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Fair,56°
Monday, September 15, 2014
661 W. Broadway a sore spot for residents
With approval of condo project, tenants say they don’t know where to go
Courtesy Naomi Feller
Many say that the existing apartment building has become known for drug deals and other crime, though some tenants and residents say that criminal activity seems to have been reduced in recent months.

Bob Dominico, 56, has lived in a small studio apartment at 661 W. Broadway for six years. Dominico said he does not know where he will go when his lease expires on Nov. 1. “I may have to move out of state because I can’t afford to live here,” he said.

About half of the tenants of the 25-unit apartment complex, which is slated to be demolished next year to make way for a high-rise condominium project, receive Section 8 assistance because of their low incomes. Dominico — a lifelong Long Beach resident who said he served in the military during Vietnam — is one of them, and said that many are worried that they will be displaced.

“They’re supposed to knock it down after the last person’s lease is up,” he said, adding that his rent is $1,150 per month.

The property was purchased by developer David Shokrian in 2006. Many residents say that the complex has become known for criminal activity, and that police regularly respond to incidents at the building.

“The zoning board members were sensitive to the issues at 661 West Broadway,” said one city official who declined to be identified. “… [The board] did feel that that building was dangerous — it was rundown, [Shokrian] wasn’t putting any money into it and there were police incidents there.”

Some residents contend that Shokrian neglected the building and allowed it to fall into disrepair, which led to an increase in crime. “He has allowed a very nice garden [apartment] area to become a dilapidated lot,” Grand Boulevard resident Patty Finn told the board in July. “Since we have resided there the people have changed … as a result the building has become dangerous. The past few years we have been in fear because of this unscrupulous landlord.”

Other residents said that criminal activity has declined over the past year or so due to stepped-up police enforcement.

Dominico said that many tenants are hardworking people with families. “We have people here who work for Nassau County,” he said. “They’re concerned about where they’re going to go.”

Dominico said he has had to deal with rodents, bed bugs and plumbing issues in the building. “They won’t do anything to fix the place,” he said. “They’re letting everything go. It’s been declining for the last three or four years.”

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