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News Articles

April 12, 2013

The Treasure Trove on the Ground Floor

"Now that the 80-20 rules have been relaxed," said Margaret D.Baisley, a real estate lawyer with her own practice in SoHo, "those entities who formed these master leases want to take them back, but other investors have come to own them and they don't want to change the scheme, to the detriment of the building..."

July 6, 2012

Push to Count SoHo Artists Stirs Debate

The committee said it has raised $30,000 to conduct a survey to determine how many artists certified by the city still live in SoHo and how many retail spaces are being occupied illegally. Margaret Baisley, an attorney who is leading the committee, is in discussions with Baruch College's Steven L. Newman Real Estate Institute, to begin conducting the survey later this month...

November 6, 2011

Wealth, Beauty and Their Many Lovers

The SoHo NoHo Action Committee, a group founded by Ms. Baisley, met recently with planning officials to argue for a rezoning to let nonartists live legally in their lofts. The group plans to gather data supporting its contention that the number of artists has dwindled. “The city fathers need to recognize that the character of SoHo has changed substantially and that the zoning needs to change to fit it,” Ms. Baisley said...

June 9-15, 2011

Group pushes to rezone Soho

It was standing room only at a June 7 Soho rezoning meeting, where some area residents advocated for changing the enclave’s existing zoning to accommodate nonartist residents and retail storeowners, and others aired their concerns about such a change...

June 8, 2011

Virtual in the City: SoHo AIRpocalypse

The Scene: A balmy Tuesday night, 6:29 p.m. to be exact. When I first walked into the stuffy auditorium, a long table greeted me where I could sign petitions to repeal the AIR Regulations. I then looked up to the front of the room and made contact with the SoHo/NoHo Action Committee panel facing the sea of chairs already filled to capacity; it is standing room only. Two of the panelists were Margaret Baisley (Real Estate Attorney) and Susan Meisel (Real Estate Broker). And if you wanted to speak or ask a question, you signed up and got your turn at the microphone. But first some words from the committee. I sat down as Margaret Baisley stood up to address the crowd...

June 8, 2011

Loft Overhaul Urged in SoHo

During the 1960s, artists illegally converted many of the unused industrial spaces in SoHo into live-work lofts. The city eventually legalized the conversions on the condition that there be at least one city-certified artist living in each loft. Dozens of buildings in SoHo and NoHo are covered under this regulation...

June 7, 2011

Art attack pains SoHo realty sellers

Real-estate deals in SoHo and NoHo could come to a standstill unless a decades-old -- but only recently enforced -- city law is overturned, say worried residents. The Artists-in-Residence law says that about 200 buildings that were converted from commercial to residential use are only for "artists" as defined by the city's Department of Cultural Affairs...

June 1, 2011

Trying to rezone Soho, from the ground up

A group of Soho residents have become increasingly fed up with the neighborhood’s zoning laws, which force some to live illegally and prevent others from selling and refinancing their apartments...

April 6, 2011

Another look at Soho's A-I-R requirements

In the early 60’s, artists populated SoHo’s manufacturing district illegally. Attorney Margaret D. Baisley remembers when the area was largely deserted and unpoliced: “You had to step over the homeless who slept aside piles of rubble and scraps of manufacturing cloth. The artists were manufacturers of sorts,” she observes, “because they manufactured art. When they came into the area, they took huge risks moving into buildings with rickety manual elevators, no fire protection, no proper venting, no garbage pickup, limited hot water and no place to buy a cup of coffee...

March 10-16, 2011

Soho residents wrangle over BID

Margaret Baisley, a Soho-based real estate attorney who opposes the artist-certification requirement, plans to set up an organization in support of a zoning change, which she and other advocates are discussing with city officials. The zoning they’re advocating would replace joint-live-work quarters for artists with ordinary apartment dwellings available to any type of resident...

January 26, 2011

Non-artist residents feel like 'criminals’ in Soho

Nevertheless, many residents violate the rules, and occupy their lofts illegally, according to various sources. Baisley said only about 20 to 30 of her Soho clients per year make the effort to comply with the zoning rules. About half of them get approved, while the other half get denied. Several others sell their lofts rather than bother hunting down artist tenants to occupy them...

July 9, 2007

Loft Clauses

It’s a little-known fact that to live in a loft in most Soho buildings, at least one loft resident has to be certified by the city as an artist. In typical New York fashion, the vetting process is byzantine, requiring individuals to be engaged in the “fine arts”; to demonstrate a “serious, consistent commitment” to their art; and need a large space. It’s notoriously fickle, says lawyer Margaret Baisley, who represents a number of buildings dealing with AIR issues. Choreographers and filmmakers for instance, get a pass, but dancers and actors and musicians do not...

June 8, 2003

In a Changed SoHo, Legal Pentimento

WHEN the city moved decades ago to upgrade SoHo and NoHo from decaying manufacturing areas and to legitimize the covert conversion of lofts there into working and living quarters for artists, one requirement was that prospective residents must be artists and certified as such by a specially appointed board...

October 14, 2003

Ruling favors art tenant in Soho eviction dispute

A Soho family won its fight against eviction last month when a judge enforced an often-overlooked city zoning law stating that only working artists can legally occupy designated live-work quarters in Soho and Noho...

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