New York City, State and Federal Officials Join to Preserve Affordable Housing
Despite rainy weather conditions Friday morning, tenants from Stuyvesant Town-Peter Cooper Village came by the busload to join officials on the steps of New York's City Hall for a rally. They asked to be part of the sales process of the middle-class housing development and that they be included in Mayor de Blasio's affordable housing plan.
The rally comes after word that the complex, home to about 11,200 apartments and about 30,000 residents, is being auctioned by CW Capital. They have run the complex for four years. During this time, they renovated vacant apartments and raised rent on about half the apartments.
This comes after a sale in 2006 to Tishman Speyer Properties and Black Rock for $5.4 million. Resident and Secretary of the Tenants Association Kirstin Aadahl said that they illegally raised her rent to market levels. When Tishman and Black Rock ran out of money in 2010 and returned the property to their lenders, CW Capital was left to settle a major lawsuit about such rent increases.
Residents of Stuy Town and politicians alike want to prevent this new sale from being a repeat of 2006.
Among those in attendance was Senator Chuck Schumer who recently met with the heads of Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae, owners of a portion of the current mortgage. Schumer said he got "ironclad assurances" from them that no deal will be made without the consent of the both the tenants and the city, and will not accept any deal that "is not premised on long-term affordability."
While de Blasio has expressed support for continued affordable housing in Stuy Town, tenants and officials at the rally are asking that the units in the complex count in his affordable housing plan. The mayor has pledged to preserve or create 200,000 affordable units across the city.
Through the efforts of Alicia Glen, deputy mayor for housing and economic development, CW Capital has agreed to give the city at least two months to create a plan to preserve 6,000 of the middle class apartments. This is about half of the apartments in the complex. But there are questions about how the city will afford any such plan since the complex could sell for several billion dollars.
Officials at the rally said that CW Capital's agreement is a very good step forward, but they have not yet started to explore the details of the plan, saying that it was "day one" of the period. They also said they are seeking to put in place long term regulations to maintain affordable housing in Stuvesant Town-Peter Cooper Village and other complexes like it.