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.

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Roof access coming to PCV, but just for two apartments

Windows were replaced on the top floor of 2 Peter Cooper Road late last year as part of a project that includes roof decks for those apartments. (Photo by Sabina Mollot)

Windows were replaced on the top floor of 2 Peter Cooper Road late last year as part of a project that includes roof decks for those apartments. (Photo by Sabina Mollot)

By Sabina Mollot

Late last year, a few top floor apartment windows at 2 Peter Cooper Road were replaced with a kind of window not previously seen on the property. CWCapital declined to comment on the project at the time, although new Blackstone owner told T&V new windows would not be coming to the rest of the complex.

Meanwhile, earlier this week, at the same building, an eagle-eyed neighbor spotted workers on the roof, installing what appeared to be a roof deck.

When asked about the project, Paula Chirthart, a spokesperson for Blackstone, confirmed the alteration to the building to offer roof access was started by CW, but, like the new windows, would not be repeated at other buildings.

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New GM promises improved service and more accessibility

Rick Hayduk (right), the new general manager of ST/PCV, speaks with tenants at a meet-and-greet event on Saturday. (Photos by Sabina Mollot)

Rick Hayduk (right), the new general manager of ST/PCV, speaks with tenants at a meet-and-greet event on Saturday. (Photos by Sabina Mollot)

By Sabina Mollot

The new general manager of Stuyvesant Town and Peter Cooper, Rick Hayduk, has promised tenants that Blackstone is focused on improving services and communication and in particular, said the hiring of four new plumbers should end the two to three week wait times tenants have been experiencing for repairs.

Hayduk made the comments on Saturday at a meet and greet event that was held at the tents at Stuyvesant Town’s Playground 11.

Around 150 people, mainly seniors and other longterm tenants, attended the event, as did a couple of elected officials, State Senator Brad Hoylman and Council Member Dan Garodnick.

Rick Hayduk speaks at Saturday’s event.

Rick Hayduk speaks at Saturday’s event.

While at a podium in front of a Stuy Town logo-covered step-and-repeat, Hayduk discussed various tenant concerns, including the recent spike in plumbing repair delays. “Our standard is two to three days and that’s what you should expect,” he said.
Hayduk also said that a hotline for tenants that Blackstone had set up after the company bought the property has been transferred to his office.

“Go through normal channels, but if (a request) needs to escalate, we’re here for that,” Hayduk said. The number is (212) 655-9870.

He also encouraged tenants to slip him notes, gesturing to his pocket while saying that several neighbors had already done so.

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THANK YOU: Over 200 toys donated to T&V drive

Mount Sinai Beth Israel’s Dr. Bonnie Robbins, coordinator of children and family services, with some of the toys at her office. (Photo by Sabina Mollot)

Mount Sinai Beth Israel’s Dr. Bonnie Robbins, coordinator of children and family services, with some of the toys at her office. (Photo by Sabina Mollot)

By Sabina Mollot

Readers of Town & Village have once again made the holidays a little brighter for children stuck in hospital rooms as well as the families utilizing the outpatient clinics run by Mount Sinai Beth Israel by donating over 200 toys to this newspaper’s annual drive.

This year’s haul included an impressive mix of gifts for kids of all ages, including art supplies, science sets, a remote controlled helicopter, dolls and doll outfits, sports equipment and numerous cute stuffed animals.

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Letters to the Editor, Dec. 24

Cartoon by Jim Meadows

Cartoon by Jim Meadows

‘New system’ for plumbing service stinks!

Re: Story, “Garodnick: Stuy Town plumbing service has gone down the toilet,” T&V, Dec. 17

The reduction of our plumbing service is just the latest, most blatant example of what CompassRock (CWCapital) has been getting away with during the past few years in order to enrich themselves further. I say it is the most blatant because so many residents feel the effects as soon as there is a problem which is typically several times a year, while other service cuts including in pest control and security may be less obvious but nevertheless still noticed by many.

I currently have a problem with my bathroom sink being completely clogged, and therefore unusable. When I called management services to arrange an appointment I was very disturbed when they told me the earliest appointment they could arrange for me was in three weeks! When I replied that this is something that used to be resolved in a few days, they responded that they now have a new system. They wouldn’t explain their “new system,” but it obviously meant saving more money by cutting our services even more. I did call the Blackstone hotline at (221) 655-9870 to report it and was told that they have been flooded with similar complaints.

