Blackstone surveys tenants on concerns

Residents tell T&V safety, maintenance should be management’s priorities

Blackstone’s Nadeem Meghji, pictured with tenants at last month’s press conference announcing the sale of Stuyvesant Town, said the owner has been asked about students more than any other subject. (Photo by Sabina Mollot)

Blackstone’s Nadeem Meghji, pictured with tenants at last month’s press conference announcing the sale of Stuyvesant Town, said the owner has been asked about students more than any other subject. (Photo by Sabina Mollot)

By Sabina Mollot

Following Blackstone’s commitment to make Stuyvesant Town/Peter Cooper Village more conducive to families and longterm tenants, a rep for the new owner told Town & Village that steps were being taken to address tenants’ concerns about student apartments and noisy neighbors.

Blackstone doesn’t actually know how many students are living in ST/PCV altogether, since that isn’t information the owner collects, but a spokesperson for Blackstone noted there is currently a block lease to New York University for about 100 apartments and another 100 to other institutions (not all academic).

The company rep, Christine Anderson, added that management is aware there are many students beyond those units, but is still in the information gathering phase with regards to concerns about students and other issues.

This month, Blackstone began leaving surveys at tenants’ doors as well as the community center and some have been emailed.

In the meantime, the owner has plans to crack down on illegal subletters and monitor noise complaints.

Additionally, Blackstone will be continuing the practice of making sure that any temporary or pressurized walls are up to building and fire code.

Residents will still however, be able to have temporary walls and the owner is still marketing plenty of converted apartments that have walls already built.

About a third of the apartments in ST/PCV that are currently being marketed have already been converted to add an additional room, according to a recent article in The Real Deal. The story noted that over the past seven years, applications were filed to create partitions in 2,656 apartments. The presence of a pressurized wall typically raises the cost of rent by a few hundred dollars in ST/PCV.

Last week, after Blackstone sent out its surveys, Town & Village also questioned a few residents in Peter Cooper Village. Those interviewed were asked about what their top concerns were and also what they’d like to see the new landlord focus on first.

Surprisingly, students, a subject Blackstone rep Nadeem Meghi has said the new owner’s been asked about more than any other, weren’t mentioned. Instead, residents we spoke with had concerns about building maintenance and safety.

One woman, a senior talking with neighbors near First Avenue said, “I don’t know my neighbors. That’s what I’m most concerned about. You don’t know who they are. They’re leaving doors open downstairs.” She also said she was concerned about people who illegally rent out their apartments for short-term stays.

But the woman, who didn’t want her name used, added, “I love being here. I have no place to go so that’s why I don’t call and complain.”
Another senior, who said he’s in his 80s, said his only complaint was about maintenance. “The service used to be better,” he said. “Before maintenance used to have one man for two houses. Now there’s one man for three houses.”

Other than that, he’s been content and was relieved at the news that the recent sale to Blackstone preserves some affordability.

“I’ve been here many years and they gave us another 20 years. We’ll be 100 so we don’t care,” he said. But, he added, “I know some guys who are 60. They’re concerned. The landlord, he’s gotta make money. We can’t complain, but talk to a kid.”

Rosanne Yaman, a resident for over 50 years, said she thought the owner should focus on cleanliness.

“The carpets (in hallways) are cleaned very seldom,” she said. “The laundry room is always filthy.” The machines, despite being new, don’t always work either, she added. “From a maintenance perspective I hope they keep up with the vacuuming,” Yaman said. “A lot of money has been put into this place so I hope they keep up with beautification. Those are my top concerns.”

She also said while she didn’t know if such a thing was possible, doormen would be a nice addition. This, Yaman explained, is mainly a security concern. While she never had a problem in Peter Cooper, she was once mugged at knifepoint near Carnegie Hall.

“So I’m always aware. I’m always looking this way,” she said, while gesturing to a nearby entrance to the complex. She wouldn’t want doormen, though, if it meant rent had to go up.

A tenant who’s lived in the community for the past 18 months, Dan Weiss, also said maintenance was a concern of his, specifically carpets and elevators in his building.

“The place is so big; it’s a challenge,” he said. Weiss, who was walking two dogs at the time, added, “It would be nice to have a dog run. They closed off (the lawns with fences). I’d love to see them opened up, but a dog run would solve all the problems.”

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