Comment Policy

All comments to posts have to await approval. Please be aware that, depending on when I'm logged onto the internet, it may take me hours, even longer, to moderate comments, so if they don't turn up in a speedy fashion, they are still in the queue. Comments that cross a line I'm not comfortable with will not get approved. NOTE: Comments reflect the opinions of the person writing them and should not be assumed to reflect the opinion of the blog.

Saturday, October 31, 2015

Shake Down Stuy

A post from a tenant on the TA Facebook:

Friday, October 30, 2015

The Best Overview of The Deal

Absolutely worth your while to read this:

http://therealdeal.com/blog/2015/10/29/how-stuy-town-was-won/

Note the quote from Michael McKee of Tenants PAC, about the only guy I trust in commenting honestly about ST/PCV.

I'd also like to alert readers of this blog to this Letter to the Editor that's on the Town & Village website, a letter that speaks very eloquently and persuasively for those residents who are not satisfied with the deal:

http://town-village.com/2015/10/29/letters-to-the-editor-oct-29/#more-10301

Another overview, ending with a quote: "...the long-term story of Stuy Town is a tragic one."

http://www.theguardian.com/cities/2015/oct/29/stuyvesant-town-corporate-greed-affordable-housing-new-york

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

What the Hell? Trouble Already?

It's about air-rights. And, from Stringer's perspective, perhaps something that can separate him from de Blasio in a forthcoming mayoral match-up.

http://observer.com/2015/10/leading-elected-officials-question-development-rights-in-stuy-town-deal/

Stuy Town Chipotle Wants Liquor License


A Stuy Town Report reader informed us of the forthcoming request by Chipotle for a liquor license. Chipotle is going to be our neighbor soon. The rapid availability of alcohol to the student population here may be of concern to us, so I'm posting this info below. And thanks to the person who alerted me to this.

BTW, unless I'm reading the law wrong, the legal drinking age in New York starts at 21. And yet I see many students in Hane and Vamos who appear underage drinking alcohol. And now Petite Abeille is promoting a "college night," offering $3 beers and $5 beers with a shot of whiskey! $10 for a pitcher! (Let's not also forget that Oval Cafe was hoping to obtain a liquor license, too, before resident outrage shut that idea down, at least temporarily.) Is anyone carding the students taking advantage of the easy flow of alcohol in these establishments? (And carding with the knowledge and skill of spotting fake IDs.) Have the police checked? I don't want to spoil anyone's fun, but if student drinking IS a problem in this community, then these issues have to be addressed.

Meanwhile, here is the Chipotle info:

Chipotle is asking for a liquor license for its new location in Stuy Town. The Communty Board 6 meeting is this Thursday. Oct 29th at 7PM in Bellevue. Lots of college kids will be piling into Chipotle all night, much like the location on 23rd St which is a zoo at night. This will create noise and bring more litter, mice, rats and drunks into StuyTown since Chipotle serves both Margaritas and beer. If you want to oppose the liquor license contact the Community Board today or show up at the meeting this Thursday:

Business Affairs & Street Activities Committee
When: Thursday, October 29, 2015 - 7:00 pm
Where: Bellevue Hospital Center, 462 1st Ave, NY, NY, 10016
Old Medical Library - 8th Fl.

AGENDA

9i. New OP Liq. Lic, Chipotle Mexican Grill of Colorado, LLC dba Chipotle Mexican Grill,
286 1st Ave @E. 17th St. Reso.

If you can't attend the meeting, here is the CB6 contact information. Even a few people opposing a liquor license on valid grounds is enough for the board to oppose it. The final decision then goes to the State Liquor Authority, but they use the recommendations of the Community Board to guide their decisions.

Community Board Six Manhattan
866 United Nations Plaza, Suite 308
New York, NY 10017

Telephone: 212-319-3750

Fax: 212-319-3772

Email: office@cbsix.org

Monday, October 26, 2015

Another rent shocker: $10,000 per month!

http://citylimits.org/2015/10/20/stuy-town-deals-affordable-housing-is-barely-so/

"City Hall just released details of the deal. Another 1,400 apartments that were going to lose all rent protections in 2020 will get another five years of such protection with rent hikes capped at 5 percent per year. And the administration notes that some market rents in the complex were as high as $10,000 a month. By that measure, $3,200 is a bargain."

