Luxury Condos for Homeless?

Luxury Condos for Homeless? NEW YORK, NY - When Nik-ki Coles first saw a luxury condo building going up near her Crown Heights home, she took it as a sign the neighborhood had finally turned a corner.

When the building suddenly became a homeless shelter, she took it as a slap in the face. "It's gorgeous. We were under the impression that it was going to upgrade our community," said Coles, 37, who grew up in the neighborhood and works as an office manager for a Manhattan dentist.

"I work hard every day putting two girls through college," she added, saying she was awestruck by the high-end amenities when she took a tour last week.

"To walk over there and see that folks in a shelter are living better than we are, it's not fair."

Greg Brown, 43, an engineer who lives nearby, said he wanted to buy one of the fancy digs - and now he's worried the shelter will bring down the neighborhood.

"I don't begrudge anyone a place to live, but it's a bit much: Marble floors, brand-new kitchen, master suites," he said. "It's crazy. These people are living rent-free."

Local leaders are also upset and have started a petition drive to get the shelter closed.

They charge the shelter was sneaked in when they weren't looking.

"At least they could have rented it out to working people in the community. That would have been better than a shelter," said Burchell Marcus, 51, a neighborhood activist who is leading the charge to get it shut down.

"The people who go into a shelter are people who just don't care," he said.

Developer Avi Shriki defended his decision to turn over the building.

"It's nicer than it was before," he said, adding the spot used to house an auto body shop. "Of course, we wanted to sell. We would have made more money. Sometimes you have to go with the flow."

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