‘Snake’ landlord linked to Pel Bay project

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An individual involved in the purchase and development of a 44-unit, seven-story building at 3030 Middletown Road is known to the Bronx tenants for all the wrong reasons. 

According to the Department of Building’s Buildings Information System website, Jacob Selechnik’s name is listed on a demolition permit granted by the city agency to 2419 LLC for the former offices for the Carpenter’s Union Local 2682, at the corner of Middletown Road and Hollywood Avenue. 

Prior to the Bronx courts forcing repairs to a number of his west Bronx firm’s more than 100 apartment buildings in 2004, published reports listed Selechnik, more commonly referred to as “Jake the Snake,” as one of the city’s ten worst landlords, having amassed more than 23,000 housing code violations.

In light of the projects’ dubious builder’s reputation for shoddy management, community leaders and Councilman Jimmy Vacca are looking into zoning resolutions to limit the scope of the project.

“We are monitoring this development every day,” Vacca said. “[2419 LLC] knows that I will be scrutinizing this development with a fine tooth comb.”

Members of the Waterbury-LaSalle Community Association were alarmed when they leanred the developer’s poor housing record.

“We are working closely with Councilman Vacca’s office,” said Mary Jane Musano, of the Waterbury-LaSalle Civic Association. “We are trying not to hold a demonstration at an office or home until we know what we are up against.”

When Selechnik turned over the day-to-day operations of his real estate empire in 2006 to his daughter Ellen Selechnik and son-in-law Michael Goldberg, he had more than 15,000 outstanding housing-code violations.

Goldberg is listed on permit applications at 3030 Middletown Road as the president of 2419 LLC, the primary developers of the Bronx site that has already had many in the community up in arms over its ambitious plans.

Calls placed to Goldberg’s Queens office were not returned as of press time.

Other principals include Sharon Hakman and Ron Katz, but Selechnik’s involvement has been the most alarming.

Selechnik reportedly told a New York Post reporter who was investigating a hazardous mold problem in one of his Bronx buildings, that the tenants were at fault because they “didn’t open the windows, and let the walls breathe.”

Meeka Bhattacharya, an organizer with the Northwest Bronx Community and Clergy Coalition, has been one of Selechnik’s main adversaries, fighting for tenants rights at many of the landlord’s properties, noting that attempts to work with him have been ignored. 

“The neighborhood is concerned about someone with [Selechnik’s] reputation starting a project in our already over-developed neighborho­od,” Andrew Chirico, a neighborhood resident, stated. “We may be picketing at the site or where the man lives.”

The building’s design calls for its main entrance on Hollywood Avenue, with professional office space abutting the Hollywood entrance, and retail space designed for Middletown Road.

While primarily two-bedroom apartments are planned, some one-bedroom units will also be available.

Each floor will contain 9,000 square feet and eight apartments, except for the 7th floor, which would have only four due to setbacks.

The plans were disapproved by the DOB on March 29, but were subsequently resubmitted. The site’s R7-1 zoning area allows for construction of apartment buildings. 

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