Sushi Samba fined $500 K for illegal roof structure

Sushi Samba on Seventh Avenue South in the West Village shown with its new second story addition. Photo:Morgan Kunz.

Illegal roof space used for 5 years while case was pending. After receiving a Landmarks permit in 2000 to add a decorative wooden trellis to its roof garden, owners of Sushi Samba, a Greenwich Village restaurant made popular by Sex & The City, instead built a steel-reinforced trellis that it covered in canvas roofing, making its second floor usable year round. After receiving warning letters, Samba applied to Landmarks to legalize the roof; Landmarks denied and a court upheld its decision. During this three-year period, Samba’s second floor remained operational year-round.

Landmarks issued 17 NOVs and sued, seeking penalties and the removal of the illegal roof. With the suit pending, Samba applied to Landmarks to construct a permanent enclosed second floor. Landmarks approved in 2004, setting a January 31, 2007 deadline for completed construction. When Samba still had its illegal roof in place in the summer of 2006, Landmarks sought a final order and penalties. Judge Paul G. Feinman agreed, ordering Samba to dismantle the roof and pay penalties. Samba appealed the order and a few months later finally dismantled the roof.

In February 2007, Samba, the City and the owners of the building reached a settlement. Samba will pay the City $500,000 by 2010 with $100,000 due within three months of the order. Samba must build the enclosed second floor by May 1, 2007 with the assistance of the building’s owners.

City of New York v. Sushi Samba, Stipulation of Settlement, Feb. 1, 2007; LPC: 87 7th Avenue South (02-4204) (April 23, 2002); LPC: 87 7th Avenue South (COFA# 07-2298) (Sept. 26, 2006). CITYADMIN

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