If true, this means that the "base rent" of some apartments may have gone up 10K per month, an astonishingly high number. My assumption is that no tenant is currently paying that much, but rather a far lower "preferential rent," but this info is still troubling, as it indicates the success Tishman-Speyer and CWCapital have had in raising the base rents of MR units.

110 Reasons Why You Should Never Leave New York City

http://www.buzzfeed.com/mjs538/why-you-should-never-leave-new-york-city?utm_term=.dyqv81Xnb#.fbxdjm5JR

This list is just trying to convince me to MOVE.

As to the writer or writers, I smell hipster big time. All that "bodega" stuff is a give away. Probably not native New Yorkers, too. Please, just stay away from this community!

And now, the Socialist View

I'm not a Socialist, but an interesting opinion piece:

https://www.wsws.org/en/articles/2015/10/26/stuy-o26.html

"This yardstick of affordability for an apartment for a family of three compares to a citywide median household income of about $60,000, less than half this amount. In Brooklyn and the Bronx, the median income is even less—about $45,000 in Brooklyn and less than $40,000 in the Bronx, the city’s poorest borough.

"This notion of affordability is pitched to the top 10 percent of the city’s earners, at best. In addition, in a backhanded admission of just how limited this deal is, Blackstone tosses a few tiny crumbs to families that fall below six-figure annual incomes. The owners promise to put aside 500 apartments in the complex, less than 5 percent of the total, for families making up to $62,150 annually. They would pay up to $1,553 a month for two bedrooms. Even this figure, covering a tiny fraction of the apartments in the complex, is beyond the means of a majority of families."

More at the above link.

Saturday, October 24, 2015

Reactions to the Baruch Meeting


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.

*     *     *

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.



Crucial Meeting for STPCV tenants at Baruch College, Mason Hall, Saturday, 1pm


We are living in a historic time in the life of Stuyvesant Town and Peter Cooper Village. This complex was created in the 1940s so that "families of moderate means might live in health, comfort and dignity in park-like communities and that a pattern might be set of private enterprise productively devoted to public service." It was the largest such complex and community not only in the city, but in the country. There have been several stewards of STPCV: the owners, the city (its politicians), and its residents. The prime element of importance was, traditionally, "affordability." Affordability for people of "moderate means."

Yes, times do change. And since the sale to Tishman-Speyer, the change for this community has been fairly rapid and even aggressive. It seems that at this point the ideal of families of moderate means living here is on life-support.

We, the tenants, are still partial stewards of this complex. We have a voice. We can give up on STPCV and accept the progressive unaffordability of STPCV for the true middle class. We can, ultimately, move out or be forced to move out due to financial considerations. But we can be heard. At least for now. And not just be heard for our own self interests, but for the history and tradition of Stuyvesant Town and Peter Cooper Village.

Today: Saturday, October 24, 1pm. Baruch College, Mason Hall, 23rd Street and Lexington Ave. Doors open at 12:30 p.m. A meeting about the new sale of STPCV. Doors open at 12:30, but expect a line to start forming before then.

In order to just focus on the time and place for this meeting, I am leaving out the comment section for this post. There will be a comment section in the next post, which will be dedicated to your reactions to the Baruch meeting.

Friday, October 23, 2015

Crain's: Apartments in STPCV will go Market-Rate after 20 years

http://www.crainsnewyork.com/article/20151023/OPINION/151029910/stuy-town-deal-protects-a-lucky-few-but-benefit-to-rest-of-nyc-is#comment-2323678947

"After 20 years, the apartments will go to market-rate unless a future mayor subsidizes them again. Those who have been incentivized to put down roots will leave without any equity in the apartments they've called home. In the end, the money buys time and not much else."

Questions To Be Answered

In preparation for the forthcoming meeting between tenants and Blackstone this Saturday, 1pm, at Baruch College, I will be listing questions that I feel need answering (though, truthfully, we can already suspect the answers or equivocations on a good number of them). This is a fluid list, so if you'd like to add to it, please do so in the comment section, whereupon I will place your questions here if they are pertinent. Also be aware that I will be away periodically from internet access and unable to monitor these comments immediately. But I will get to them eventually! Thanks.

1) The agreement secures a portion of the apartments here as "affordable housing" for the next twenty years. What happens after those 20 years?

2) Is there anything in the agreement that has tenants surrendering their normal RS rights at any time in the future?

