The representatives from Van Cortlandt Village LLC said if the company got the building back, it would increase staffing levels and have someone onsite from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. every week day, create a 24-hour phone line for complaints and address repairs “within reason.” They also asked for tenants’ association input on current workers and alluded to firing some of them if they regain control. A representative from the New York City Department of Housing Preservation and Development, which oversees city housing, also spoke to residents to reassure them that HPD is there to help.
After Van Cortlandt Village representatives left the meeting, many tenants’ association members expressed frustration because they said they were just being told what they wanted to hear. But after hearing from HPD representatives about the department’s positive relationship with the receiver and that their rent was being used for the buildings’ operation costs, the group decided not to go on rent strike, as was previously considered. Those in attendance plan to share what they learned at a larger tenants meeting on Tuesday night.
New York Community Bank told The Press that Chestnut Holdings bought Shalom Aleichem’s mortgage last week. It was then that Jonathan Wiener of Riverdale’s Chestnut Holdings visited the buildings, according to Dan Padernacht, a lifelong resident of Shalom Aleichem, previous manager of the complex and pro-bono counsel for the tenants’ association.
In 2010, Chestnut Holdings attempted to buy the infamous Milbank buildings — 10 buildings in the Bronx, three of them local — that sunk into disrepair after going into foreclosure. But the company pulled out when city officials said its bid was too high, according to the Bronx News Network.
When Shalom Aleichem opened in January 1927, it was the second cooperative housing development in the Bronx. The founding tenants were working class Jews with an affinity for Marxism and the preservation of Yiddish culture, according to Bronx Borough Historian Lloyd Ultan’s The Northern Borough.