I guess it’s not enough that CW is receiving over a half billion dollar windfall from the upcoming sale but obviously they feel they need to squeeze out a few thousand dollars more at the expense of their tenants.

At least when the sale is completed we can likely expect CompassRock to depart, and I’m sure I express the sentiment of many tenants when I say to them “Goodbye, and good riddance!”

Ed Lee, ST

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T&V toy drive deadline extended

Dec17 toys

Some of the toys already donated (Photo by Sabina Mollot)

The deadline for Town & Village’s annual toy drive benefitting Mount Sinai Beth Israel has been extended to December 21. This year the deadline for the drive was earlier than those of past drives (December 11), which was aimed to helping the hospital distribute the toys to the children it serves in a more timely fashion. However, T&V’s partners in this endeavor, CompassRock, Waterside Plaza management and M&T Bank, have generously allowed the use of their spaces for a longer period in order to accept additional donations.

At this time, toys and other gifts appropriate for kids up to 14 years old can be left at any of the following dropoff points:

Stuyvesant Town’s management office, 276 First Avenue in the First Avenue Loop

M&T Bank at the corner of First Avenue and East 23rd Street

Waterside, where donation boxes will be at the management office, 30 Waterside Plaza; the Health Club, 35 Waterside Plaza; and the Community Center, 40 Waterside Plaza

Town & Village office, 20 West 22nd Street, Suite 1503, between Fifth and Sixth Avenues.

Due to hospital policy, all donated items must be new and unwrapped. All gifts are appreciated, though the highest need is gifts for older boys. Gifts from this drive go to children stuck spending their holidays in hospital rooms as well as families the hospital serves through its outpatient clinics, many of whom can’t afford to get presents for their children.

Town & Village would like to thank our partners on this project as well as our incredible readers who have donated already.

 

Ibiza Kidz store opens in Stuy Town

Owners Carole and Johnny Husiak, who also live in Stuyvesant Town (Photo by Sabina Mollot)

Owners Carole and Johnny Husiak, who also live in Stuyvesant Town (Photo by Sabina Mollot)

By Sabina Mollot

Ibiza Kidz, a children’s shop for shoes, clothing and toys located in Union Square, has expanded to open a second location in Stuyvesant Town.

The new store, like the other location between 12th and 13th Streets on Broadway, is owned by a couple that lives in Stuy Town, Carole and Johnny Husiak.

Carole said the idea to expand to her own neighborhood came from the property’s leasing agents, Rose Associates, who approached her about the 1800 square foot space.

“The agent said, ‘we have a space and we feel the community would benefit and is in need of a children’s store,’” Carole said. “So we came and loved it. It was a no-brainer. There was an absence of this kind of shop.”

This was five months ago. Negotiations started soon afterwards but were then delayed due to the sale of the complex to Blackstone in October.

However, it was important to the Husiaks to be open in time for the holidays, so Ibiza Kidz, which now has a 10-year lease, opened its doors on Saturday.

The space is on First Avenue between 19th and 20th Streets. This was most recently home to a RadioShack and Ibiza Kidz will also have access to the basement.

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Town & Village holding holiday toy drive

Bonnie Robbins, coordinator of children and family services at Mt. Sinai Beth Israel, stands by some of the donated toys. (Photo by Sabina Mollot)

Bonnie Robbins, coordinator of children and family services at Mt. Sinai Beth Israel, stands by some of the donated toys from last year’s drive. (Photo by Sabina Mollot)

With the holiday season around the corner, Town & Village is asking readers to help spread cheer by participating in our annual holiday toy drive.

The drive delivers gifts to Mount Sinai Beth Israel Medical Center, where they will then be distributed to children of patients of the hospital’s outpatient clinic programs as well as to children stuck spending their holidays in hospital rooms.

Gifts for children of all ages are welcome and should be new and unwrapped. Deadline is December 11 at noon, when the toys will be picked up.

Partnering with T&V on this endeavor is:

CompassRock, offering the use of Stuyvesant Town’s leasing office as a donation dropoff point, 252 First Avenue,

Waterside Plaza, where donation boxes will be at the management office, 30 Waterside Plaza; the Health Club, 35 Waterside Plaza; and the Community Center, 40 Waterside Plaza,

M&T Bank at the corner of East 23rd Street and First Avenue.

