By Sabina Mollot
Following years of Stuyvesant Town residents complaining of dorm-style apartments, or more specifically, young people packing into apartments with pressurized walls, Council Member Dan Garodnick asked Blackstone to address the issue before taking over the property.
Garodnick made the request via a letter to Jonathan Gray, the Blackstone Group’s Global Head of Real Estate, that was sent on Monday.
In it, he noted the “persistent and troubling issue for many tenants: overcapacity apartments.”
“The city’s Housing Maintenance Code restricts a single dwelling to ‘not more than three unrelated persons,’” Garodnick said. “It is clear the number of unrelated residents may exceed that number in many apartments throughout the complex.”
He went on to note that it’s often students from New York University and other schools moving into these apartments, and because they aren’t staying in the complex long term, tend to be the source of noise complaints from neighbors. “This behavior is especially common when there are more individuals in an apartment than the law allows,” Garodnick said. “As you take ownership of the property, I am hoping you will take immediate action to correct this situation — including additional steps to keep apartments from being blocked off as dorm rooms — throughout Stuyvesant Town and Peter Cooper Village.”
Garodnick told T&V he thought this issue “should be a top priority for Blackstone, to not only assess but also to develop a game plan to deal with it.”
While he said he didn’t know how many apartments currently have more than three unrelated tenants, he cited other factors, like the existing block leasing arrangements with institutions like NYU (which has 100 apartments) as creating “a dorm-like environment in the community.
“Which,” he added, “needs to change.”
In response to the letter, Christine Anderson, a spokesperson for Blackstone, said the company was “aware” of the concerns.
“We appreciate the letter from Councilman Garodnick and are aware of the issue he raises,” she said. “We are studying it and will have more to say after we take over ownership.”
Previously, Nadeem Meghji, Blackstone senior managing director, said student apartments were a subject brought up to him by tenants more than any other. When asked about dorm apartments at a public meeting in October, Meghji didn’t say the owner wouldn’t continue to rent to students, but said Blackstone wanted to keep the property conducive to long-term residents.
A spokesperson for CWCapital did not respond to a request for comment on over-capacity apartments.