3) Roberts case tenants will have a cap placed on their rent after 2020 at 5%. Is this 5% yearly? Is there any cap on rent for these tenants in the years before 2020?

4) Will MCIs continue to be requested on this property by Blackstone?

5) Will another entity replace CompassRock to run and maintain the property?

6) Will Blackstone use the possibility of STPCV's "air-rights" to sell to another entity in the city?

7) Will non-renovated apartments continue to get renovated once their tenants leave or die?

8) Will Blackstone continue to partition apartments with new walls to effectively add a new room to the existing room count?

9) Will Blackstone continue solicit a student population to rent here and market to this population?

10) How will Blackstone make sure that no more than three unrelated people occupy an apartment?

11) How will Blackstone make sure that the dog rules of STPCV are adhered to, particularly in regard to size and breed limits, which have been basically ignored by current management for years now.

12) How will Blackstone make sure that our walkways are properly cleaned and fixed?

13) Will Blackstone continue the practice of unwelcome "wake-up calls" from early morning construction, renovation, leaf-blowing?

14) Will tenants be able to read the full agreement, not just a summary?

15) Will tenants be able to find out just what the dynamics are of the tenant population here; ie, how many tenants live in non-renovated apartment, how many are "Roberts case" tenants, market-rate tenants, how many apartments are currently filled by students?

16) Will there be any additions to existing buildings?

17) Will there be any changes to the Oval area?

18) Will there be retail stores in the Oval area--for "residents and their guests" of course!

19) Will there be any checks that only "residents and their guests" are using the facilities and amenities of STPCV. (Currently there are no such checks at Oval Cafe or the Green Market.)

20) With the mandate to secure a portion of the units here as "affordable," how does Blackstone and its Canadian partner envision achieving a healthy profit from the property after acquiring it for 5.3 billion dollars?

21) Does Blackstone see itself as selling the property within the next 50 years? In other words, how long range is Blackstone's commitment to STPCV?

22) After 20 years, will Blackstone have the freedom to level the current buildings here and build a new complex of high-valued high rises?

23) Will the lottery for new "affordable" housing include current residents or will it be open only to potential new renters?

24) If the lottery is for current residents also, will the winners have to move out of their current apartment to one that is selected by Blackstone?

25) When did the TA know that this deal was in the works and that tenant ownership was a dead issue? When did our councilman, Dan Garodnick, know?

26) Will Blackstone still retain a dog-friendly policy to new renters?

27) Will MR tenants be bearing the burden of higher-than-normal rent increases to make up for gaps caused by more rent-protected units?

28) Associated Supermarket on 14th Street has been a vital presence in this community, offering affordable goods to our population, some of whom are on fixed incomes. Will Blackstone offer a reasonable lease-renewal to Associated or drive them out for a more deluxe entity with deluxe prices to match?

29) (To the TA/Garodnick) How did we get to this point with a deal to another huge corporation like Blackstone?

30) (To the TA/Garodnick) Why did the effort to convert die without even so much as a whimper? There are upwards of 30,000 people in this complex that they sold this idea to. Did they think we'd just forget?

31) How did there get to be a buyer without tenants being given serious consideration as a buyer? Why would CW Capital prefer one buyer over another if they both could potentially have the financing?

32) Assuming that apartment renovations and MCIs continue, will the new tenants in "affordable" units have an unpleasant surprise after 20 years with a rent that will be adjusted to reflect the renovations and MCIs and that will go far beyond the previouis $3,200 cap for these apartments?

33) Will there ever be a time when STPCV will be free from construction, renovation and the disruption and noise from these? A time when residents can finally live in peace?

Garodnick's View

http://www.gothamgazette.com/index.php/opinion/5947-the-future-of-stuyvesant-town-a-peter-cooper-village-garodnick

Most of this is puffery with the main points of interest for us being:

"As part of the negotiations with the tenants and Mayor de Blasio, Blackstone has committed to preserving 5,000 rent-stabilized units for the next generation of middle-class residents. Under this deal, tenants who are currently in rent-stabilized units will be protected by rent-stabilization laws for as long as they reside in their apartment, and they are further protected by the City's agreement, which restricts the rent that can be charged on 5,000 units for the next 20-25 years, giving the new owner little incentive to turn over the units. And that timeframe could be extended down the line (as has happened many times in Stuyvesant Town and Peter Cooper since the early 1970s), with new agreements between the owners and the City or State."

