Residents Team With Zuccotti Park Owners in Bid to Buy Stuy Town

By Mary Johnson on November 30, 2011 6:07pm 

Stuyvesant Town and Peter Cooper Village were originally intended to serve as affordable housing for the middle class.
Stuyvesant Town and Peter Cooper Village were originally intended to serve as affordable housing for the middle class.
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DNAinfo/Mary Johnson

STUYVESANT TOWN — The tenants of Stuyvesant Town and Peter Cooper Village are throwing their collective hat back into the ring in the fight over who will take ownership of the massive residential property.

City Councilman Daniel Garodnick, himself a Stuy Town resident, joined other elected officials at a press conference to announce that the tenants association has agreed to partner with Brookfield Asset Management — the owners of Zuccotti Park — to put together a bid to purchase the 80-acre complex from CW Capital.

CW Capital currently represents the senior investors in the property.

“We are one neighborhood, and we have the courage to take control of our homes,” said Garodnick. “Today our fight has one goal: Bring Stuyvesant Town and Peter Cooper Village back to its roots as a place where the future was secure.”

The details of the plan have yet to be sorted out, Garodnick said, but the overarching goal is for no residents of Stuyvesant Town and Peter Cooper Village to be forced out of their homes.

On the contrary, Garodnick said, if their bid is accepted, tenants will have the opportunity to purchase their units at “reasonable rates." Those who wish to remain renters will be able to keep their stabilized rent.

Brookfield Asset Management will provide the capital necessary to finance the deal. Should the bid be accepted, the compnay would become the new property owner and would be responsible for those residents who wish to remain renters.

The trick, Garodnick said, will be to make the deal appealing to CW Capital.

The deal will also depend on whether enough tenants will be interested in buying their units.

A certain number of tenants must agree to purchase their units in order for the plan to work, Garodnick said. Although that percentage remains to be determined, he added, it will likely need to constitute a substantial portion of the complex’s 11,232 units.  

The tenants at Stuyvesant Town and Peter Cooper Village first tried to take control of the complex in 2006, after MetLife put the property up for auction.

City Councilman Daniel Garodnick joins other city elected officials to announce a partnership between tenants and Brookfield Asset Management to bid for Stuyvesant Town and Peter Cooper Village.
City Councilman Daniel Garodnick joins other city elected officials to announce a partnership between tenants and Brookfield Asset Management to bid for Stuyvesant Town and Peter Cooper Village.
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DNAinfo/Mary Johnson

The tenants were ultimately beat out by Tishman Speyer, which agreed to pay a monumental $5.4 billion for the property.

“This complex was the subject of the most expensive [residential] real estate deal in the history of the world,” said Assembly Member Brian Kavanagh, who attended the press conference.

Tishman Speyer tried to convert the complex’s units to market-rate apartments. That move became the subject of a court case, Roberts v. Tishman Speyer, which sided with the tenants and determined that apartments within Stuyvesant Town and Peter Cooper Village were being illegally deregulated.

Tishman Speyer ultimately defaulted on the property, and CW Capital has since taken over.

Last year, the tenants association began to formulate a new plan to bid for the property. Garodnick said they looked at many possible capital partners, but ultimately decided on Brookfield.

“They share our values. They share our principles,” said Garodnick, noting that Brookfield is willing to embrace the terms that the tenants have laid out, including offering the tenants a choice of buying or renting.

Barry Blattman, a senior managing partner at Brookfield, said it will be of the “utmost importance" to deliver on what the tenants association expects from the partnership.

“We are extremely proud to be part of this effort,” Blattman added.

Garodnick said there is not yet a timeline in place for when they expect a deal to be prepared. But the tenants will be consulted throughout the process at town hall-style meetings, the first of which will take place this Saturday at Baruch College.

Both Garodnick and Blattman said they are optimistic that CW Capital will be receptive to any deal they put forward.

Alvin Doyle, president of the tenants association, said that he had not yet spoken to many residents but that, so far, the response had been positive.

“It’s very exciting,” Doyle said. “Everyone I’ve talked to so far has been excited.”

 

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