Super Storm Sandy occurred over two and a half months ago. Since that time, we have made great progress in restoring services as quickly and safely as possible and we appreciate the support we have received from our residents.
Sandy caused historic devastation. It sent nine feet of storm water into many of our basements, particularly in Peter Cooper Village, destroying most of the electrical and building control systems that are housed in those basements. As a result, many residents in Peter Cooper Village are still impacted.
Repairing electrical systems and the damage in the basements is a complex and laborious process. It requires highly specialized equipment, parts and technical expertise that would not be readily available under normal circumstances and for which we are competing with thousands of buildings throughout the region that demand those same resources as a result of the storm. Restoration also requires meticulous coordination and planning as repairs need to happen in a carefully orchestrated sequence in order to minimize any additional disruptions.
We are confident that we have the best team of engineers, contractors and staff members in the City working each day to restore these systems as quickly and safely as possible. While we understand that some residents are frustrated, we ask for your continued patience and assure you that we are making progress each and every day.
Below you will find our best assessment of the current conditions on Property. As we receive more information, we will provide additional updates.
PCV Heat Distribution System: The automatic controls for the heat distribution in PCV were severely damaged and are not yet fully restored. As a result, some residents are receiving more heat than they would prefer at times in their apartments. As an interim measure we have additional engineers onsite who manually open and close valves 24 hours a day to evenly distribute heat. We have already begun repairs on the system and have completed about 60% of the work. We are waiting on specialized replacement parts in order to finish the repairs. These parts were ordered in November but have not yet arrived. We expect to receive the parts within the next two weeks and then complete repairs by mid-February.
Elevators: Storm water damaged elevator cabs in each of 7 PCR, 8 PCR and 440 East 23rd. The necessary repair parts arrived in early January and the repairs are in progress. OTIS, a major NYC elevator repair company, is on site daily completing the repairs. All cabs are expected to be operational by the middle of February.
Intercoms & Key Card Access: Several buildings remain without intercoms or key card access. This system relied upon equipment located in the basements and connected to underground wiring, all of which was submerged in the flood. Most of the equipment and system infrastructure was damaged beyond repair. After reviewing the damage with third party experts, we have determined the quickest path to restoration is to install a new system. This new system will be improved so that it is more resilient and better able to withstand storms and flooding in the future. In the event that future storms do impact the new system, recovery of intercoms will be quicker as well. We anticipate the new system will be fully installed and operational within eight to ten weeks.
- Buildings Without Key Card Access – Keys have been provided to all residents without keycard access. These buildings remain fully secure and accessible to building residents. Any resident who does not have a key or needs another key should contact Resident Services. We will continue to have professional third party security guards on site to restrict basement access, but guards are not controlling access to residential lobbies.
- Buildings Without Intercoms – In buildings with limited or no intercoms, residents should provide their phone numbers to visitors or delivery persons and will need to manually permit guest access to the buildings. The third party security guards are not authorized to permit access to visitors or delivery personnel. Unfortunately, in order to ensure the safety and security of our residents, we are unable to make other accommodations.
Basement Restoration: Damage to the basements was extensive. As a result, we have to totally re-build all 15 impacted basements. That includes removing damaged materials, working with architects and consultants, procuring all the building materials, restoring electrical and building systems and constructing the space. We are currently finishing up the removal of materials that were damaged in the flood. At this time, our best estimate is that all basements will be fully restored and operational by September. Some basements will be ready for use sooner and we will re-open basements as they are completed. Tenants should anticipate being without laundry rooms, bike rooms, NTT Storage rooms and recycling rooms until the basements are re-opened. However, we are working to find alternatives that would allow us to restore access to some of these facilities before the final completion of the basements. As more information becomes available, we will share it with you.
The most complex component of the basement work is the restoration of the electrical infrastructure which was badly damaged. Immediately following the storm PCVST engineers, working in conjunction with some of the City’s top electrical engineering firms, were able to perform temporary repairs to allow the system to function and provide power to our buildings. However, the repairs were temporary and we must replace the basement-level infrastructure in each of the impacted buildings.
The building electrical systems are powered by a complex and customized piece of equipment. We have contracted with a factory to fabricate the necessary equipment for all impacted buildings as it needs to be custom made. We expect to receive the first piece of equipment in mid-February. As we receive the new equipment, we will replace it in each impacted building. Replacement will take roughly three weeks per building, during which time buildings will be run off of a temporary power feed. Residents will not notice any impact while their buildings are running off of the temporary power. However, during the transfer to temporary power and subsequently back to permanent power, electricity will be disrupted for several hours. We will provide ample notice to allow our residents to plan accordingly.
Laundry Rooms: Re-opening the laundry rooms remains a top priority. We are hopeful that we can provide access to laundry rooms before basements are fully complete and are considering multiple strategies to accomplish this goal. However, residents should plan for the possibility they will be without laundry rooms until basement restoration is complete in September.
We are also selecting new machines for the destroyed rooms and are testing a few models in Stuyvesant Town rooms before we finalize the order. We hope that residents in ST provide feedback about these new machines so that we can make the best choice for our residents. Additionally, we continue to make the extra large laundry room in 2PCR available to all residents in impacted buildings.
Recycling: Since residents and porters are unable to access the destroyed basements, recycling is being collected in large receptacles outside of the buildings’ front entrances. We understand that residents may find this unsightly but it is the best option given the circumstances. Fire safety regulations prevent us from providing receptacles on each floor. We have increased the pick-up frequency for PC recycling to minimize any disruption. As soon as basement access is restored, regular recycling will resume.
Playground 1 and 2: PC Playgrounds 1 and 2 have been closed since the storm. Our engineers fully inspected and cleaned the facility and both playgrounds have been reopened.
Rent Abatement: If you have not yet taken advantage of the Sandy Rent Abatement with your January payment and have not contacted us, the credit remains on your account. You may take advantage of the abatement in February by paying the amount due on your bill which includes the normal monthly rent reduced by the Sandy Abatement Credit. If you choose not to take advantage of the Sandy Rent Abatement, please pay the full monthly rent again in February and we will remove the credit from your account going forward. The number of days for the abatement was calculated and confirmed based on internal service records, Con Edison and other third parties who certified the restoration of the respective services. No other abatements are being provided. The number of days for each building can be found at pcvst.com.
This credit was provided as a complete settlement of all Sandy-related claims. Residents who believe they have an additional legitimate claim should pay their full rent, make us aware of the claim and we will seek to resolve it expeditiously. If we disagree with the claim’s validity, residents may file the claim with the appropriate authorities.
If residents have additional questions about the abatement, they should contact (212) 253-3670. Please remember to leave your name and a phone number where you can be reached.