Okay, we already know that rent-stabilization laws will protect rent-stabilized units, so the only "big deal" here seems to be a cap on the amount of rent that can be charged for these units--$3,200. I would assume that currently there are no such RS older apartments remotely close to that rent, and that most are in the 2K range and lower. RS protections in place already will save these apartments from excessive rents, unless, of course, RS protections evaporate or are lessened considerably, a near impossibility given the backlash that would occur from NYC tenants in general. I completely disregard, as we all should, the possibility of "new agreements between the owners and the City or State." Don't put into the bank what is not in your hand. I suspect we will be hearing quite a bit of such tenant friendly possibilities from those who are pushing the Blackstone deal.
 
"Blackstone has also agreed to cap rent increases on about 1,400 tenants affected by the Roberts case, whose below-market-rate units could have been immediately brought to the market when the J-51 property tax abatement expires in 2020."

Not sure what is being presented here. It seems as if the cap on rent for the Roberts case tenants comes into play in 2020 and then at 5%, which seems to me too high considering what these tenants are paying now and will be paying as the years go by. Does any rent cap exist for these tenants now and for the next 5 years? If not, it's going to be open season on these tenants for them to pay the "base rent" of their units rather than the "preferential rent" they may have been paying.

Thursday, October 22, 2015

Though They Love Us, Blackstone Did Not Do Much Research on What the Tenants Here Think


http://town-village.com/2015/10/22/residents-have-mixed-reactions-to-affordability-plan/

From the above article:

>>Residents also gave Blackstone’s Jonathan Gray an earful after the press conference. When one resident asked if CompassRock would continue to maintain the complex, he asked, “What do you think of them?” The tenant then said, “Get rid of them,” before several other tenants also began descending on him with their own complaints.<<

So Blackstone's Jonathan Gray doesn't have a clue that CompassRock is despised by tenants. Just has he doesn't have a clue that the tenants here have not chosen to live in this community because of amenities, which his company considers a "key part" of the longstanding culture here.

This Saturday at Baruch let's clue in Blackstone about what we want and what is going on here that we don't want.

A Few Words of Caution

I'm noticing a very recent barrage of comments, seemingly from one individual, that pronounce and amplify the notion that our MR tenants basically hate the older RS tenants. These comments are coming at a time when it's unity among tenants, rather than divisiveness, that is crucial. That these negative comments come at this important time is rather suspicious to me. While I have no evidence, and suspect that I am wrong, please be aware that there are entities reading this blog who may wish to use the old-age plan of "divide and conquer." Be aware that individuals from CWCapital to our forthcoming owner Blackstone probably monitor and try to influence what social media states about their companies and plans. Again, I have no proof that this is happening in this case.

Whatever the case, any comments that try to spark a divisiveness among tenants at this point in time will have a hard time getting through. Yes, I will fight for the older RS tenants (of whom I am one), but I will also fight for our newer MR tenants who wish simply to be left in peace and raise their families here. It seems like they may be the ones who will get royally screwed in this Blackstone deal in the near future (older RS tenants in 20 years), and if such is the case, I would feel very sorry to potentially lose the families that I call my neighbors.

And even if there is some conflict among certain members of both communities (I've never had such negative experiences, btw), we are at a crucial point in the life of this community where we need to help each other and reach out a friendly hand to those whom we may have had some conflict with. Remember who the real enemy is and what the real problems are. That should be the focus. Nothing else.

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Rent Prediction Shocker!!!

Okay, I debated whether to post this, but we should know what could be ahead of us, at least for market rate paying renters. This analyst could be full of it, and I suspect/hope so, but....

http://mobile.nytimes.com/2015/10/21/nyregion/gains-for-new-york-and-a-real-estate-behemoth-in-the-stuyvesant-town-sale.html

Of Blackstone:

>>“They’re not a charity,” said Dave Bragg, a real estate analyst at Green Street Advisors. “They’re one of the savviest dealmakers in all of real estate. It’s interesting to see that they think they’ve got a great deal, while the city is celebrating this as a great deal for affordable housing.”

Mr. Bragg expects that Blackstone will seek to cut managerial expenses. And with a seemingly unquenchable thirst for housing, rents are destined to rise for more than 50 percent of the apartments that are already going for market rents, at $4,000 to $7,000 a month.<<

The possibility of something like this NEEDS TO BE SETTLED AT THE BARUCH MEETING.

