Stuyvesant Town Forcing Tenants to Install New Walls

MANHATTAN — It’s the war of the walls at Stuyvesant Town.

The massive East Side complex is telling tenants they must install new, city-approved partitions to split up their apartments, despite the fact that many residents already paid hundreds of dollars to put their existing walls up.

Residents of the 91-building property, which includes the neighboring Peter Cooper Village, often install pressurized walls in their units to subdivide the space and create additional bedrooms.

But the walls now required by managing agent Tishman Speyer — which purchased the complex in 2006 but recently defaulted on its mortgage and no longer owns the property — will force tenants to irregularly break up their apartments with an extra partition, or T wall.

The move stems from city inspections dating back to 2008 that found many of the current walls not compliant with fire and building codes, even though some residents said they used installation companies previously recommended by the complex.

According to the new guidelines, instead of being able to simply divide their living room with a single wall to create another bedroom, tenants will be forced add a T wall perpendicular to the first partition that will essentially split their living space in half.

A spokesman for Tishman Speyer explained that if a tenant obtained written permission from either Tishman or previous owner MetLife and installed the wall according to building specifications, then the resident would be reimbursed for the new partition, as well as for any costs associated with removal of the current wall.

But if a tenant installed a non-conforming wall without permission from the complex’s owners, the resident will have to fork over approximately $1,000 for the new partition — the price most paid to have the original walls installed — based on a rider tenants have been asked to sign.

Residents also must agree to erect the new walls if they want to renew their leases, or face eviction, according to the rider.

Tishman Speyer declined to comment on approximately how many tenants had used pre-approved wall contractors and, therefore, how many would have the additional costs handed down to them.

“We continue to work cooperatively with the residents of affected apartments to remove, alter or replace their walls in a manner that complies with the building code and, more importantly, ensures the ongoing safety of all residents, families and guests of the community,” said Tishman Speyer spokesman Bud Perrone.

Tishman Speyer continues to act as Stuyvesant Town and Peter Cooper Village’s management company even though the complex has been handed over to creditors.



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