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Blackstone ‘experiment’ to reconfigure Stuy Town apartments draws ire of tenants

By Sabina Mollot

Blackstone has embarked on an “experiment” with 115 vacant apartments in Stuyvesant Town and Peter Cooper Village.

The owner of the 11,000-unit apartment complex is slicing and dicing apartments, adding a new bedroom in most by reducing dining or living room space. The plan also will create some new studio apartments.

News of the project was announced by the ST-PCV Tenants Association, which has said the plan will add to the “churning” of apartments rented by transients.

Details of the apartment conversions were shared in an email that was sent to neighbors along with the TA’s reasons for asking the landlord to scrap the project.

According to the email, “The new program will convert 40 vacant Peter Cooper Village units by turning the kitchen of a one-bedroom unit into a bedroom and moving the kitchen into the living room; combining adjacent one- and two-bedroom units to form a three-bedroom unit; and reconfiguring adjacent one- and two-bedroom units to create a three-bedroom unit and a studio. The new program will continue to divide Stuyvesant Town living rooms of 75 vacant apartments to provide an additional bedroom at the expense of living and dining space.”

The local Tenants Association said the program “degrades the time-tested, well-designed layout” and “will likely result in an increase in the existing transient rent-a-room lifestyle. This is the antithesis of the original concept of our community.

“This reconfiguration will most certainly exacerbate the dormitory and churn effects which tenants have been objecting to since subdivision of apartments began. It will add further pressure to our aging infrastructure. It will continue to destabilize our once-cohesive community.”

Marynia Kruk, community affairs manager for StuyTown Property Services, said the project is a direct response to renters’ demand for open kitchens and other design features not currently in the buildings as well as affordability.

“We are excited to be able to offer this new product mix at StuyTown and expect it will appeal to a variety of tenants, including families,” Kruk said.

“We are doing this in response to feedback we’ve heard consistently from current and prospective tenants who are requesting real bedrooms with closets, open kitchens, and most importantly, affordability. This pilot project is a reaction to that demand, whereas SPS is adapting the floorplans of one percent of the total PCV-ST apartment count.”

Kruk added that there is now a waitlist for would-be renters of the reconfigured apartments, although prices have yet to be determined.

Rick Hayduk, general manager of ST/PCV, said a converted two-bedroom will be cheaper than a standard one.

“We’re offering product diversity,” he said. “We have 750 s/f two-bedrooms in Stuyvesant Town, which are about the norm (in size) for New York City, but we also have two-bedrooms at 920 s/f, which is very large.”

As for the TA’s concerns about the units contributing to the dormification of the property, Hayduk disagreed.

“Our interests are aligned,” he said. “We, too, want stability in the community, but we must meet the needs of today’s residents.”

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