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Battery Park City Condo Owners Save $280 Million Under Tentative Rent Deal

By Julie Shapiro | March 10, 2011 1:00pm
Condo owners in Battery Park City will save millions of dollars in ground rent under a proposed deal.
Condo owners in Battery Park City will save millions of dollars in ground rent under a proposed deal.
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DNAinfo/Julie Shapiro

By Julie Shapiro

DNAinfo Reporter/Producer

BATTERY PARK CITY — Condo owners in Battery Park City will save nearly $280 million over the next 30 years thanks to a tentative deal negotiated by Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver.

The 2,400 residents of 11 condo buildings currently face sharp increases in their ground rent, a fee they pay each year to the Battery Park City Authority. Without a deal, some residents would have to pay an extra $300 per month starting later this year, and they would have seen even more drastic hikes 15 years from now.

Silver's proposal, which a group of Battery Park City residents approved Wednesday night, would mitigate the rent charges, saving residents about 35 percent over the next 30 years.

"This agreement would protect Battery Park City residents from staggering increases that would have caused crushing financial burdens during a time of economic difficulty," Silver said in a statement.

"By restructuring this payment plan, we will be able to keep more middle-class families in their homes. ... It will also give lenders the confidence to continue providing financing to families relocating to this community."

The Battery Park City Homeowners Coalition negotiating committee approved the deal Wednesday, and now it will go to the condo boards of the 11 affected buildings, which will have 30 days to approve it. The Battery Park City Authority has "indicated it will support" the proposal as well, Silver's office said.

The Battery Park City Authority did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Anthony Notaro, a condo owner who was part of the negotiating team, said he is thrilled the deal is moving forward.

"We will still have increases, but they will not be as large as we expected them to be," Notaro said.

Notaro is particularly glad that the deal would last for 30 years, which would allow families to plan their finances and commit to the neighborhood.

Without an agreement, the ground rents would have increased to 6 percent of the market value of the land 15 years from now. No one knows exactly what that amount would be, but it was expected to be an astronomical hike.

"That would have destabilized the neighborhood tremendously," Notaro said.

Under the proposed deal, condo owners at the 11 buildings would pay about $525 million in ground rent over the next 30 years, down from about $804 million under the current leases, Silver's office said.

Residents of Battery Park City already pay extremely high taxes, because they pay both the equivalent of property taxes and the ground rent on their land. They also have to pay a civic facilities fee and a maintenance fee.

Most of the money goes to the Battery Park City Authority, which uses it to manage and maintain the neighborhood. Every year, the authority turns its millions of dollars of excess revenue over to the city, where some of it goes to build affordable housing in other neighborhoods.