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City Raids Illegal Venue and Hostel After Deadly Ghost Ship Fire: Officials

By Gwynne Hogan | December 20, 2016 4:00pm
 The warehouse Greenpoint venue, which closed in October, was still renting out beds to tourists.
Aviv Vacated
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GREENPOINT — A Brooklyn warehouse used as an illegal music venue and hostel was shuttered days after a deadly fire in a similar space in California, city officials said Tuesday.

Aviv, which operated out of the building at 502 Morgan Ave. in Greenpoint, was raided on Dec. 7. Its managers were hit with violations for illegal residential use and given a partial vacation order, according to city records.

Days earlier, 36 people died at the Ghost Ship in Oakland when a fire broke out in the unlicensed venue and living space.

"We are relieved no one was hurt," said Melissa Grace, a spokeswoman for the mayor's press office, about the Greenpoint space.

"We urge New Yorkers and visitors to be aware of dangers posed by illegal housing and performance spaces and report them to 311 no matter where in the city they occur."

Aviv had stopped using the space as a music venue in October, but its now-deleted Airbnb page boasted bunk beds that started at $25-a-night for travelers who "love art and music" and are "up for an adventure" while not being "too fussy about having to use a venue's restroom."

In total there were 11 beds, all in windowless rooms, according to the city.

The warehouse's 2015 Google Map image even shows a woman outside with two suitcases.

City inspectors spoke with three guests who were staying in the building at the time of the raid — a Brazilian man, a Swiss woman and an Italian couple, city officials said. 

The Dec. 7 vacate order was first reported by the New York Post.

"This City will enforce our laws, including important fire safety codes, against unpermitted hotels and event spaces," Grace said. 

"The City seeks to support artist spaces, not dangerous spaces."

Aviv, which first opened in 2014, served as a performance space for an array of local and touring bands.

Up until a few months back it allowed smoking inside the venue. Then, in the fall, management announced they'd be closing at the end of October when their lease was up.

A representative of the space declined to comment when contacted for this story. He told inspectors that he'd expected a raid after the Ghost Ship fire and admitted to renting out Airbnb beds, city officials said.