Stuytown Occupant Agreement
A spokesman for Mayor Bill de Blasio did not respond to a request for an opinion. As early as 2015, de Blasio promoted the housing maintenance contract with Blackstone, the largest of its kind, to preserve a middle-class oasis. Although some critics said the government had exaggerated the benefits, the deal guaranteed a long period of accessibility for Manhattan`s largest apartment complex, built after World War II for returning veterans. Under previous owner Tishman Speyer, who paid $5.3 billion for the complex in 2006 – the same price as Blackstone in 2015 – Stuy Town had become a warning story of real estate speculation in the era where over-indebted landlords were aggressively trying to scare tenants away to deregulate housing and increase rental income. In affordable housing circles, questions have been raised about the impact of new rent laws on landlords who may have entered into similar regulatory agreements in which regulated units should be deregulated at a later date. Asked about the impact in July, an HPD spokesman told Gothamist that agency staff “are still able to analyze the potential impact of the legislation on current and future cases and not be able to talk to them at this stage.” “This is an opportunity to bring owners into new regulatory agreements that can bring new affordable units,” he said. But the new rent laws made the regulatory agreement with Blackstone superfluous by effectively regulating stable rental units as long as the rules remained in effect, regardless of when the 2035 agreement expired. Blackstone, however, said it was still fulfilling its pact with the city. Not all rent-regulated entities are covered by the 2015 regulatory agreement. There is also no legal obligation for owners of regulated dwellings to keep them rented continuously. Epstein said HPD could try renegotiating with owners like Blackstone in order to increase the agreed number of units that need to be leased as affordable. The agency, he said, can hang new funding or allow them to restructure rents.
State Assembly member Harvey Epstein, who represents the District of Stuy Town, said he asked Blackstone for the units and there was nothing illegal about his actions. He said he believes Blackstone officials now weigh the risk of waiting — perhaps in the hope of a change to the rent law — and renting the units. In one of the most dramatic steps taken by apartment building owners as part of the revision of state rent laws, the owner of Stuyvesant Town-Peter Cooper Village chose to keep some of its regulated units empty instead of possibly blocking tenants under significantly reduced rents. It`s unclear how many homeowners choose to keep units empty, but few property owners are considered as big or as deep in their pockets as Blackstone, one of the world`s largest private equity firms with $512 billion in assets under management. The company collaborated with Ivanhoé Cambridge, a Canadian real estate company, in the area of the Stuy Town agreement. On Tuesday, HPD did not answer questions about Stuy Town and what triggered its audit. Instead, the Agency`s spokesperson made the same statement last week. “We take this very seriously and are conducting a thorough review in partnership with the state,” the spokesman said. “The city will do everything in its power to keep the housing stock available and help hard-working New Yorkers find affordable housing.” Mr Friedman added: “With the new legislation, we unfortunately have to make difficult decisions and reduce some investments.” “They are doing an economic calculation,” he said. Nevertheless, he said that in the face of the affordable housing crisis, the city should not allow homeowners to move units away from the market.