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Uproars Over Upgrades

Jackson Heights

Generation Gap
Nov. 1, 2016

In our June issue we told you about Deepdale Gardens, a co-op in Little Neck, Queens, where a nimble board has balanced the seemingly conflicting demands of its younger and older residents. Playgrounds for kids co-exist with programs for seniors. Turns out all co-ops are don't enjoy such harmony.

At the three-building Southridge Cooperative Section 1 in Jackson Heights, Queens, the New York Times reports that shareholders are divided into two camps: longtime residents who bought for a low price and yearn for low maintenance; and younger buyers, often with children, who yearn for more amenities. The rift was exposed by reactions to a recent $120,000 lobby renovation, which knocked down a wall separating two of the lobbies and created an extra bathroom and a library nook.

“The changes are very very nice, but did we really need to spend the money?” asks Larry Wilkes, a co-op board member who bought his one-bedroom in 1992 for less than $25,000. (Unrenovated one-bedrooms currently sell for about $200,000.) “I don’t feel that this place needs a glorious library. I spend less than a minute in the lobby; it doesn’t need to be the Taj Mahal.”

“You really have two generations of owners in a building at the same time,” says attorney Stuart Saft, a partner at Holland & Knight. “The people who bought an apartment 30 years ago...and are now on fixed incomes. And the younger people who paid 10 times, 100 times as much and expect certain amenities.”

It’s the new real-estate wrinkle to the age-old concept of the generation gap.

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