Logstanding Disputes Come To A Head On Friday

Are 2-4 River Road Tenants and Manhattan Park Management On Collision Course?

Updated 1 year ago David Stone
Manhattan Park market rate building at 30 River Road. Subsidized tenants at 2-4 share similar complaints.
Manhattan Park market rate building at 30 River Road. Subsidized tenants at 2-4 share similar complaints.
© David Stone / Roosevelt Island Daily

On April 5th, the Tenant Association representing 2-4 River Road confronted Property Manager Michael Kim with a list of grievances, all longstanding. A "formal meeting" with management and residents on Friday is scheduled to address concerns from both sides.

For its part, Manhattan Park Management answered, "We were surprised by your statement that Grenadier has 'refused' to remedy the issues in the Letter and that these matters have become 'urgent.'"

Grenadier Reality manages Manhattan Park.

The opposing groups seem to live in different worlds, not an unusual occurrence with landlords and renters, but this dispute is seasoned by the fact that virtually all leases for the buildings are subsidized under Section 8 funding from the federal Housing and Urban Development Department.

HUD rules for the program are complex, and from management's perspective, some grievances reflect difficulties inherent in dealing with the program. This includes recertification procedures, utility allowances and guidelines for crediting income, earned and unearned, from residents who are students.

But the association insists there's more to the story, citing multiple recertifications in a single year, unacceptable housekeeping and failures to come through with renovations.

For example, a gym was built and equipped, as promised, but the association objects that, rather than install new treadmills, stationary bikes and other fitness equipment, management simply moved older equipment from 40 River Road, a market rate building also managed by Grenadier, into theirs.

Lobby renovations, also a point of contention, are currently being "bid out," according to management, with an eye on completing the work before year's end.  

While poor communications may be a critical element, tenants ire has been raised when Manhattan Park staff, they claim, interacted with them "in a manner that many felt bordered on harassment."

But probably the longest simmering dispute involves heating, which tenants believe is inadequate and overly expensive. It's also been an issue with other Manhattan Park buildings.

"The heating system needs to be repaired," the Tennant Association said. "It does not adequately generate enough heat in tenants’ apartments. Yet still produces high electric bills. We were told there would be a new heating system installed, apartments would be weatherized, and an engineer would come in to inspect the current system. We have neither heard or seen of any of this happening."

Management pushed back, "We understand that there are concerns about heating and we make every effort to ensure that all heating equipment is working properly," they said, adding, "We have engaged an independent engineer to explore other heating options for the building but can make no promises at the current time if any of these options are feasible."

On Friday, we will get a better idea of how deep is the gap between Grenadier and its tenants and how likely it is to be bridged soon. 

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