Stuy Town management hires new COO and CFO

StuyTown Property Services’ new COO Kelly Vohs, CFO Andreas Spitzer and Rick Hayduk, CEO (Photo by Sabina Mollot)

By Sabina Mollot

Stuyvesant Town Property Services, the now year-old subsidiary of Blackstone created for the management of Stuyvesant Town and Peter Cooper, has recently completed a round of hires, including two in upper management.

One is new chief financial officer Andreas Spitzer, who previously served as CFO of the American Farmland Company, which he helped sell. He also worked for three years at retail REIT Equity One and four years at the New York City Housing Authority, where he served as CFO. He also spent 10 years as a mergers and acquisitions banker.

Spitzer has spent the last six months since getting hired by SPS conducting internal audits, which hadn’t been done on the property in over seven years.

The other hire, who started last week, is chief operating officer Kelly Vohs. Like SPS chief executive officer Rick Hayduk, Vohs has worked extensively in the hotel and resort industry. He is also an Army veteran who served in Iraq.

Continue reading

Leases indicate plan to submeter, but management said language is nothing new

Susan Steinberg

ST-PCV Tenants Association President Susan Steinberg

By Sabina Mollot

Language in leases signed by Stuyvesant Town residents indicates that the owner has plans to submeter Stuyvesant Town/Peter Cooper Village, which would make individual tenants responsible for paying for the electricity they use.

However, according to StuyTown Property Services, there is no plan to submeter the property any time soon.

The issue came up this week after a resident pointed out the language on Facebook and wondered if this meant Blackstone intended for file an application with the Public Service Commission (PSC) to have the property submetered.

In response, a property spokesperson, Marynia Kruk, told us, “The Facebook post (on the ST-PCV Tenants Association’s page) is accurate in that our current lease does have a clause about submetering or direct metering. However, this is not new language. New leases have contained the same language since 2009. Ownership has no current plan for submetering.”

Meanwhile, if Blackstone does eventually decide to submeter, it would be the second attempt by a Stuy Town owner to pass on the costs to renters. Tishman Speyer had planned to do this but then abruptly dropped the project upon losing the Roberts v. Tishman Speyer lawsuit at the Appellate Court level.

Continue reading

TA says: More boots on the ground needed, better interior lighting

Susan Steinberg

ST-PCV Tenants Association President Susan Steinberg (Photo by Sabina Mollot)

Following StuyTown Property Services announcing new efforts to make the complex safer, Susan Steinberg, president of the ST-PCV Tenants Association, responded with the TA’s own view, which is that equipment is nice, but live patrols are better. The TA also recommended more interior lighting. Read on for the association’s statements.

In the wake of the sexual attack on a young Stuy Town resident in her building vestibule in the early morning of February 19, The Stuyvesant Town-Peter Cooper Village Tenants Association is once again speaking up for two vital safety measures we have been requesting for years: More foot patrols, especially at night, and far better lighting of interior paths.

General Manager Rick Hayduk’s follow-up communication to residents was a timely reminder of the emergency equipment already available: blue-lighted stanchions throughout the community, “security” buttons on lobby intercoms, the manned central video security screen system, and foot and car patrols 24/7.

Addressing future improvements, he cited plans to work with security consultants to identify where “new and additional equipment can be placed to enhance coverage.”

We at the TA insist that far more important than additional electronic wonders is a seriously enlarged force of on-foot public safety personnel and more small vehicles always on the move. It was just such a band of visible, on-foot and on-wheels security personnel constantly patrolling the property and checking the stairwells of each building every day that once made this community the lowest crime area in the city.

Continue reading

StuyTown to offer self-defense classes after attempted rape

Stuyvesant Town (photo by Sabina Mollot)

Stuyvesant Town (photo by Sabina Mollot)

By Maria Rocha-Buschel

StuyTown Property Services will be offering self-defense courses to residents in the wake of the sexual assault in Stuyvesant Town early last Sunday morning, and the management has installed new lighting along the 14th Street corridor. General Manager Rick Hayduk made the announcements in an emailed newsletter to residents on Thursday night.

In addition to new lighting, Hayduk noted that perimeter lighting, particular along Avenue C, as well as interior lighting, is currently being reviewed. SPS will also be working with security consultants to identify areas where new and additional equipment should be placed, including improvements to the configuration of the surveillance system, since the assault on Sunday was not fully visible to the property’s security cameras.

