Finally, some welcome, undeniable good news on the housing front in our city.
This week’s deal between Mayor Bill de Blasio and the Blackstone Group, one of the city’s biggest landlords, guarantees that Stuyvesant Town-Peter Cooper Village, the largest apartment complex in Manhattan, will remain a place for working-class families.
The Lower East Side complex will be sold for more than $5.3 billion to Blackstone -- but only after the mayor exacted a pledge that nearly half the 11,232-units stay affordable.“We weren’t going to lose StuyTown on our watch,” de Blasio said in a statement this week.
The mayor derserves the kudos, which have been a long time coming. While he has made affordable housing an important part of his progressive plank since taking office, many of us have been skeptical about the execution of his plan to roll out 200,000 affordable units. The “affordable” part of the plan had remained out of reach for many New York families, and an unintended consequence of his plan has been a building and development boom that has priced many New Yorkers out of the city.
The StuyTown deal, though, is solid. Under terms with Blackstone, a block of 5,000 apartments will be kept affordable for 20 years, meaning a family of three earning less than $62,150 a year can live in a two-bedroom unit for $1,553 in rent. The rents go up as tenants’ incomes rise.
The fact that the mayor was able to cut this deal with Blackstone, a savvy Wall Street player, is an encouraging sign for future deals with developers. Maybe, just maybe, we’re finally seeing real progress in once again making this city a liveable place for everyone.