The owners of the Arcade, Greenport Village’s iconic Front Street department store, are due in court this week to face a slew of charges that include renting illegal apartments above the store.
The village has charged 2012 Front Street LLC, the corporation that owns the property, and Arcade co-owner David Akcay with 26 counts of various building and fire code violations, court records show.
The Arcade was shut down May 1 after village code enforcement officer Greg Morris and building inspector Eileen Wingate obtained a court order and searched the building with Southold Town fire inspector Bob Fischer and officers from the Southold Town Police Department.
The charges, which were issued May 6, include making illegal alterations that were not in compliance with building code and illegally renting out units for residential use in a building that’s zoned for only commercial, retail and storage uses, according to village documents.
The property owners charged tenants $1,500 per month, court records show. When asked how many apartments were being rented out, village administrator Paul Pallas declined comment because it’s an open investigation.
Mr. Akcay also declined comment. He is scheduled to appear in Southold Town Justice Court Friday, May 26.
Investigators described the apartments as “unfit for human occupancy” and found they were overcrowded and lacked proper windows, ventilation and interior lighting, court records show. In addition, investigators found no hallway lights and “makeshift lighting using extension cords.”
The Arcade opened in 1928 on Front Street, where the Levine family ran it for more than 50 years.
Bob Paquette of East Marion, who had owned the Arcade for about 15 years, said he decided to sell the business in 2012 because he felt he could no longer compete against big box stores. He closed the Arcade in 2010 and reopened a year later as One-Eyed Bob’s Clearance Center & Discount Emporium, but ultimately sold it to Mr. Akcay the following year.