Continue reading

What ST/PCV lottery winners can expect in their apartments

The renovated units have a dishwasher and light wood finishes on the cabinets. (Photos by Sabina Mollot)

The renovated units have a dishwasher and light wood finishes on the cabinets. (Photos by Sabina Mollot)

By Sabina Mollot

The apartments allocated as “affordable” in Stuyvesant Town and Peter Cooper Village are, as Blackstone, has promised, renovated, which would be expected given the only somewhat reduced price.
However, unlike market units, they can’t be toured by prospective renters until they’re contacted because an apartment has become available. Would-be tenants won’t encounter any surprises though since all the available one and two-bedroom units are similar in layout and in the fixtures.

What’s to be expected is an included air conditioner in the living room window and in each bedroom, though like all other tenants, they’ll be paying extra surcharges to keep cool. The ACs will be either GE or Friedrich. At this time, monthly surcharges are $26.65 per unit, a rate set by the Division of Housing and Community Renewal for all tenants.

Kitchens will come with a dishwasher, which like the other kitchen appliances like the fridge and microwave, are manufactured by GE.

All kitchen cabinets have wood finish with white appliances and granite or Corian surface countertops.

All apartments have the classic blond wood parquet floor that will ultimately have to be 80 percent covered.

Bathrooms are white-tiled.

All apartments will have at least four closets, including a linen closet, though they won’t necessarily all be laid out the same way.

Additionally, like all other residents, lottery winners will have their utility fees included in their rents, which are determined by area median income.

Continue reading

ST composting effort keeps 10,000 lbs. of garbage out of landfill each week

Rei Moya, the director of environmental services at Stuyvesant Town with Rick Hayduk, general manager (Photo by Sabina Mollot)

Rei Moya, the director of environmental services at Stuyvesant Town with Rick Hayduk, general manager (Photo by Sabina Mollot)

By Sabina Mollot

Last summer, Rick Hayduk, the general manager of Stuyvesant Town, announced that the new owner was looking for ways to reduce the 80-acre property’s carbon footprint. This was mentioned after a decision was made not to bring back the heated sports tent that had been in the complex for two seasons. At the time, Hayduk said it wouldn’t be returning due to all the energy it took to keep the nearly three-story tent a comfortable temperature during the winter months, as well as noise complaints from neighbors.

Since then, Blackstone and StuyTown Property Services have made good on their commitment to undertake some environmentally-friendly initiatives. One in October was the installation of a weather monitor to be used by the property’s landscapers to prevent the grounds from getting over-watered. In June, the owner planted 30 new trees around the complex to replace those that had died over time due to disease or pollution.

Continue reading

ST-PCV Tenants Association to fight video intercom MCI

By Sabina Mollot

The Stuyvesant Town-Peter Cooper Village Tenants Association is seeking neighbors’ help in an effort to challenge the recently announced video intercom MCI.

The major capital improvement rent increase, if approved, will impact the following Peter Cooper Village buildings: 420 and 440 East 23rd Street, 350, 360, 360 and 390 First Avenue, 2 and 3 Peter Cooper Road and 431 and 441 East 20th Street.

Susan Steinberg

ST-PCV Tenants Association President Susan Steinberg (Photo by Sabina Mollot)

Susan Steinberg, president of the Tenants Association, said this particular MCI, one of four on the horizon, is expected to cost tenants $2.13-$2.50 per room per month.

At a meeting last month, Steinberg said the four MCIs would be challenged for different reasons, including issues with paperwork.

Continue reading

Local pols, Rick Hayduk will speak at Oct. 22 ST-PCV Tenants Association meeting

ST/PCV General Manager Rick Hayduk

ST/PCV General Manager Rick Hayduk

The Stuyvesant Town-Peter Cooper Village Tenants Association will hold an open tenants meeting on Saturday, October 22, at 1 p.m. in the auditorium of IS 104, 20th Street between First and Second Avenues.Speakers will include: President of the ST-PCV Tenants Association Susan Steinberg, City Council Member Dan Garodnick, Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney, State Senator Brad Hoylman, Assembly Member Brian Kavanagh, NYC Comptroller Scott Stringer, Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer and Rick Hayduk, CEO/General Manager of StuyTown Property Services. The general theme will be the state of the community. Each speaker will briefly address issues as they directly relate to and affect Stuyvesant Town-Peter Cooper Village, from the L train shutdown to the telephone scams targeting the community, from MCIs to rent-freeze month. An open-mic question-and-answer period will follow.

“Tenants will want to hear from our own elected representatives as to what they have been doing on our behalf,” said Steinberg. “We also plan to provide a summary of TA activities during the year. This is an important meeting, and we hope to see a packed auditorium.”

