Caught on Tape
Urban America, an owner and operator of workforce apartments in the New York metro, is fighting back against allegations that the West New York, N.J.-based firm is letting its assets deteriorate in an effort to scare off rent-stabilized residents. On April 17, the company released security video footage of resident Grace Eng -- one of Urban's most vocal critics in the New York media -- dumping trash outside of a trash compactor room and taking a picture of the refuse, presumably to use against the company. "We are doing everything we can to improve these buildings, which were in awful shape when we purchased them 18 months ago," Urban American CEO Douglas Eisenberg told the New York Daily News. "Repeatedly tossing bags of trash across the hall doesn't help, and is disrespectful of the people who maintain this building and the other tenants." Eng claims she is being harassed for speaking out against the company, adding that she's no mere trash talker; there is no other place for her to deposit garbage. Eisenberg claims the company has poured $2 million into renovations since acquiring the property in 2006 and is committed to a full restoration.
Every evening since March 28, residents at the 150-unit Bayview Palms in North Miami, Fla., have been getting together to eat dinner cooked on two poolside grills. Sounds like a successful community mixer, right? Think again, say the condo owners, who have been living without power for weeks since an explosion and fire in an electrical room damaged all equipment that provides power to the units. "We are in the dark in every sense of the word," resident Brian Groggin told the Miami Herald. During a routine repair call, Aristides Blanco-Caceres from Supreme Electrical Solutions pulled two burned-out fuses that likely triggered the explosion. Although Coral Gables, Fla.-based KW Property Management and Consulting is running generators for emergency lighting, progress on obtaining parts for the electrical panel and getting the required rebuilding permits from the city has been slow.
Preservation efforts saved the Evelyn Boadway apartments from demolition, but inclusionary zoning funds from the city of Pasadena, Calif.-- apparently promised to developer Antreas Hindoyan as part of a plan to relocate the 1927-era apartments -- are no longer available. Instead, the city may provide $2.4 million in affordable housing funding from its housing administration to reposition the building as a 22-unit, $4 million low-income housing development. Originally located on the Fuller Seminary campus, the apartments were cut in half and transported to a city parking lot, where they have sat ever since. No word on what route transports took to get the buildings there, but Hindoyan is clearly taking the high road on the issue, telling the Pasadena Star News that he is still optimistic the project will be funded. "I think the general sense in the city is that they want to help us out with this," Hindoyan said. "I think it's something really good for the city of Pasadena, and if I keep reminding people in the city that's the case, there's no reason for them not to help out."
Editor's note[end ital]: A misprint occurred in the last edition of Quick and Quirky. In the article "The Real World," the word "paunch" was printed instead of "launch" in a quote from Tammy Kotula at Apartments.com. We regret the error. Send your offbeat multifamily news leads to email@example.com .