Donations may also be left at the Town & Village office, 20 West 22nd Street, Suite #1503.

Bonnie Robbins, PhD, coordinator of children and family services at Mount Sinai Beth Israel, said gifts from previous drives have made a world of a difference to the children the hospital serves.

 

Two ST buildings left with no gas due to leak

By Sabina Mollot

Since October 31, a gas leak at 272 and 274 First Avenue has left residents without gas in their buildings. The laundry room has been out of use as well since then.

In a flyer that was posted by CompassRock on November 4, management explained that the shutdown was done by Con Ed so emergency repairs could be conducted on the main gas line.

The note to residents went on to say management was working with the utility to ensure that gas would be restored “as safely and as quickly as possible.”

However, the memo also said that gas isn’t expected to be turned on again until Con Ed approves each apartment line after repairs.

Sidney Alvarez, a spokesperson for Con Ed, said on the 31st, the utility had been called about a gas odor and upon arrival, inspectors found that there was a gas leak on the extension service traced to a gas meter room.

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Blackstone addresses tenants’ concerns

Market raters bash deal, ask for insider priority on affordable apts.,

Blackstone says students have been top complaint of residents

Assembly Member Brian Kavanagh, Blackstone senior managing director Nadeem Meghji, Department of Housing Preservation and Development Commissioner Vicki Been, Congress Member Carolyn Maloney, U.S. Senator Charles Schumer, Council Member Dan Garodnick and ST-PCV Tenants Association President Susan Steinberg listen as Mayor Bill de Blasio speaks. (Photos by Sabina Mollot)

Assembly Member Brian Kavanagh, Blackstone senior managing director Nadeem Meghji, Department of Housing Preservation and Development Commissioner Vicki Been, Congress Member Carolyn Maloney, U.S. Senator Charles Schumer, Council Member Dan Garodnick and ST-PCV Tenants Association President Susan Steinberg listen as Mayor Bill de Blasio speaks. (Photos by Sabina Mollot)

By Sabina Mollot

Following the news about a change in ownership just a few days earlier, over 500 Stuy Town residents showed up at a meeting on Saturday where a representative for the new landlord, Blackstone, answered questions.

Mayor Bill de Blasio popped by for a bit and spoke, as did U.S. Senator Charles Schumer, but the real star of the show wound up being Nadeem Meghji, senior managing director for Blackstone. Meghji started off by telling tenants at Baruch College’s auditorium that their various concerns, brought up in the days following the sale, were being taken “very seriously.” He indicated CompassRock would not continue to manage the complex, but then later said there isn’t a timeline for any change in management teams. Meghji, who was in charge of the Stuy Town deal, frequently elicited applause when responding to tenants’ questions although he admitted he didn’t yet have enough information to answer them all. He told tenants, in response to questions about student apartments, that Blackstone had been hearing about this issue more than any other.

He added that Blackstone would be seeking further tenant feedback via focus groups and a hotline.

“We know that we are going to need to earn your trust,” he said.

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Residents have mixed reactions to affordability plan

Jonathan Gray listens to tenants. (Photo by Sabina Mollot)

Jonathan Gray listens to tenants. (Photo by Sabina Mollot)

By Sabina Mollot

At the big announcement on Tuesday, residents who’d skipped work that morning as well as a number of retirees made up most of the crowd (along with a gaggle of reporters, photographers and cameramen).

Many seemed shocked by the news, and not all were thrilled.

One man, as he walked home along the First Avenue Loop, stopped Deputy Mayor Alicia Glen to tell her she had done a beautiful job explaining the situation. However, he then added, “It doesn’t impact me because I’m market rate, so I’ll be killing myself this afternoon.”

He then walked away, as Glen responded, “Please don’t do that.”

Residents also gave Blackstone’s Jonathan Gray an earful after the press conference. When one resident asked if CompassRock would continue to maintain the complex, he asked, “What do you think of them?” The tenant then said, “Get rid of them,” before several other tenants also began descending on him with their own complaints.

A resident of 30 years who was standing nearby, Lawrence Scheyer, simply said, “I hope Blackstone will be good stewards of this property.”

Scheyer, a real estate attorney and member of Community Board Six’s Transportation Committee, said he also wondered how the tax breaks offered to the owner in exchange for preserving affordability in 5,000 units would impact funding for the MTA. “They get a fair amount of revenue from (mortgage) recording taxes,” he explained.

