Council Member Levine and Legal Aid Society Partner to Help Local Minority-Owned Small Businesses Facing Eviction

Stronger Protections for Small Businesses Called for After Washington Heights Businesses Suddenly Issued Eviction Notices

 June 10

CONTACT: Tyrone Stevens 917-842-5748 / [email protected]

New York -- On Wednesday, City Council Member Mark Levine, attorneys from The Legal Aid Society, and small businesses from uptown Manhattan gathered to announce collaborative efforts to provide legal assistance through The Legal Aid Society’s Community Development Project to six businesses facing eviction. The landlord, Coltown Properties, is preparing to evict a large group of Latino-owned businesses in Washington Heights.

“Collectively, the businesses on this block have been in operation for over 80 years. At a time when unemployment rates in our neighborhood are disproportionately high, these businesses are vital to the economic livelihood of this area.  In addition, the services they provide go beyond economic prosperity: these small businesses are an integral part of the neighborhood’s safety and well-being. I’m proud to partner with The Legal Aid Society’s Community Development Project to support local small businesses and help preserve the fabulous diversity of our communities,” said Council Member Mark Levine.

Since March, Council Member Levine’s office, attorneys at The Legal Aid Society and six area businesses, have collaborated to negotiate terms that would allow the affected businesses to transition out of their present locations. The Legal Aid Society’s Community Development Project (CDP) and pro bono attorneys from one of NYC’s premier private law firms provided legal representation to the businesses when the parties involved reached an impasse. Legal Aid staff helped the businesses reach favorable terms to offer them financial incentive and additional time to find a new location.

In addition to highlighting coordinated efforts between his office and small business advocacy groups in the area, Council Member Levine described the need for stronger protections for small businesses against the situation experienced by the commercial tenants in his district. The tenants were paying rent without a lease after having been repeatedly refused one, and then were suddenly issued eviction notices three months ago. Coltown Properties is legally required to provide 30 days notice of an eviction.

Among the businesses targeted for eviction were La Cancha, Yamasa Barbershop, Sebastian Income Tax Multi Services, and Dinoliza Novedades. Another business, Punta Cana Restaurant, remains in litigation with the landlord. The restaurant has been in the community for over 30 years and their struggle is mirrored by many decades-old establishments in New York City.


Sign up for our mailing list!

Report a Problem Participatory Budgeting Events