Penson to Brooklyn Heights: Drop Dead

The current owners of 100 Clark Street, the Penson Companies, cannot be completely blamed for the years of neglect that caused this weekend’s demolition of its top two floors. However this “demolition by dereliction” in a landmarked neighborhood is positively criminal and it happened on this company’s watch. And it’s pretty certain that Penson has deep enough pockets to have done the right thing and preserved this structure. Clearly, Penson’s desire to rid 100 Clark of its renters is most likely at the heart of this unforgivable act of destruction in one of New York City’s best preserved neighborhoods. The Penson folks reportedly don’t have the greatest reputation when it comes to dealing with rent stabilzed tenants (ahem Candy Factory).

Maybe it’s time for the folks at the Penson Companies to hear from those who aren’t their tenants and/or direct recipients of its alleged harassment and neglect.

Rise up Brooklyn Heights residents and let Penson hear our outrage about their declaration of war upon our landmarked neighborhood.

Penson Staff directory

Penson Companies
275 Madison Avenue
New York, NY 10016
PHONE: (212) 529-4444
FAX: (212) 279-2434


We understand that Penson put 100 Clark Street up for sale before this disaster.  It’s also never to late to redeem yourselves — rebuild it as it was and show us you respect the aesthetics of Brooklyn Heights.

If anyone from the company would like to enlighten us on their side of this story please contact us webmaster AT .

Photo: McBrooklyn

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  • Baz

    Interesting… from the Brooklyn Eagle:
    The owners have been trying to sell 100 Clark, as part of a package of buildings.
    And: “The building at 100 Clark has Landmarks Preservation Commission approval to increase its total square footage by 1,950 square feet to 9,750 square feet.”
    So, I guess we’re looking, eventually, at some new condos, in a building 5 times as tall. That should be pretty ;)

  • thepeachtree

    I just saw a blip of this on the news. I’m really glad you guys did a write up on it.

  • anon

    First, thank you to the anonymous tipster who called 311 and the city for the emergency demolition. I walk past the building every day on my way to work and cringe at the fact that I could’ve been buried under a pile of bricks.

    Second, it is beyond shameful that this slumlord would let a landmarked building literally fall apart. On top of the cost of demolition, I hope the city slaps Penson with a huge fine to teach other landlords a lesson.

  • Joba Chamberlain

    Agreed that these cats are no good, but this is a foreseeable consequence of both landmarking and rent control. While both may be on balance good for the city, both provide disincentives for landlords to invest in their properties. Not that it excuses making buildings uninhabitable, and it seems that landmarks did let them increase square footage, but that’s still a far cry from actually having something built, and in the meantime, you have to wait out people paying below-market rents whom you cannot evict. I’m not defending Penson in any way shape or form, but just saying there are rules and regulations in place that make it so that people shouldn’t be surprised. And again, both landmarks and rent control have definite upsides, but the 1960s model of land use regulation could use some tweaking.

    Those buildings on pineapple may be a better example.

  • Andrew Porter

    Joba, I wish you knew what you were talking about before you engaged in your usual (under this name or any other pseudonym) “rent-control-is-the-source-of-all-our-housing-problems” rant. Rent control applies only to those people who have been in their apartments since before 1970, and only to buildings of a certain size. It is in fact possible to evict rent-controlled tenants. Hey, maybe we can’t find Osama because he’s hiding in a rent-controlled cave! Yeah, that’s it…

    By the way, how do you explain all those people who’ve bought buildings in this area and restored them, including putting the stoops back on? Obviously, if landmarking were the problem you say it is, this would not be happening.

  • Joba Chamberlain

    The trade-off exists at the margin. It’s not an absolute disincentive. But, a lot of people don’t want to acknowledge that there’s any trade-off between regulation and growth, or between regulation and fairness. Could there be more and better renovations with smarter planning, is the question. Housing vouchers do better than command-and-control in areas that have used them. And as far as the landmarking process goes, I think most people would agree there’s not adequate enforcement for people letting properties deteroirate, and the process to get renovations approved is cumbersome and often arbitrary, especially if someone wants to be a little bit creative architecturally. Giving landmarks less discretion but more ability to act within that discretion could make a lot of sense.

  • Baz

    Joba – – the thing is, that it’s only a few *select* property owners, that choose to let their investments *decay for profit.*
    Most others, do very well for themselves, by investing in the property, whether by improving it, and/or offering fair buyouts.
    It’s the mindset of a decayed mind.

  • http://brooklynPenson100Clarkstreet Chloe Rouillard

    You dont know How Edward I penson is a slamlord,over the years he made millions on poor peoples Buildings
    He now live in downtown brooklyn in a Single Home.go on front and protest

  • Jazz

    Was that in English?

  • another jen

    i am truely sorry for your lots.