Web case study 1: SRO to Owner Occupancy


Project: 119th Street owner-occupied investments acquisition and renovation


Client: Private investor


Location: 119th Street and Lenox Avenue


The Mt. Morris area is well-known for its 19th century Dutch architecture and its proximity to Central Park, MorningsidePark, and Mount Morris Park. For the past 40 years, this brownstone was a distressed SRO but maintained all of its original detail. This project consisted of a total gut renovation of the building’s systems, but all architecture and historical details were preserved. The building became a three-family dwelling, with two luxury rentals. The rental units covered the mortgage, so the owner could profit from the third unit or live in a New York apartment at no cost.


Significant challenges for this project:

  1. Obtaining a Certificate of Non-Harassment from The New York City Housing Preservation and Development office in order to get a building permit.
  2. Changing the building’s legal usage from a Single Room Occupancy (SRO) to a three-family dwelling.


Unique features about this project:

  1. Maintaining ornamental plaster ceilings and details throughout.
  2. Refinishing original claw foot tubs from the late 1800’s.
  3. Building out the cellar as an additional living space with maximum ceiling height.
  4. Heating the tile floors, installing central air conditioning in all units, as well as stone counters, stainless appliances, and gas fireplaces.
  5. Creating multiple outside areas.
  6. Providing the owner/investor with the ability to live in a 2600-square foot apartment while the rental units cover mortgage and expenses.