The renovation of the Hotel Sandford at 1301 Fifth Avenue is complete. (click here to see article from 2010). I dropped by unannounced on September 22 to take a look.
While the hotel interior looks nice in the lobby and common areas, conditions inside leave a lot to be desired, according to 11-year resident Butch Weathers. He was sitting outside and agreed to talk.
Weathers said the front entrance card-key device does not work. The main elevator has an out-of-order sign on it; Weathers said it's been that way for almost six weeks. Residents use a freight elevator in the meantime.
In the basement, the new kitchen area has a full-size refrigerator, microwaves, sink, countertops, and cabinets, but there's no range/oven for residents to use. Food vending machines have been robbed several times, Weathers said. The computer room is done, but there are no PCs in it.
While all 130 rooms received new paint, carpet, and bathroom improvements, electrical upgrades were minimal at best. Rooms can now have mini-refrigerators but microwaves are prohibited. Ceiling fans are also not allowed.
“They won't allow us to do any of that stuff,” Weathers said.
Weathers said security cameras throughout the building were promised, but only a few were recently installed on the first floor. He said there is no late-night security guard, and homeless people often enter the building. Weathers said some new paintings on the walls were stolen.
While residents paid an average rent of $433 prior to renovation, beginning rents are now $505, and, according to Weathers, can increase to $605.