by Patrick Rocchio
The Locust Point clubhouse at 3300 Tierney Avenue, a fixture in the community for the more than 50 years, was about to become part of the past, over a disputed rent increase.
Locust Point Civic Association leases the property from the city. It serves as a gathering spot for neighborhood people. The waterfront locations next to the Throgs Neck Bridge approach is used for community meetings and by the Board of Elections and U.S. Census Bureau.
According to current LPCA president Jerry Landi and other officers, the city demanded up to $1800 in back rent because of a rent increase it said it had negotiated in 2005, but which took effect in early 2008.
“The place is falling apart and we have to pay for the upkeep. We could not afford to pay thousands of dollars in back rent,” Landi said. “To raise our rent to a $1000 a month was already a substantial increase for us. We are running this association month-to-month in terms of meeting the expenses.”
At the end of May, the Department of Citywide Administrative Services told Will Cuevas, who was then the president of the LPCA, that it was going to pull the lease and shut down the clubhouse because the association was not paying its full rent.
The association didn’t realize that a rent increase had been negotiated by old leadership, and reached out to Senator Jeff Klein, who was able to get the city to waive $1800 in back charges that the LPCA wasn’t initially aware existed.
“DCAS holds the lease and they said that they wanted $1800 or they would revoke it,” said Senator Klein. “We got them to waive the $1800 owed in back rent and instituted a new lease at $1000 a month, with a three to five percent increase per year.”
Cuevas said that the civic had worked on the matter on its own for a couple of months, but that Senator Klein was able to bring the matter to a successful conclusion, and in doing so saved the clubhouse.
“The fact that Senator Klein’s office followed up with us weekly made a big difference,” Cuevas said.
DCAS was also happy with the outcome.
“We are pleased to have been able to work with Senator Klein to reach an agreement,” said a DCAS spokesman in reference to the Locust Point clubhouse.
Despite a substantial increase in the monthly rent, the LPCA will attract dues paying members and hold fundraisers, though the replacement of sewer pipes at the clubhouse recently was a financial set back.
Shortly after signing the new lease, Senator Klein presented the LPCA with a $10,000 grant that should help it with operational expenses. The check presentation was held at the club on Sunday, September 6.