Rosemary Newnham, a mom of two in Peter Cooper who does some freelance medical writing, said she didn’t think the new arrangement would help her. Her husband is a doctor and she guessed they probably bring in just over $130,000 a year. But, she added, “What is middle income in Manhattan?” She guessed it was closer to $200,000, due to costs like babysitters and daycare. She added that the last articles she wrote, “I paid for because I had to hire a sitter.”

Newnham added, “My husband does important work, saving people’s lives and we barely have any money after we pay our rent.”

Her two-bedroom in Peter Cooper, where her family’s lived since 2008, rents for close to $6,000. After the “Roberts” settlement, the couple got a check for around $100, if it was even that much.

So that new deal “is not going to change our situation as far as I can see,” Newnham said.

John “Butch” Purcell, a resident of Stuy Town since 1968, seemed more optimistic about the future.

“I think it’s a great move in terms of the 20-year thing,” said Purcell, who’s retired from a career in drug treatment counseling. “I think de Blasio stepping in was a very good move. It’s a good situation. Most people are feeling relaxed although not too relaxed because we don’t know what’s coming after this, anything that’s unsaid. What’s coming down the pike we don’t know but it’s a lot better than it was.”

Marina Metalios, a 25-year resident, was also cautiously enthusiastic. Metalios is a tenant activist who also works for UHAB, an organization that helps tenants convert their buildings to affordable co-ops, among other assistance for tenants.

“I want to see the next generation have an opportunity to live here,” she said. “I have a niece and nephew born in Stuyvesant Town/Peter Cooper and I wonder if they could stick around when they’re adults. It seems the plan for those 5,000 units to be targeted by income might create an opportunity for that. I like that, but what happens in the 20th year? Year 20 is troublesome for me. I want something that is permanently affordable or affordable for a very long time. I don’t see how this plays out after year 20.”

The Tenants Association meanwhile issued an official statement, praising the commitments made by the owner.

“After years of fighting to deliver a more stable and affordable future for our community, today we can celebrate an important success,” said Tenants Association President Susan Steinberg.

“We have eliminated the incentives that have existed for landlords to try to kick rent-stabilized tenants to the curb, and provided security for ‘Roberts’ tenants when the J-51 tax abatement expires in 2020. We welcome Blackstone and Ivanhoé Cambridge’s commitment to protecting our valued open spaces, keeping Stuyvesant Town and Peter Cooper as a unified whole, and endeavoring to create an environment that is most suitable for long term tenants seeking to develop roots here.

“We also strongly support the steps being taken to assist the senior population in our community. This deal is the result of years of advocacy, and we welcome the opportunity to work with Blackstone and Ivanhoé Cambridge to bring stability back to this community.”

Linda Ayache, a longtime resident, said her concern was about the students in the community or specifically frathouse antics she said she recently witnessed.

Last week, Ayache said a bunch of “young people jumped into the fountain and the women were rubbing themselves like it was a wet t-shirt contest.” Security didn’t respond right away, she said. Security itself was another issue Ayache hoped would be a priority for a new owner.

“Last night a gang of boys accosted a female at 9 Oval at 5 p.m.,” she said.

Letters to the Editor, Oct. 15

Cartoon by Jim Meadows

Cartoon by Jim Meadows

Catering to a diverse senior population

Re: Letter, “What’s wrong with Bingo?”, T&V, Oct. 8, which was in response to the story, “Thai PM’s wife impressed by active seniors here,” T&V, Oct. 1

In response to Mr. Menchini’s letter of October 8th, I am sorry if it appeared that I was a “pompous elitist” in saying that the people who come to Stein are not the Bingo and Atlantic City crowd.

I have been running programs for seniors for 35 years and it has been a different experience here. We tried to start Bingo a few years back because I know it is stimulating and fun for many people. There wasn’t any interest at the time. We also asked our members if they would like us to set up trips to AC and they said they weren’t interested as well.

We do have a wide range of activities from Feldenkrais to Zumba to Yiddish club, computer classes, parties, trips, early stage dementia program, legal clinic, tax prep and much more. I believe there is something for everybody here and I apologize if it seemed otherwise.

