‘Dixie Hotel’ still occupied three months after city sentencing

People are still living in the former Dixie Hotel in downtown Binghamton several weeks after city code enforcement determined the building was unsuitable for human habitation.

The five-story building on Henry Street sits opposite the main post office.

In an email, Deputy Mayor Megan Heiman said the property “was sentenced on February 14, 2022 for inoperative and/or missing smoke alarms and insect infestation.” A notice currently posted at the building is dated April 22, 2022.

A condemnation notice at the Dixie 2000 building on May 19, 2022. Photo: Bob Joseph/WNBF News

A condemnation notice at the Dixie 2000 building on May 19, 2022. (Photo: Bob Joseph/WNBF News)

Responding to a WNBF News inquiry, Heiman wrote that the property remained condemned the city did not know anyone was residing there. She said the city does not have the power to evict occupiers.

Heiman wrote, “Once a building is declared unsafe for habitation, it is posted and the owner has the responsibility to evict it.”

According to the sentencing notice, it is illegal for anyone to inhabit the building without written permission from the city’s director of code enforcement.

The Dixie 2000 office was unoccupied on May 18, 2022. Photo: Bob Joseph/WNBF News

The Dixie 2000 office was vacant on May 18, 2022. (Photo: Bob Joseph/WNBF News)

People still living in the building told a reporter that several unmarked police cars showed up at the scene on Wednesday morning as officers searched unsuccessfully for someone.

Residents said they were not told to leave. The office in the building was unoccupied.

One man estimated that at least 15 people still lived in the building. He said some came and went as they pleased because no one was watching the place.

Trash outside the Dixie 2000 building on May 18, 2022. Photo: Bob Joseph/WNBF News

Trash outside the Dixie 2000 building on May 18, 2022. (Photo: Bob Joseph/WNBF News)

Ownership records show the building is owned by Faisal Afify. A sign inside what is now branded “Dixie 2000” indicates that it is overseen by Pharoah Group.

A recorded message on the Pharoah Group’s phone line read: “We are no longer in business.” He said the company is “in the process of closing its doors permanently”.

Meanwhile, on Friday, people remained in the building and trash remained piled up on the property.

A real estate agent said in March that the Dixie and two nearby properties on Henry Street were being acquired by an upstate developer. She declined to identify the potential buyer.

There are approximately 50 rooms in the Dixie 2000 building. For the past several decades, this has been a place where people recently released from prison have lived.

A resident who has lived there for a few years said, “I don’t want to live here anymore.” But, he said, with $400 monthly rent from the Department of Social Services, he couldn’t find another place to stay.

Contact Bob Joseph, WNBF News reporter: bob@wnbf.com. For the latest story development news and updates, follow @BinghamtonNow on Twitter.

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Sandy A. Greer