ms. Palchak-Essenpriess stated that the buildings had been sold, and tenants should make checks payable to 50-58 East Third Street, LLC, via Safeguard Realty Management, “attn Ivan Villarruel or Ryan Goldstein.”

“We are the new management company,” a Safeguard employee confirmed, though she said that Safeguard is not the owner of the buildings. (The city’s registries still list Abart Holdings as the owner.) Mr. Goldstein did not respond to request for comment, and Mr. Villarruel hung up after being reached on the phone Tuesday morning, saying, “I cannot waste any time talking to you about these buildings.”

As for 50-58 East Third Street, LLC, that was incorporated less than a month ago in Delaware (where, as a recent Times article detailed, corporations can easily form without providing ownership information). The only phone numbers listed in the Delaware filing are for Corporation Service Company. That company’s website says it helps hundreds of thousands of other companies with tasks like filing for corporate status.

The New York address for 50-58 East Third Street, LLC, filed with the state just last Friday, reaches the midtown offices of NYC Office Suites, which rents space and desks.

In short: the new owner of the buildings remains a mystery.

Most pressing for Ms. Palchak-Essenpriess now, though, is the move itself. “I don’t know if I can even witness them getting the couch out of there,” she said. “I think its going to be like an alien birth.”