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Artists Demand Cuomo Take Up Loft Law Reform During Special Session

By Gwynne Hogan | June 27, 2017 7:38pm
 Shige Moriya and Ximena Garnica may lose their loft and dance studio of more than 20 years on Grand Street if changes in the Loft Law aren't passed.
Shige Moriya and Ximena Garnica may lose their loft and dance studio of more than 20 years on Grand Street if changes in the Loft Law aren't passed.
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DNAinfo/Gwynne Hogan

WILLIAMSBURG — North Brooklyn artists at risk of losing their homes because of loopholes in the Loft Law are calling on Governor Andrew Cuomo to take up the issue at Wednesday's emergency legislative session in Albany.

Arthur Purvis, a Williamsburg loft tenant and campaigner for reforms to the law, who has spent two weeks lobbying legislators in the state capitol with other Brooklyn loft tenants, is pushing to open the law to protect more tenants.

"People are going to get evicted," he said. "That's the emergency."

The governor called for an extension to the state legislative session to deal with a host of unresolved business, including mayoral control of schools and renaming the Tappan Zee Bridge after his late father,  Gov. Mario Cuomo.

Purvis points to the case of two artists Shige Moriya and Ximena Garnica who've lived in their loft, dance studio and arts space for more than twenty years and may not receive protection under the law because they have no windows on a structural wall, although they do have windows on a wall that faces the street.

The Loft Board, which recommended that they not get coverage because of the window issue, has postponed a vote on their case while issues shake out in Albany.

A bill, which was introduced into the State Assembly and the Senate on June 13 and passed the Assembly on Wednesday would extend the deadline to apply for Loft Coverage past June 15 when it expired and would broaden those who qualify for Loft Law coverage, which puts restrictions on rent increases and staves off evictions. The expanded law would include basement apartments and those without external windows.

The bill would also do a way with a list of industrial uses like carpentrywoodworking, black smith shops, glass cutting and motorcycle repair shops, that make loft residents ineligible for coverage if their lofts are in the same building.

A spokesman for Cuomo didn't return a request for comment immediately.