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NEW YORK CITY-The city’s Loft Board, which oversees the conversion of loft buildings from commercial to residential use, has been folded into the Department of Buildings, the Bloomberg administration announced on Friday. Mayor Michael Bloomberg made the change via an executive order.

The transfer is intended to streamline communication among code enforcement agencies, including the Fire Department and the Department of Housing Preservation and Development, and to facilitate compliance with the law by the remaining 300 buildings under the Loft Board’s jurisdiction, according to a release. Bloomberg says in a statement that the order “provides the board with more resources to ensure the remaining properties that do not meet code standards are renovated to meet those standards.”

Created in 1982 as a result of the state Legislature’s enactment of a law to establish a framework for converting lofts, the Loft Board is chiefly responsible for working with owners and tenants of loft buildings on making renovations to comply with code provisions and obtain residential certificates of occupancy. Once compliance is reached and certificates of occupancy are issued, the buildings move out of the board’s jurisdiction. Since 2005, the Bloomberg administration has increased staffing levels, and the number of loft buildings in the process of being legalized under the Loft Board’s jurisdiction has been significantly reduced, according to a release.

The executive order also changes the board’s composition. Since 1982, the board’s membership has included a chairperson, a member representing loft owners, a member representing loft residential tenants, a member representing loft manufacturing interests, a DOB representative and four members representing the public. Under the new structure, the DOB commissioner–currently Robert Limandri–will serve ex officio as the board’s chair and the commissioner of the Fire Department will serve ex officio as a member of the board. The board will include one member representing loft manufacturing interests, one member representing the real estate industry and one member representing loft residential tenants, and four members of the Board representing the public. The members of the board are appointed by the mayor and serve for a term of three years.

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