A living room in the Hero condominiums in Long Island City.
Photo: Jose A. Alvarado Jr./The New York Times

On its website, Hero, the luxury condominium tower that opened in Long Island City in the spring of 2020, calls itself a “monument of contemporary elegance and urban convenience.” Meanwhile, 11 Greene, an upscale rental building in Soho that opened last summer, “brings together the comfort of a classic loft with contemporary splendour.” These are beautiful words describing buildings that are said to be collapsing. (Luxury renter disappointment is kind of a trend now.)

Like New York Time reported, the two buildings are part of a series of luxury developments that opened during the pandemic promising bespoke fittings and finishes, but are now rather leaky and plagued with repair issues. According to Time, residents of Hero have complained of bursting garden hoses flooding their apartments and broken elevators. A zen garden advertised on Hero’s website as “finished with sand, rocks, and greenery” is rather unfinished and consists mostly of weeds, trash bags, and safety cones. One-bedroom apartments in the building currently cost between $825,000 and $1,075,000.

“It was literally raining from every light fixture,” said Harish Salem Chandramowli, a resident who had to move for six months due to flooding from the gymnasium above him. Time. Six months after Chandramowli returned, he had to move again because the floods have returned. In what is perhaps meant to be reassuring, the developer of the building, Silverback, told the Time the two leaks were unrelated. Josh Schuster, the company’s general manager, blamed the pandemic for the repair delays, saying, “There hasn’t been a day that we haven’t been working on this project. (Sounds bad?) In July, real news reported that Schuster, the relatively young founder of Silverback, has been accused of corporate mismanagement and is facing multiple lawsuits, with the courts ordering him to pay millions in legal claims.

Since the pandemic, developers have blamed supply chain issues, labor shortages and unexpected costs for some of the new building challenges. As one real estate lawyer said Time, “Developers have generally cut corners, but I would say more corners have been cut due to the pandemic.” At 11 Greene, leaky plumbing was also a major problem, soaking a resident’s Peloton treadmill. Heat went in and out in the winter, tenants – whose monthly rents range between $10,000 and $18,500 – reportedly turned on their furnaces to keep warm. There were also complaints of swarms of flies and the relatively minor annoyance of twisting tap handles in residents’ hands. 11 Greene is one of the few such New York development properties built by the relatively new Arch Companies. Arch told the Time that the issues were merely typical new build testing and that “every valid item brought to our attention was resolved in a timely manner”. (One could be forgiven for thinking sink knobs should stay on for at least a few years.)

Hero prides itself on “providing residents with 15,000 square feet of thoughtful amenities,” and 11 Greene advertises its “state-of-the-art” private storage units and fitness center. But perhaps the most thoughtful convenience is a dry apartment you can live in.