Jul 21, 2014 | News Story

The Modernization of the Historic Penn South Complex

In the late 1950's and early 1960's New York City experienced a residential
apartment, new construction boom, intended to stem the exodus of middle
class families leaving the Big Apple for new single family, suburban housing
developments. Hundreds of brick buildings, ranging from 5 to 25 stories were
constructed across the five boroughs, offering families improved affordable
housing opportunities.

The 10-building, Penn South complex located from 24th to 28th Street and
Eighth and Ninth Avenues in Manhattan was one of those critical housing
developments. Sponsored by the International Ladies Garment Workers Union
(ILGWU), Penn South eventually was home to over 4,600 residents. So
important was Penn South that in 1962, President John F. Kennedy presided
over its grand opening with help from Eleanor Roosevelt, Governor Nelson
Rockefeller, Mayor Robert Wagner and New York's "Master Builder" Robert

Now more than half a century later, Penn South and many of that era's
residential housing complexes have experienced either complete or critical
mechanical system failures. That is when pipes and critical mechanical
infrastructure exceed their lifespan; fail and buildings essentially rot
from the inside out. The result across hundreds of buildings: significant
interior water damage, excessive bandaging and patching of pipes, higher
incidence of tenant insurance claims, loss of heat in the winter, cooling in
the summer, along with elevated utility costs.

This video spotlight takes you inside the large and successful renovation of
the Penn South complex from building management's point of view.