Ashley Khan has been hustling 979 Willoughby Avenue as a sober house for the past six months since the building’s owner, Benjamin Glasser, struggled to sell the condominium units for market rate.
Khan withstood heavy pressure from elected officials, Willoughby Avenue-area homeowners, and members of Community Board Four who were none too keen about having a condominium converted into a three-quarter house less than a block from two day-care centers and a senior home run by RBSCC, the community organization founded by Lopez.
On June 4, the city sent inspectors to examine the building following a 311 complaint that the condominium was being "used as a hotel." After a confrontation with Khan, inspectors referred the matter to the Mayor’s Office of Special Enforcement.
"After they sent the Department of Buildings, and the wrath of [Robert] Scarano [the building's architect], I said ‘Fuck it’, I stopped everything," said Khan. "I still have people there, protected by the Disabilities Act. I threw some of them out. I’m getting rid of them slowly. When they have a violation, I evict them. The community doesn’t want them there, so why keep them there?"
The owner is now on Plan D, which is to clear out tenants recovering from drug and alcohol addiction and soon rent the rooms out to "yuppies" at market rate.
"It’s becoming renting residential apartments," said developer Glasser. "It no longer will house any program whatsoever. After I was harassed by the neighborhood, followed around by neighborhood thugs, and my life threatened, I figured it was not a good idea to help people."