Just got back after the Baruch meeting and pre-dinner afterward.
I'll be adding more to this post, but will be letting comments through now.
My take was that it was a productive meeting, with some high points. Several important issues were clarified, though I still have questions and doubts. That said, it appears that Blackstone wishes and encourages dialogue with tenants, which is a healthy and productive attitude to have. The company is extending its hand to tenants and we should meet that hand. Of course we have to be vigilant, and the future may show that Blackstone's currently-stated attitude will dissipate. I hope not, for all of our sakes.
Clearly, there are losers in this deal. Unfortunately, I think market rate tenants are not going to be happy in the coming years. Roberts tenants are probably also going to feel disappointed. And, yes, it seems as if condo tenant ownership is dead, so those who were pinning their hopes on that are going to be really disappointed. (BTW, this blog has always stated that the hope for condo conversion was in vain. I was never swayed by condo-conversion, nor by the efforts of the TA to fight for it. Several years ago someone with far more knowledge about these matters, a sort of insider who must remain anonymous, told me that this place would never go condo. He was right. And I reported his opinion here numerous times.)
The winner at this time is affordable housing. At least for 20 years. Unfortunately this affordable housing is limited to less than half of the units here. Effectively, Stuyvesant Town and Peter Copper Village have ceased to be a shining light of wide-scale affordable middle-class housing. But such housing still is not dead, though we need to review the definitions of what constitutes middle-class housing in New York to see if it is now less saved than apparent. While it is true that older RS tenants in non-renovated apartments were protected and still are protected by the regular RS laws, the units themselves were being gradually lost year by year as the older RS tenants moved out or died. This new deal secures 5000 units as affordable housing for twenty years regardless of tenant turnover. However, the question of what happens after twenty years to those units that will be newly rented still remains.
Blackstone promises to examine the issues of noise, MCIs, the student population and who runs the daily managerial tasks of this complex. CompassRock seems to be on life-support with not much time to live.
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Yes, Mayor de Blasio showed up, as did Senator Schumer. During de Blasio's speech someone in the audience started to loudly voice some complaints and was eventually escorted out by two security personnel. While I'm not really a Schumer fan, I have to say his speech was perfect. He always speaks engagingly and with passion about New York and its people. A legendary politician of the old school. Sadly, he looked not that well health-wise, though it could be just age catching up to him or maybe he was just tired. I wish him well.