Vacca helps tenants in Pelham Pkwy. South

This damaged ceiling in the stairwell of 750-60 Pelham Parkway South (above) is one of many dangers that need to be repaired in the dwelling. Photo courtesy of NIDC

A meeting in the basement of a Pelham Parkway South building with concerned tenants, building’s management, and Councilman Jimmy Vacca led to an agreement that will begin the process to remove serious violations in the building, and keep six families from becoming homeless after fire tore through their apartments recently.

The residents of 750-60 Pelham Parkway South are in a building awash in Department of Housing Development and Preservation violations, and which Vacca has described as the worst buildings in his district.

Now, due to the emergency meeting on Wednesday, October 29, the families displaced from of their homes after a fire at 752 Pelham Parkway South on October 1 will be given the opportunity to get apartments in other Bronx properties owned by their landlord, SG2, LLC.

SG2 has also agreed to begin chipping away at the 899 violations the buildings has amassed.

“I think we have seen the light at the end of the tunnel,” Vacca said about the building. “My first priority is housing of the fire victims. The landlord has committed to finding housing for the fire victims in other buildings. The landlord has pledged to eat away at the 899 violations.”

Those violations include many C Class violations, HPD’s most serious category. C Class violations require repair within 48 hours. Vacca ordered a roof to cellar inspection of the building by HPD, along with five other troubled properties in his district earlier this year.

“I expect this building to be turned around,” Vacca said. “Out of all of the buildings in my district, this one has the most violations, and many are serious.”

Tenant Association president Oscar Ruiz was cautiously optimistic about the possibility of working with landlord SG2, LLC to remedy some very serious issues in the building, which include not only burned out apartments, but also security issues and a broad array of electrical concerns.

“I will work with the super to access whichever apartments have Class C violations that need to be repaired within a [short time frame],” Ruiz stated. “The guy from the management of the building is also bringing his laptop to our next meeting in three weeks where he said he would fix the issues with overcharges in certain apartments.”

The Neighborhood Initiatives Development Corporation, an Allerton-based non-profit that helps tenants with a broad array of housing issues, was also a driving force behind the management’s change of heart.

Cathy Soto, of NIDC, was at the meeting, and informed the tenants of their rights as renters. Currently, the NIDC is doing a legal rent reduction program with more than 60 tenants until SG2, which owns many building around the Bronx, makes needed repairs.

“We still have to apply pressure and keep on top of this,” Soto said. “The building is so run down that it needs everything repaired. The owners have the money, they just have to buckle down and get started.”

Soto said that it was going to take time, and we will work John Sutherland, an SG2 Properties representative, to remedy all issues.

“When I first went into the building weeks ago, the stench of garbage was unbearable,” Vacca said. “Do we have a lot to do, yes, but I think we can turn it around.”

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