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BY BILL EGBERT | The good news for Gateway Plaza residents is that the building’s management finally plans to replace all 10,000 of its notoriously drafty windows. The bad news is that the work won’t even begin until next spring, and the mammoth job won’t be done before mid-winter next year at the earliest.
The announcement came at the start of the Gateway Plaza Tenants Association’s annual meeting on Oct. 29, and the group’s president said the news was a long time coming.
“The issue of the window replacement has been a longtime point of negotiation and discussion, and we’re delighted that the management has finally committed to replacing all windows beginning in the spring of 2016, an undertaking projected to take 10 months,” said association president Glenn Plaskin. “We look forward to lower electric bills.”
Last year, the Downtown Express spoke to residents who saw their power bills nearly double in the winter months dues to drafty windows that let in wind, rain, and even snow.
Plaskin praised Gateway’s landlord, the LeFrak Organization, for finally committing to the upgrade, but residents could be forgiven to having a slightly more chilly response to the news. LeFrak was lambasted for failing to keep a promise made in 2012 to replace or upgrade all of the complex’s leaky windows, poor insulation and aging heating units by the end of 2013.
But the work is really going to happen this time, according to Plaskin, who said that the management has already installed prototypes of the new, double-paned windows in the building for testing.
Some residents are not pleased with the proposed replacements, however, saying they will replace one seasonal headache with another.
“The new windows will be side-opening ones,” said 26-year Gateway resident Tom Goodkind. “You can’t have screens.”
So residents who now shiver through the winter months instead won’t be able to open their windows in the summertime without letting in bugs, said Goodkind.
“We’re hoping they reconsider,” he said.
Work on the window replacements is expected to start in April next year, and LeFrak plans to replace 200 to 250 windows every week for the next 10 months or so, according to Plaskin. But that means no one will have new windows this winter, and many residents will be kept waiting until spring of 2017, so Plaskin suggested that LeFrak could do more for chilly tenants between now and then.
“We have two winters ahead of us without the new windows. Is it fair that tenants pay extra in electric usage due to the defects in the building?” said Plaskin. “In the meantime, why doesn’t the management provide a rebate for the higher electric bills?”
Gateway Residential Management said it is looking into it.
“We continue to study this issue and will make an announcement of our plans at the appropriate time,” said a spokeswoman.