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Thursday, October 30, 2014

Majestic’s makeover draws mixed reactions

By Shant Shahrigian
Posted
File Photo Marisol Díaz/The Riverdale Press
Thomas Lake views his collapsed kitchen ceiling prior to a Sept. 20, 2013 fix that he called shoddy.

After years of chronic building code violations, the Majestic at 3660 Waldo Ave. has new owners who have repaired the worst problems while renovating many of the building’s 87 units.

The Department of Housing Preservation and Development (HPD) confirmed that the new owners, Steven Neuman and Israel Weinberger, carried out a range of repairs stipulated in a judge’s consent order handed down when they bought the property in December. The fixes range from replacing the Majestic’s seven exterior doors to fixing leaks and eliminating mold.

Mr. Weinberger’s lawyer did not respond to e-mail and phone requests for comment this month. A number of residents reported improvements to the building, but complained that ongoing construction has brought disturbances including water outages and excessive noise. 

Tenants also related instances of the new owners paying previous tenants sums of several thousand dollars each to leave the building, although the accounts could not be independently confirmed.

“They’re making remarkable changes to the building, which is appreciated,” said Jeanne Gonoss, who has lived at the Majestic for 16 years. “But they never asked any of us how we felt about tearing up the apartments.”

Ms. Gonoss estimated that tenants at 30 units have left the building since the new owners took over. On a recent visit to the high-rise, some of the apartments had loud construction noises inside while others were locked with padlocks.

While the consent order required Mr. Neuman and Mr. Weinberger to obtain city approval for the Majestic’s elevators, one resident said they frequently do not work. Eighth-floor resident Corine Smith added that the situation exacerbates her asthma.

“Every other day, the elevator’s not working,” she said. “I find myself walking up to the eighth floor. It’s far. I can only imagine for the elderly people who live here. It’s just horrible.”

Ms. Gonoss, Ms. Smith and another resident interviewed for this article said they have seen frequent water outages, with no service for about 10 hours at a time during the first week of the month.

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