One of our long-time members dubbed Stein, “A Center for the Humanities.” It is not my priorities, but a diverse array of activities and services that are needed in the community.  If a program is not well-attended, it won’t be continued.

Does Mr. Menchini know what we offer at Stein? Each senior program has its own personality and Stein is different than many in that respect. Shakespeare class has been taught by the same teacher for 22 years and opera appreciation long before I arrived in 2008. The classes are attended by 30 to 50 people weekly.

Jane Barry, Executive Director, Stein Center

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Letters to the Editor, Oct. 1

Cartoon by Jim Meadows

Cartoon by Jim Meadows


Does anyone give a flying puck about safety?

In the Aug. 27 issue of Town & Village, we reported on a Stuyvesant Town resident who’d been struck on the head by a hockey puck that sailed over the fence of a playground behind 250 First Avenue as he sat on a bench. The man, whose name was not published in the story, has since submitted the following open letter to CompassRock about the incident. The letter has been edited for length.

As you are aware, on August 14, I sustained an injury to my head while seated on a bench from a hockey puck flying out of the playground, an incident that could have been prevented had you/CompassRock management taken precautionary steps (i.e. a higher fence) to preempt such a predictable incident.

Due to the fact that hockey is frequently played in the playground in question and that the hockey puck frequently flies out of this playground into the pathway/perimeter surrounding this playground, it was clear that management should have taken steps to devise a viable plan to implement appropriate measures to contain this hockey puck projectile within the confines of the playground that caused me such a serious injury and severe stress from the blow to my head.

In short, this preventable incident has deprived me of my right to a peaceful environment in which I reside and pay my rent.

Most disturbing is that while I exercised good faith by informing you of this ongoing physical danger posed to the safety not only of myself but of other tenants as well as the public you have indifferently allowed hockey games to continue in the playground in question, thereby exposing the elderly, children and others to a potential dangerous situation, which two of the physicians examining my injury indicated could have resulted in death or a catastrophic injury, and obviously still poses this risk.

Joel Buchheim, ST

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Porters reassigned to cover more buildings

Chris Silvera, secretary/treasurer of Teamsters 808, which represents ST/PCV's porters, maintenance men and gardeners

Chris Silvera, secretary/treasurer of Teamsters 808, which represents ST/PCV’s porters, maintenance men and gardeners

By Sabina Mollot

Porters employed in Stuyvesant Town/Peter Cooper Village recently learned that as of Monday, July 27, their schedules would be changed so that many of those who’d been working Monday to Friday would have to now work weekends, and on weekends, see their duties increased to cover three buildings instead of the standard two.

Brian Moriarty, speaking on behalf of CompassRock, said the redistribution of porters was to make more of them available when the demand for their services is the highest.

“To better serve the community, we are shifting some porters’ schedules to provide more janitorial coverage during the weekend when more of our residents are home,” he explained.

But one porter, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, said making one person responsible for three buildings on any given day was going to lead to less clean buildings.

“We can’t do the kind of work they want us to do with three buildings, clean the stairwells, the roofs, the pipes,” he said.

The worker, who’d previously worked Monday to Friday, said some days he’ll have to clean two buildings, but other days three, and it’s always going to be three on Saturdays and Sundays. “That ruins a lot of weekends,” he said. “It’s the only time you spend with your kids and family.”

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Letter from CR on rent laws

The following letter has been distributed by CompassRock to Stuyvesant Town-Peter Cooper Village residents concerning the expiration of the rent laws:

Dear Residents,

As you may know, the Rent Stabilization Law (“RSL”) is set to expire at midnight tonight, June 15, 2015 and as of this morning no deal has been reached in Albany to extend the RSL. As a reminder, all units in Peter Cooper Village and Stuyvesant Town are subject to Rent Stabilization.

We appreciate that the potential expiration of the RSL may be stressful for some residents and can raise questions about what will happen without the protections of the Law. We want to assure our residents that you have nothing to worry about at PCVST. All leases that are currently in place will remain in full force and effect even if the Law expires tonight. Furthermore, PCVST will continue to adhere to the current rules in place (even if the Law expires) until Albany acts.

We, like you, are watching developments in Albany closely and waiting for a resolution. Unfortunately, we don’t have any additional information to share about what the final resolution may look like or when it will occur. We will act in accordance with the new law as soon as it is passed.

Thank you,
PCVST Management