All of us tenants need to fight for our neighbors, every legitimate long-term renter in this community!

Open Letter To Dan and Susan from a Very Dissappointed Tenant

The TA Facebook contains a powerful open letter to our councilman Dan Garodnick and TA president Susan Steinberg from a tenant, Michael Feld. While I think tenant ownership of the property had serious concerns for the tenants who were not going to purchase their apartments, I think the letter speaks authoritatively and knowledgeably about matters we should all be aware of, and showcases that not all tenants are glowing about the deal made with Blackstone, which is the spin now from Blackstone and Garodnick. On behalf of this tenant, I thank you, Mr. Feld, for speaking out.

And folks, don't forget that we will all have an opportunity (hopefully!) of speaking out at the forthcoming meeting with Blackstone and tenants this Saturday at Baruch College at 1pm. I will have more information about this in a forthcoming blog post.

Here is the letter I am sending to Dan Garodnick and Susan Steinberg:

An Open Letter to Dan Garodnick and Susan Steinberg


Dear Ms. Steinberg and Mr. Garodnick:

It was with extreme disappointment that I read the other day that Stuyvesant Town and Peter Cooper Village were being sold yet again to another corporate developer/landlord. There were echoes of Fall 2006 in recent weeks, as we watched flocks of “suits” walking around the complex sizing the place up.

Compounding this and making this beyond even any comprehension is that you both had the unmitigated nerve to get up with Mayor De Blasio and other officials in a hastily convened “press conference” to declare “victory” for tenants with this sale because you somehow got commitment from the corporate bloodsuckers at Blackstone not to destroy the complex any more than it already has been… for another twenty years. My mouth was literally hanging open watching you smiling and saying how great this is for tenants and our community. While you were smiling, I was getting sick to my stomach watching and listening to you. Mr. Garodnick, you said this deal has the support of the tenants. Perhaps my memory is failing me, but I don’t remember being asked for my opinion about any such deal and neither do any of my neighbors and friends who live here.

Let’s be perfectly clear: This is not by any means great for tenants or our community. It does not accomplish what you both were entrusted to and said you were going to accomplish. Stable? Affordable? This speech was an unbelievable whitewash job. We didn’t “preserve 5,000 apartments” from vacancy decontrol. We have LOST more than 6,000 in a complex of more than 11,000. To me, and others that I have spoken with, this is nothing short of unmitigated disaster. What you’re calling “victory” and “success” is like telling the parents of a child on life support that you’re going to be able to keep them alive for another twenty years, still on life support, with no quality of life and no guarantee of what’s going to happen in the future. Awesome, go ahead and pat yourselves on the back a little bit more.

The only way you could even possibly declare success or victory in this case is if the complex is bought and owned by the tenants, period. Anything short of that is a bitter pill that we are forced to swallow. I went to meeting after meeting where the TA claimed to have financiers and lawyers “lining up” to both finance this deal and handle the legal aspects of a sale to the tenants. “White shoe” law firms and financiers. Yes, those were the exact words used. What happened to them? Did they just evaporate? Didn’t we tenants have some right to know that the effort to convert to coops or condos was suspended? Are you really saying we couldn't come up with a competing bid? Are you saying the buying power of 30,000 people is not enough to make this happen? Yes, the complex is overvalued with this purchase, for now. In 20 years, it no longer will be, and tenants would have some serious equity.

In 2006, you had crews of people running around getting residents to sign petitions saying they would be in favor of a purchase of the complex by tenants so we could have all our ducks in a row. Chuck Schumer and others were “putting pressure” on CW Capital, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to “do the right thing” and let a community of 30,000 people determine their own destiny and have a say over the shape of their own apartments. There were a myriad of protests and rallies and meetings. Over and over, for the last nine years there has been one version or another of this, and to what end? So another corporate real estate monolith can come in here and preserve the status quo and you are somehow declaring success? How does this address the current issues we have here? How is this a “win” for anyone but these corporate bloodsuckers?

The apartment next to mine has had at least six tenants in the last four years. NYU students still come and go in droves every semester, treat apartments and common areas like trash bins and clutter up sidewalks with refuse. I used to know my neighbors, but not anymore. Half of them are gone with apartments churning multiple times per year. How is this deal going to fix that problem?

