CROWN HEIGHTS — After more than two years of negotiations, the city and a Brooklyn landlord have hammered out deal to keep hundreds of apartments rent stabilized in a large Crown Heights complex, according to tenants and officials.
Five of six buildings at the 700-unit Brooklyn Jewish Hospital complex are now under regulatory agreements that guarantee tenants rent-stabilized leases for the next 30 years, according to the documents.
The agreements, completed in late June, are the culmination of years of organizing by the buildings’ tenants and work by local elected officials to put pressure on the complex’s owner, Alma Realty, beginning in 2014 when the group began hiking rent prices for previously rent-stabilized units.
Following a campaign to call out the realty group publicly and months of back-and-forth between local politicians and the owners, the City Council approved a tax exemption at the complex last summer in exchange for Alma’s cooperation in keeping the complex affordable.
Residents announced the regulatory deal in an internal email to tenants last week and will stand with Councilwoman Laurie Cumbo and Assemblyman Walter Mosley on Tuesday for a press conference about the agreements.
The deal guarantees rent-stabilized leases with income restrictions; depending on the building, tenants have to make no more than 135, 150 or 165 percent of the area median income, a federally designated affordable housing guideline.
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Alexandra Lotero, a leader of the complex’s tenant association, said the tax abatement was an incentive for Alma, but believes “more important has been the public pressure of the elected officials and the tenants.”
“We have really worked to push them to the table,” she told DNAinfo New York on Monday.
And their work is not quite done. One building in the complex, 713 Classon Ave., is still without a regulatory agreement, Lotero said. A refinancing on the property is slowing the process, according to two sources close to the negotiations; however, the building’s rent stabilization deal should be complete "within 90 days or sooner," according to the building's manager, Nick Conway, of Alma Realty.
"Alma is proud to furnish our tenants in all six buildings with the benefits of stabilized lease and rate renewals," he said in a statement Monday. “We are very pleased to have been able to come to this agreement, which provides high-quality affordable housing for thousands of New Yorkers and furthers our commitment to continue expanding and improving the city’s stock of affordable housing."