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No ‘luxury’ for Pelham Parkway tenants

Bronx Times
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For future tenants, these apartments may be a ‘luxury’ — but current tenants say living there now is Hell.

Dozens of new luxury apartments are coming to Pelham Parkway — but at the expense of those who already live in the buildings, tenants say.

Tenant leaders at four apartment complexes — at 1540 and 1130 Pelham Parkway South, 1135 Pelham Parkway North and 2160 Matthews Avenue — charge that their new landlord, Goldfarb Properties, is actively trying to push them out of their rent-stabilized units through what they call a campaign of harassment.

Tenants have complained of elevators out of service for months, and hot water cut off for days at a time, among other gripes since Goldfarb snapped up the four buildings in February. The group headed by Phillip Goldfarb bought the properties from former owner Bernard Putter for $52.5 million, according to city records.

Life in a ‘funeral home’

Constant construction at the buildings, neighbors say, has made life unbearable. Tenants have filed nearly 200 complaints with the city since Goldfarb took over, city records confirm.

Management is currently renovating units, and marketing them on its website as luxury rentals. But the scene at 1540 Pelham Parkway South when a reporter stopped by was grisly, with gutted apartments right next to others where residents are living. The mayhem has caused many tenants to leave.

“It looks like a funeral home around here,” said Linda Schier, tenant organizer at the building. “Goldfarb has made this his demolition project.”

2160 Matthews Avenue has its own problems. The ceiling of its lobby is pocked with holes, from what residents said was a botched attempt to install security cameras. In its laundry room, signs of a recent fire are still evident.

“They can’t seem to finish anything,” said Judy Bratnick, tenant leader at the building. “There has been a total lack of communicat­ion.”

Goldfarb has already been cited for a laundry list of violations at other buildings. Angry residents at 2400 Webb Avenue in University Heights sued the company in 2012, to cite just one example, after Goldfarb illegally removed their fire escapes, forcing the city to evacuate residents.

Meet with electeds to mull solutions

Goldfarb’s Pelham Parkway tenants are mulling ways to fight back.

Tenant leaders met with management at Senator Jeff Klein’s district office on August 6, with staff attending from Councilman Jimmy Vacca, Assemblyman Mark Gjonaj, and the NYC Public Advocate’s offices. Attorneys from Bronx Legal Services were also on hand, according to meeting minutes.

Luxury? Or not

A spokesman for Goldfarb Properties refused to comment on the apartments when called by the Bronx Times Reporter.

But the companies’ website proclaims that all is well at the buildings — at least for incoming residents.

“With its elevator and balconies on many units,” reads a advertisement listing at www.goldfarbproperties.com, “1540 Pelham Parkway South offers a level of luxury that is simply unmatched.”

Tenants say their current level of luxury is anything but.

“I’m interested in what their definition of luxury is,” said Andrew Goebel, a tenant leader at 1135 Pelham Parkway South. “Because this is not mine.”

Reach Reporter Ben Kochman at (718) 742–3394. E-mail him at bkochman@cnglocal.com. Follow him on Twitter @benkochman.
Updated 4:58 pm, July 9, 2018
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