CW Capital (i.e., Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac) has continued their process of “tarting up” vacated apartments up and whoring them out to the highest bidders, all at the expense of the quality of life of the residents while renovations are conducted. These are residents who have been here, many for decades, who only get to watch as their community deteriorates into a transient mess. How does this deal fix that problem? The answer is, it does not. Oh, but we have Oval Study, nice landscaping and a farmers market. Hurray!

Again, the only version of a sale that could be called “success” or a “victory for tenants” is one that means that we can have the option to buy our own apartments and that we own our own complex, not these corporate idiots coming in here padding their own wallets and those of their investors.You all have failed us. You failed in what you were entrusted to do and what you said you were going to do. No one wants these people coming in here. No one but you, and unfortunately, you were unwilling or unable to do what was necessary to prevent it and provide the tenants of this complex with a satisfactory outcome. And you know what? Perhaps you couldn’t get the financing to happen for whatever reason (which I find hard to believe). But don’t get up there with huge smiles on your faces and tell us this is a “win” for us. It’s not. It's nothing but a band-aid on a gaping wound. This is an abject, unmitigated travesty.

Sincerely,

Michael Feld

Crain's Analysis Confirms that the Pressure Will Be On to Raise Rents

http://www.crainsnewyork.com/article/20151020/BLOGS01/151029987/worrisome-parallels-in-two-deals-for-stuy-town

Couple this with the Fortune's estimate of each unit being worth nearly a million dollars, and perhaps you can see where we are eventually heading.

Recent Garodnick Quote Indicates He Either Knew Little About the Blackstone Deal or Was Purposefully Deceitful

Online October 17, 2015:

http://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2015-10-17/nyc-s-stuyvesant-town-said-for-sale-with-blackstone-weighing-bid

The quote:

>>“The tenants are going to insist that the owners work directly with them and with the city to develop a responsible plan to protect the long-term affordability of the place,” City Councilman Dan Garodnick, a lifelong resident of Stuyvesant Town-Peter Cooper Village, said in an interview this week. “The ownership has changed more times in the last handful of years than it had since its creation and tenants want to see this issue resolved for good.”<<

The deal became official Tuesday, October 20th, with word about it coming a day and even two days earlier.

ST/PCV Apartments Valued at Close to Half a Million Per Unit

http://fortune.com/2015/10/20/what-the-5-billion-stuyvesant-town-deal-says-about-the-real-estate-market/

"The new deal for Stuyvesant Town values the complex’s roughly 11,250 units at roughly $471,100 a unit."

So what do you think is the long-range plan of any company that purchases this property? Affordable middle-class housing?

Did Affordable Housing (What's Left of It) Just Get Thrown Under the Bus in the Long-term by the Mayor, Garodnick and the TA?

What do you think from what you know of the Blackstone deal?

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Amazingly Quick: Blackstone ST/PCV Website Already Online!

I checked and the following website was registered on GoDaddy yesterday!

http://www.stuytownpetercooper.com/

Below are several statements made by our buyers Blackstone & IvanhoƩ Cambridge. My response follows each statement.


"We are pleased to have the support of Mayor de Blasio, Councilman Garodnick, Senator Schumer, the Tenants Association, and those who call this neighborhood home."

Not so quick, please. "Those who call this neighborhood home" must digest the deal made, questions must be answered, concerns addressed, etc, before you can make such an expansive, positive statement. Frankly, you seem to be trying to fool the non-ST/PCV public and press with such a hasty statement.

"We intend to own STPCV for many years to come, and view this investment as a lasting partnership with the STPCV community."

We who call this place home will see what kind of partnership it will become.

"The same dedicated employees that you know well will continue to deliver high-quality service for all your living needs and we will apply our decades of asset management experience to preserving and maintaining the complex at high standards."

Unfortunately, not all of the "same dedicated employees" that we know deliver quality service. BTW, have you taken a walk through our community and seen the disrepair of the walkways, the filth left behind by our lovely four-legged pets? Have you gone inside our buildings and seen the garbage pile-ups in the recycling areas? The non-working washers and dyers of some laundry rooms? Have you perhaps stayed the night at one of our apartments and been awoken by loud frat parties, or the noise of returning party-goers at 2 or 3AM, or the early morning wake-up calls from construction or room renovation?

"We believe this is a very exciting development for residents, employees and the community as it delivers a long-term solution for STPCV and ensures stability and responsible management."

Hopefully, but we shall have to see.

