Riverdale Press: “No Heat for Christmas in Troubled Buildings”

It was a cold Christmas at the historic Shalom Aleichem Houses in Kingsbridge Heights.

More than 100 apartments at the troubled housing complex were without heat for most of December, including on Dec. 25.

As Russell and Susan Paige’s family gathered around the table on Christmas Day, they donned winter coats just to keep warm.

The Department of Buildings issued a violation for a defective boiler on Christmas Day and according to Mr. Paige, the apartment warmed up again on Dec. 27. But he said his radiator had been ice cold too often up until then. He had to set up a space heater in the living room and Ms. Paige had taken to bundling up with a blanket.

Approximately 117 of 234 apartments in the 15-building complex, located between Giles Place, Sedgwick Avenue, Cannon Place and West 238th Street, were without heat or hot water at times until Dec. 27, the latest in a long line of problems at the building. Last year, tenants complained of no heat, a leaking roof, collapsing ceilings, crumbling walls and other dilapidated conditions.

In May, the building went into foreclosure after owner Van Cortlandt Village LLC failed to make mortgage payments and could not negotiate a deal with New York Community Bank.

Shortly afterward, the bank sold the mortgage note to Riverdale’s Chestnut Holdings. Currently, court-appointed receiver Albert Sontag runs the building and has hired Soloff Management to run everyday operations.

The conditions have landed five of the buildings in the complex — however not the buildings without heat — onto Public Advocate Bill de Blasio’s NYC Worst Landlord Watchlist. Buildings at 3058 Godwin Terrace, 2709 Heath Ave. and 2856 Webb Ave. also made the list.

The Shalom Aleichem House 3451 Giles Place address, which comprises buildings K through O, was listed as the 12th worst building in the Bronx. Last year, this building was ranked 15.

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