The City Council has introduced a bill to stall the sale of Stuyvesant Town-Peter Cooper Village. At the end of August, MetLife announced it would seek bids for the 110 building complex that spans 80 acres in Manhattan, with an ideal asking price of $5 billion. The sale sent tenants of STPCV into a frenzy, worrying about their status there, as well as advocates for affordable housing, as all signs point to developers taking the land for a luxury development. Last week, many bids were submitted, and one of the bids was from the tenants - $4.5 billion to "preserve at least 40 percent of the complexes as middle-class housing" - which is half a billion below bids from other developers in the running, according to the NY Times. The Times also explains the bill:
The legislation, introduced by Councilwoman Rosie Mendez, would require the owners of large-scale apartment complexes where more than half the units are rent-regulated to provide 120 days’ notice of a sale. The city’s housing department, in turn, would asses the impact of losing large numbers of apartments for low-, moderate- and middle-income tenants.
It is doubtful that the bill would be approved before MetLife completes the sale. The company, which built Stuyvesant Town and Peter Cooper Village in 1947 for returning veterans with the help of city subsidies and the use of eminent domain, wants to close the deal in November. It has asked the final bidders, including the tenants, to submit their noncontingent offers by Monday.
Councilman Daniel R. Garodnick, who lives in a market-rate apartment in Peter Cooper and is a leader of the tenant bid, and others hope to create a climate in which MetLife would take a lower offer from the tenants, or that other bidders would preserve at least some of the apartments for middle-income families.
The Mayor has said “MetLife owns it, and they have a right to sell it," but the real question might be whether or not he wants to veto the bill, given that the sale of the building might negate the Bloomberg administration's affordable housing efforts.
The many City Council members, City Comptroller and other officials support the tenants' bid. And Senator Charles Schumer said he spoke to MetLife's CEO, C. Robert Henrikson, about the bid: “I made the argument that the highest offer is not necessarily the best bid. He agreed with the concept.” Yeah, but agreeing with a concept is nothing like wanting to take $500 million less.