"We are pleased to have the support of Mayor de Blasio, Council Member Garodnick and Tenant Leaders on this transaction."

Sorry, but this doesn't carry that much weight with many of the tenants here.

"We have voluntarily signed a regulatory agreement with the City of New York implementing supplemental affordable housing provisions at Stuyvesant Town/Peter Cooper Village to safeguard the affordability of 5,000 below-market units for a 20 year period."

Thank you, but what happens after this 20-year period?

"We believe this is a very exciting development for residents and employees as it delivers a long-term solution for STPCV and ensures stability for the community. We recognize the importance of maintaining the character and heritage of the community and are committed to preserving the affordability and culture of STPCV." 

We'll see about that, too.

"The amenities offered by STPCV are a key part of its culture and reason that people seek to make STPCV home."

You are wrong. The "amenities" are not, and never were, a part of our culture here. They are relatively new fabrications that are used by a small number of residents, though now they are part of our landscape. The fact that you don't know this is indicative of your lack of knowledge about our community. But I suspect you do know this and will be using amenities as a way of just attracting potential renters, as that's the current "meme" in the real estate business. Also, be aware, as you should be, that amenities were never the reason people sought to live in this community pre-Tishman Speyer. Affordability, the community's family-oriented ethos (not student ethos), and fine grounds and building maintenance were the crucial factors in people going on a waiting list for years so that they could live here. "Amenities" is bullshit stuff for a new age and real estate "best practices." And even if you ask tenants who came here in the past several years, you will probably never get "amenities" as the main reason they chose to rent here. For non-students, it's still primarily about raising a family in a safe community with playgrounds and nice landscaping.

"We will also add additional amenities and services including making an onsite social worker available, creating a senior community service, offering wellness checks, health screenings and senior activities." 

Amenities for seniors are always welcome, but please no more "amenities" that ruin the Oval and the green oasis of what this place used to be. Please do not make this a circus.

* * *

As a comparison, here is Robbie Speyer's letter to our community back in the day when Tishman-Speyer took over:

Monday, October 19, 2015

Deal Forthcoming That Will Perserve Nearly Half of ST/PCV for the Middle Class

PLEASE NOTE: Due to this breaking news and its importance to our community, I expect a substantial amount of comments coming to this blog. I'm will try to monitor the comment section expeditiously, but I am at work for most of the day, so bear that in mind if your comment does not appear as swiftly as you may like.

http://mobile.nytimes.com/2015/10/20/nyregion/stuyvesant-town-said-to-be-near-sale-that-will-preserve-middle-class-housing.html?smid=fb-nytimes&smtyp=cur&referer=http%3A%2F%2Fm.facebook.com&_r=0

Major news. According to Charles V. Bagli, NYTimes' real estate writer (and author of an eye-opening book on ST/PCV), the sale of Stuyvesant Town and Peter Cooper Village to Blackstone will happen this Tuesday. Of particular note:

"The agreement will preserve nearly half the 11,232-unit complex for middle-class families."

And:

"The Blackstone deal includes a remarkable regulatory agreement with the administration of Mayor Bill de Blasio that would ensure that a block of 5,000 apartments would be affordable for the next 20 years for families of teachers, construction workers, firefighters and others who traditionally made their homes at Stuyvesant Town."

While this is potentially good news, I do feel we shouldn't be celebrating yet. One wonders, for instance, just how this agreement will deal with the pattern of apartments going out of "affordable housing" when old time residents move or die out, and how the agreement will deal with the dramatic progressive upswing of student housing in this community. I also am somewhat suspicious of the term frequently used: "middle class housing," which can be defined in a number of ways. Will a rent of $4,000 or more for a single bedroom apartment be considered "middle class housing"? And what happens after 20 years? In some ways, this could be an illusory victory for the true middle class and real affordable housing. Blackstone would have made a serious evaluation of the future of this complex and realized that the progressive turn-over of apartments to unaffordable, coupled with the 20 year time limit (that may erase rent-stabilization protections), is a great boon for it. Yes, we could be getting screwed again.

Hopefully, Blackstone will take their ownership of this property very seriously in terms of maintenance and enforcement of rules. In other words, hopefully we will be seeing the last of CWCapital and CompassRock.

