Sept. 15, 2015 By Jackie Strawbridge
A summer of icy showers, take out dinners and even break-ins by management may stretch into fall for some Acropolis Gardens residents.
Eight of the complex’s 16 buildings lost gas and hot water at the end of April. Two buildings – 21-58 35th St. and 21-78 35th St. – are still waiting to be restored.
The DOB approved work permits for gas turn-on at 21-58 35th St. last Thursday. Gas is expected to be restored by the end of the week, according to Metropolitan Pacific Properties, the Acropolis’ management company.
Residents at 21-78 35th St. likely have a longer wait; work permits have been disapproved at this site.
When the Astoria Post spoke with Brandon Osman, Metropolitan Pacific Properties’ vice president of business development, in early August, he said part of the reason for the slow pace is that residents need to be home to allow access for work.
“We have to have the cooperation of a couple hundred families to be present,” Osman said at the time. “We’ve been experiencing hold ups because people – they’re just not home.”
Since then, management has taken a new course of action. Employees have forced entry into some apartments so Con Edison could install gas meters when residents were absent.
According to Osman, notification of Con Edison’s arrival – and of possible forced entry in residents’ absence – consisted of flyers posted in stairwells “a minimum of three days” prior. Letters were also left for absent residents after the fact.
One of these letters obtained by the Astoria Post reads, “management had to force entry into your apartment, either through the window or the door… we were in the apartment and left it in the condition it was before entry.”
At least one unit had its window damaged following the forced entry, the Astoria Post observed.
Osman said forced entry occurred in “two or three” units.
“It is a last resort,” he said. “We don’t want to delay the whole property from getting gas because one tenant is deciding that they just don’t want to cooperate.”
Regarding the continued holdup at 21-78 35th St., Osman cited slow turnover at the DOB and aggressive enforcement of what he called “minor” filing mistakes. He also charged that the DOB has misplaced some of their paperwork.
“The application for work permits was disapproved on Aug. 25 due to missing documents and a project cost estimate that was determined to be too low for the scope of work,” a DOB spokesperson said in response.
A resident of 21-78 35th St., who spoke to the Astoria Post on the condition of anonymity, said they lost confidence in management due to the litany of DOB violations racked up at Acropolis Gardens’ various buildings.
“Your track record says enough for you,” the resident said.
Regarding the months without gas, the resident added, “it’s absolutely horrible. If it was winter, I would have moved out.”