NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Upscale retailer Barneys New York is making some neighbors mad in Chelsea.
As CBS2’s Elise Finch reported, since January, Barneys has been renovating the Seventh Avenue store they last occupied in the 1990s to re-establish a presence in the neighborhood.
But the luxury retailer is being blamed for slew of construction problems. Residents who live in the 155 co-op apartments above the retail space claim the latest leaves them without gas.
“One day I got an email from one of my neighbors saying ‘do you have any gas in your apartment because I just tried to make some coffee and there’s no gas,'” said Yetta Kurland.
A spokesman for Con Edison told CBS2 “We turned off cooking gas May 19 to protect public safety after discovering that a connection and valve had been installed without authorization.”
A spokesman for Barneys said the unauthorized connection was pre-existing and unrelated to their renovation.
“It’s difficult for some people who may have families. I mean, in all honesty in this building, a lot of people don’t cook,” said resident Judith Hayman.
Some residents said this is the kind of thing that happens when dealing with a lengthy construction project. But others are pointing fingers at Barneys, calling them a bad neighbor.
“Originally because we didn’t really have information, everybody was blaming Barneys,” said Russell Bonifay. “My understand is that Con Edison is just being safe, and better than sorry in light of what happened in the East Village. I don’t blame them. I don’t want the place to implode.”
A spokesperson for Barneys New York said “We value our relationship with our neighbors and have been working with all parties to mitigate all potential disturbances.”
The company has amended its work hours to reduce the amount of time residents are forced to deal with construction noise and worked with building management to provide each resident with a hot plate while the gas is off, Finch reported.
But the gas won’t be turned back on until internal pipe work is completed, certified and inspected.
Renovation at the store is scheduled for completion early next year.