Pondering the Future of StuyTown

Fight disinformation: Sign up for the free Mother Jones Daily newsletter and follow the news that matters.


In a decision that could reverberate throughout New York’s sprawling rental market, a judge ruled today that the owner of NYC’s enormous Stuyvesant Town and Peter Cooper Village apartment complexes will have to pay back some $200 million to tenants.

In our July/August issue, Adam Matthews reported on a trend known as “predatory equity,” wherein private equity partnerships would buy undervalued housing developments, take out big loans against their value—including a good chunk of change for themselves—and then fix and flip the properties. In doing so, the partnerships would bleed the equity out of affordable developments and put them at risk of foreclosure.

In that case, a partnership led by businessman Larry Gluck had purchased and then refinanced Harlem’s Riverton Houses, intending to remodel units with pretty kitchen and bath fixtures and then jack up rents on rent-stabilized tenants. But when the market tanked, Riverton ended up mired in debt. Dina Levy, a tenant organizer with New York City’s Urban Homesteading Assistance Board, told Matthews that such deals had left roughly 70,000 affordable units overleveraged.

The case reported by the Times this week involved a partnership comprised of BlackRock and Tishman Speyer Properties, which purchased the property in 2006. Metropolitan Life, the former owner, was also named. The new owners took a big hit in the downturn; more than half of their development’s $5.4 million sticker price has evaporated into thin air. And now it appears they’ll have to pay back rent to boot.

Rent control in New York is a tricky thing; according to the Times:

Under state law, landlords can deregulate an apartment when the rent for a vacant unit reaches $2,000 or more per month, or the rent is above $2,000 and a tenant’s household income is above $175,000 for two consecutive years.

Still, it’s estimated that the decision could affect some 80,000 apartments in New York City. 

 

FOLLOW THE MONEY

Corporations and billionaires don’t fund journalism like ours that exists to shake things up. Instead, support from readers allows Mother Jones to call it like it is without fear, favor, or false equivalence.

And right now, a longtime friend of Mother Jones has pledged an incredibly generous gift to inspire—and double—giving from online readers. That's huge! Because you can see that our fall fundraising drive is well behind the $325,000 we need to raise. So if you agree that in-depth, fiercely independent journalism matters right now, please support our work and help us raise the money it takes to keep Mother Jones charging hard. Your gift, and all online donations up to $94,000 total, will be matched and go twice as far—but only until the November 9 deadline.

$400,000 to go: Please help us pick up the pace!

payment methods

FOLLOW THE MONEY

Corporations and billionaires don’t fund journalism like ours that exists to shake things up. Instead, support from readers allows Mother Jones to call it like it is without fear, favor, or false equivalence.

And right now, a longtime friend of Mother Jones has pledged an incredibly generous gift to inspire—and double—giving from online readers. That's huge! Because you can see that our fall fundraising drive is well behind the $325,000 we need to raise. So if you agree that in-depth, fiercely independent journalism matters right now, please support our work and help us raise the money it takes to keep Mother Jones charging hard. Your gift, and all online donations up $94,000 total, will be matched and go twice as far—but only until the November 9 deadline.

$400,000 to go: Please help us pick up the pace!

payment methods

We Recommend

Latest

Sign up for our free newsletter

Subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily to have our top stories delivered directly to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.

Subscribe

Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.

Donate