Gateway tenants not cool with the cool air

BY SAM SPOKONY   |  Many Gateway Plaza residents may feel cold again this winter, as planned repairs to their apartment windows, insulation and heating units are still incomplete.

The six-building, 1,700-unit complex on South End Ave. underwent an extensive energy audit in August 2012, after which auditors compiled a list of recommendations for upgrades and repairs.

The audit was the result of a collaborative effort between the LeFrak Organization, which owns the Battery Park City complex, Gateway’s Tenant Association and State Sen. Daniel Squadron. In addition to the plans to replace shoddy windows, insulation and PTAC units (which provide heating and air conditioning), LeFrak also committed to upgrading the development’s boilers and ventilation systems, according to Squadron’s office.

And at a public meeting in February, a LeFrak representative told tenants that the repairs and upgrades would be completed by the following winter — the end of 2013 — according to Glenn Plaskin, Gateway’s tenant leader.

“It’s a quality of life issue for our units, especially those with elderly residents, or families with young children,” Plaskin said in a phone interview last week. “We get so many letters from people who say that cold air is coming right through their windows and the insulation of their walls.”

In addition to those issues of discomfort, he explained that the faulty infrastructure causes “exorbitantly high” energy bills for some residents who have to crank up their heat to deal with the frosty air.

Plaskin said he’s learned that Gateway’s management has already installed some new PTAC units — perhaps several hundred — and that LeFrak is currently testing several different brands to see which is most effective.

But no new windows have yet been installed, and insulation repairs have also not yet taken place, he said.

Squadron sent a letter to LeFrak on Nov. 19, asking for an update on the status to the repairs and upgrades, but the landlord has not yet responded to the request, according to Squadron’s spokesperson

LeFrak’s spokesperson said the firm was not ready to “provide any details” on the matter.

“The good news is that LeFrak is aware of what needs to be done, and they’ve taken some steps forward by installing some of the PTAC units and getting price estimates for the new windows,” said Plaskin. “I’m optimistic that everything will eventually get done, but tenants need to keep making their voices heard if they want it to be done in a timely manner.”