Mayor Bill de Blasio sprinkled many goodies around in the days leading up to his successful re-election bid. Among them was $250 million in city money to induce Mitchell-Lama co-ops to stay with the affordable housing program for at least 20 more years instead of going to market-rate sales.
Shareholders in the 420-unit West Village Houses affordable co-ops, who are set to lose a key property tax break in March, are mulling over a far more radical proposal from the developer Madison Equities, Crain’s reports. The developer wants to tear down the complex’s 42 buildings on seven sites near the Hudson River in Greenwich Village, then replace them with new buildings. All residents of West Village Houses would receive affordable apartments in the new development, which would also include luxury apartments.
The West Village Houses board said in a statement that upcoming capital needs and the end of their tax abatement created a "financially untenable situation for many of our residents,” adding that the board had a fiduciary responsibility to share Madison Equities’ offer with residents and get feedback. A group of residents are already mobilizing in opposition, and urging their neighbors to reject any plans that involve tearing down the properties, which legendary civic activist Jane Jacobs developed in the 1970s. The buildings converted to affordable co-ops in 2002.
A memo circulated by the opposition reads: "'Not one sparrow' shall be displaced by urban development was Jane Jacobs' cry as she fought against the destruction of New York neighborhoods, including Greenwich Village. We who are opposed to the destruction of West Village Houses by developers now adopt that same battle cry."
Residents would have to be relocated for years while new buildings are built, the memo states, while the maintenance charges that come with living in a luxury building could still result in the very financial strain they are trying to avoid. Instead, as a first step to offset tax increases, they call for selling a parking garage owned by the co-op. Madison Equities has already made an offer to buy the garage – for more than $63 million.
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