Four new MCIs pending for ST/PCV

Blackstone representative Nadeem Meghji, pictured at a meeting last October, tells ST-PCV tenants the owner will not use MCIs as a tool to inflate rents. (Photo by Sabina Mollot)

Blackstone representative Nadeem Meghji, pictured at a meeting last October, tells ST-PCV tenants the owner will not use MCIs as a tool to inflate rents. (Photo by Sabina Mollot)

Requests are for facade waterproofing, water heaters, video intercoms and ADA ramps, but Blackstone says it will walk away from $10M in potential fees

By Sabina Mollot

Blackstone’s management company for Stuyvesant Town, StuyTown Property Services, announced on Wednesday that it will be filing for four MCIs for work done in the complex starting two years ago.

The MCI (major capital improvement) projects are for: building façade waterproofing (which the owner said was mandated by law), upgrading the hot water heaters, video intercoms for Peter Cooper Village buildings and the installation of ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) compliant ramps.

If approved, the cost that would be passed onto residents in the form of a permanent rent increase that a spokesperson for SPS expects will be on average around $8 per month per apartment. While applications don’t guarantee an MCI will be approved, based on community history, the state housing agency, the Division of Housing and Community Renewal, has never met an MCI it didn’t like.

MCIs will be filed for 54 building addresses, a few with multiple filings, according to SPS spokesperson Paula Chirhart. The intercom MCI will be for all Peter Cooper buildings, while the ADA ramp one will be for just two buildings, 400-410 East 20th Street and 430-440 East 20th Street, with a shared ramp at each building. As for the intercoms, the new system will have its own wiring instead of using tenants’ land lines. The water heaters are being replaced, because, according to Chirhart, at this point, the cost of repairing them would be higher than buying new. The waterproofing work is the result of inspections which take place every five years, with work being done if the inspection shows it’s necessary. That work is being done at 4, 5, 6, 7 and 8 Peter Cooper Road, 511 and 531 East 20th Street and 510 and 530 East 23rd Street.

Continue reading

Carb Tease: Ess-a-Bagel says re-opening is next week

Sept8 Ess-A-Bagel bagels

Toasty (not toasted) Ess-a-Bagels (Photo by Danny Chin)

By Sabina Mollot

On Thursday, Ess-a-Bagel announced via Facebook that the long delayed store opening in Stuyvesant Town would be some time early next week.

“Will post the exact date over the weekend. Happy Labor Day and look forward to seeing you all next week!!” read a post.

Owner David Wilpon didn’t return a call for comment but said previously that the delay in opening had to do with numerous permits.

Ess-a-Bagel at 324 First Avenue was originally supposed to open in February, nearly a year after the company lost its lease across the street to Tal Bagels.

Since then three permits have been approved by the city for work related to the new store’s renovation, for signage, sprinklers and floors.

By Wednesday, Town & Village reader Danny Chin alerted us that good news was in the air.

“I was lucky enough to get a photo of the 1st test batch of bagels from the new Ess-a-Bagel,” he said. “They were testing out their new oven as I was walking by this afternoon. The bagel was nicely blistered and crispy.”

Grounds get more dog friendly

The addition of more mulched areas as well as fences in ST/PCV is aimed at protecting the grass from dog waste.  This is part of an ongoing landscape renovation. (Photo by Sabina Mollot)

The addition of more mulched areas as well as fences in ST/PCV is aimed at protecting the grass from dog waste. This is part of an ongoing landscape renovation. (Photo by Sabina Mollot)

By Sabina Mollot

It’s springtime following a particularly rough winter that managed to be both unseasonably warm as well as frigid, and in Stuyvesant Town/Peter Cooper Village that means just one thing: time for a landscape renovation.

Chuck Hartsell, the property’s director of horticulture and landscape, said this year’s damage wasn’t as extreme as in some recent years due to some precautionary work and current projects include adding 21 shade trees and protecting plants from dogs as well as making the grounds more dog friendly.

To accomplish the pooch-related goals, Hartsell said there’s been fencing and removal of fencing on a rotational basis on grass areas. This was done, he explained as “an experiment” with the grounds crew later noticing that a fenced-in area was kept pristine while an open area was completely laid to waste thanks to, well, dog waste.

Continue reading

Stuy Town man facing eviction for starting fires

653 East 14th Street (Photo by Maria Rocha-Buschel)

653 East 14th Street (Photo by Maria Rocha-Buschel)

By Maria Rocha-Buschel

Blackstone and Ivanhoé Cambridge filed a lawsuit against a longtime Stuyvesant Town tenant at the beginning of this month because the resident has reportedly had a history of terrifying his neighbors with erratic behavior and setting fires in his apartment.