MAJOR UPDATE 10/20/15:

More details about the deal:

http://www.nytimes.com/2015/10/20/nyregion/stuyvesant-town-said-to-be-near-sale-that-will-preserve-middle-class-housing.html?_r=0

Of note: "Under the new agreement with the de Blasio administration, 4,500 apartments would be reserved for middle-income families. A family of three earning up to $128,210 a year, for example, would pay a rent of $3,205 a month for a two-bedroom apartment. An additional 500 apartments would be set aside for families making less. For example, a family of three earning up to $62,150 a year would pay about $1,553 in rent for a two-bedroom."

So, wait.... Does that mean if one's rent is higher than the amounts mentioned, one's rent is lowered??? Surely not.

And the question still remains: What happens after 20 years to these affordable apartments?

An aside: A shout out to Times' Charles V. Bagli for these reports.

Sunday, October 18, 2015

Stuyvesant Town Up for Sale?

http://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2015-10-17/nyc-s-stuyvesant-town-said-for-sale-with-blackstone-weighing-bid

One of the money quotes:

"Several parties have made a play for Stuyvesant Town in the past five years, including Brookfield Asset Management Inc., which worked with tenants on a proposal that included converting apartments into condominiums. Brookfield is no longer pursuing a bid, according to Andrew Willis, a spokesman for the Toronto-based company."

Meanwhile, our man Dan makes his usual statement on these matters when they arise:

“The tenants are going to insist that the owners work directly with them and with the city to develop a responsible plan to protect the long-term affordability of the place.”

And sorry, but Dan's statement has zero bite. Anyone who buys this place knows that and certainly knows how much of a hit affordable housing has already permanently taken and how, almost by choice, pathetically powerless is our TA...and Dan.

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Thief Caught in Peter Cooper Village

http://www.dnainfo.com/new-york/20151014/stuy-town/thief-caught-looting-mail-peter-cooper-village-police-say

"STUYVESANT TOWN — Police arrested a man for allegedly going on a package-stealing spree in Peter Copper Village, strolling from floor to floor and rooting through piles of delivery packages, according to a police report."

More at the above link. 

The moral of the story is that tenants have to be on the alert for such robberies and report anything suspicious immediately to Public Safety (212) 598-5233.

Also, from Resident Help at the PCVSTLiving.com site:

"Public Safety can also be reached by using any of the 36 blue light phones located around the property or the intercom in each of the building lobbies. These phones call directly to Public Safety Headquarters and are fully outfitted with cameras so officers can maintain visual contact with the caller."

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

What Now?

Granite tiles in a fairly ugly puzzle pattern are now at the former chess board area:


Meanwhile, on the other side of the Oval, the destruction of that chess area proceeds:
 

Still remaining: the chess areas siding the above playground. Will they stay?

Thursday, October 1, 2015

Expected Losses for Specialty-Serviced PCV/ST

http://www.businesswire.com/news/home/20150928006282/en/Fitch-Affirms-ML-CFC-2007-6-Revises-Outlooks#.Vg2jg33ZkQ0

From the above article:

The next largest contributor to expected losses is the specially-serviced Peter Cooper Village/Stuyvesant Town (PCV/ST) asset (11.2% of the pool), a 56-building multi-family complex with 11,227 units located on the east side of Manhattan in New York City. The loan transferred to special servicing in November 2009. Subsequently, in October 2012 PCV/ST suffered damage from Hurricane Sandy; property restoration efforts have been completed. The special servicer continues to pursue the remaining claim amounts from the insurance providers and anticipates a resolution in the near term.

On June 3, 2014, the trust received title to the property via deed-in-lieu of foreclosure. On July 3, 2014, certain mezzanine lenders who had purchased their positions filed a complaint alleging that the deed-in-lieu breached the terms of the intercreditor agreement, among other claims. These mezzanine lenders are pursuing damages from the special servicer as senior lender. The special servicer filed an initial motion to dismiss on Aug. 18, 2014 and a motion to dismiss a second amended complaint on March 9, 2015. Status is pending regarding the motion to dismiss, but a final ruling is expected in the near term. Any potential sale of the property cannot occur until this litigation is resolved; therefore, timing of a sale remains uncertain.

In November 2012, the special servicer (CWCapital) announced a settlement to The Roberts Litigation to address historical overcharges and future rents for over 4,300 units. Final approval for the settlement was reached and implementation is now complete.

An updated 2015 appraisal and an updated operating statement are still pending, therefore, Fitch continues to model conservative losses. Property performance is stable with 97% occupancy as of August 2015.