Tenants move out at 47 E. 3rd, and so does landlord — or not?

By Lincoln Anderson and Albert Amateau

Tenants at 47 E. Third St. who were vacating the building last Thursday on their deadline day to get out, were shocked to see that their landlord was also moving out — or so it seemed. Owner Alistair Economakis was at the building, and spoke to a reporter, but only through a closed door. He said the furniture would be put in storage and that he and his family — he and his wife have three small children — hope to continue to live at the building while it is renovated into their private residence, which housing activists deride as a “McMansion.”

Last Thursday, movers hauled away the furniture from the Economakises’ duplex and put it in storage. Owner Alistair Economakis said he and his family will continue to live in a separate triplex at the building at 47 E. Third St.

In a subsequent telephone interview, Economakis said he was only moving out the contents of a duplex he has on the fourth and fifth floors, which he used as his office and guest room. He explained that he and his family will continue to live in a separate triplex they have on the first through third floors, which is not physically connected to the duplex. Renovations could start as soon as this week, he said, and will start from the roof down — a new roof will be put on — which is why they were vacating their duplex on the upper floors. If the dust and construction get too bad, they might temporarily relocate to a building on Pacific St. in Brooklyn, where they lived before, he said.

Economakis had moved to take over the building under the owner-occupancy mass-eviction process, but tenants fought to stave off the eviction in court. Ultimately, the remaining tenants took cash settlements after realizing they would lose the legal battle. Asked why he didn’t buy a brownstone or townhouse somewhere if he wanted an entire building for a private family mansion, Economakis said 47 E. Third St. is the only building he and his wife own, and they wanted to live there. Although many suspect he and his wife wanted the tenants out simply to turn a greater profit with the building, he swore he and his family will live there for many years.

The Villager will have more on the interview with Economakis — which he called his longest with the media — next week.