The New York Post originally reported the lawsuit between the owner and resident Max Chalawsky last Sunday and the suit was filed on April 1. The landlord, officially referred to as BPP ST in the suit, is seeking permanent injunctive relief and damages against Chalawsky because of his “severely destructive behavior” detailed in the suit, which included leaving pots unattended on a gas stove and reconnecting gas lines. The suit also alleges that Chalawsky behaved menacingly towards his neighbors and building personnel and it seeks an injunction to bar him from tampering with the gas lines, as well as damages no less than $25,000.

The suit noted nine different incidents since last year that variously involved the NYPD, FDNY, EMS, other tenants and staff in his building. Five of the incidents resulted in his being taken to Bellevue or Beth Israel for observation and in a more than one instance, Chalawsky reportedly removed a cap that had been placed on his gas line.

Continue reading

CompassRock officially out, Blackstone’s management company named

rick1

Rick Hayduk  (Photo by Sabina Mollot)

By Sabina Mollot

Three months after taking over the property, Blackstone has announced the name of its own recently formed management company that will handle the day-to-day operations at Stuyvesant Town/Peter Cooper Village. This is following CompassRock’s official exit from ST/PCV on April 1.

Unlike CompassRock, the new company, called “StuyTown Property Services,” will — as its name suggests — just be for the management of ST/PCV, according to a Blackstone spokesperson.

In other management changes, along with four recent plumbing hires, StuyTown Property Services has also added three new people to its resident relations division. Those employees will be responsible for cleanliness inspections, maintenance issues and hands-on resident relations, said Blackstone spokesperson Paula Chirhart.

“The termination of the previous management agreement and the formal establishment of StuyTown Property Services marks a major milestone for all residents,” said Nadeem Meghji, senior managing director for Blackstone. “We are pleased to have Rick (Hayduk) and his StuyTown Property Services team in place and ready to serve the community.”

In January, resort and residential industry veteran Rick Hayduk was hired as Stuy Town’s new general manager. He was also the first person in that role to move into the community since the Met Life days, and is the new company’s CEO.

Meanwhile, this is the second apartment complex CompassRock has lost from its portfolio in recent months. CompassRock, CWCapital’s management arm formed in 2012, had been managing the 1,229-unit Riverton Houses in Harlem while CWCapital oversaw the property following an over-leveraged deal. Then last December, Riverton was sold to A&E Real Estate, and according to a spokesperson, Daniel White, A&E prefers to do its own management of the properties it owns.

Continue reading

Thousands flock to lottery site on 1st day

ST buildings

Stuyvesvesant Town

By Sabina Mollot

On the first day of the housing lottery’s launch, thousands rushed to apply online, despite a number of complaints about glitches on the website.

The steady stream of applications followed a story on Town & Village’s blog, information being dropped at tenants’ doors by Blackstone, and emails to neighbors from management as well as the Stuyvesant Town-Peter Cooper Village Tenants Association.

Paula Chirhart, a spokesperson for Blackstone, said while she didn’t know the exact number, thousands of people were able to get into the system online without a hitch. She declined to provide a number of applications filed at this point.

As for the reported malfunctions, it impacted fewer than one percent of users, she said, who had problems getting into the system. A few people had told Town & Village they hadn’t been sent passwords they needed to access the site. Chirhart said they were later contacted and sent temporary passwords by 4 p.m. the same day.

Continue reading

Market raters doubt they’d qualify due to income limits

Sisters Annie and Catherine Sullivan didn’t think they’d be eligible for the housing lottery, but both said they were happy for others who are. (Photo by Sabina Mollot)

Sisters Annie and Catherine Sullivan didn’t think they’d be eligible for the housing lottery, but both said they were happy for others who are. (Photo by Sabina Mollot)

By Sabina Mollot

On the opening day of the affordable apartment lottery, several market rate residents who spoke with Town & Village seemed doubtful they’d be impacted personally, due to being above the income limits, but nonetheless said they were happy for others who might have a chance at getting picked. And as for the city’s decision to not give insider preference, residents we spoke with seemed equally nonchalant, saying it made sense to give all applicants an equal chance.

While strolling through Peter Cooper Village with her toddler daughter on Tuesday, Jordan Halladay, a resident of two years, said, “It doesn’t affect us. I wish it did. The requirements are decently high but I wish it was true middle class.” But, she added, “It’s great if it will bring in some families that need a nice apartment.” She added that she was glad current stabilized tenants would be able to stay under the preservation deal. “I know some neighbors who live on some kind of pension, and would have to move (if rents were at market rate), but in this situation they can stay.”

Another market rater however, said he might give the lottery a shot. Jazz musician Dimi Ditrow, who also teaches and has a company that produces music videos, said he thought he and his photographer wife would be able to meet the income guidelines.

Continue reading