New York's Cooperative and Condominium Community

Habitat Magazine Business of Management 2021

HABITAT

FINANCIAL DISTRICT

 

If living way up in the sky is your idea of heaven, we’ve got good news for you. The Italy-based Pizzarotti Group has confirmed to Curbed that it plans to wedge an 86-story condo tower into the shoulder-to-shoulder Financial District in lower Manhattan.

The building, at 45 Broad Street, was designed by CetraRuddy and will be 1,100 feet tall, which easily qualifies it for admission into the city’s growing club of so-called “supertalls.” (A height of at least 984 feet is required for admission.) The tower will have 245 condo apartments that will cater to “entry- and mid-level buyers,” says Pizzarotti CEO Rance MacFarland. In addition to a pool, gym and lounge, there will be five floors of commercial space. Plans call for ground to be broken late this year, with a completion date in 2018.

 

More condos are set to rise in the Financial District. It looks like the latest in the works is a 65-story condo tower that will put the vacant site at 45 Broad Street to good use. According to The Real Deal, Robert Gladstone's Madison Equities and partners Pizzarotti Group "closed on the purchase of the land for $86 million and secured a $75 million acquisition loan." Tentatively scheduled for completion in 2019, the residential tower will span 290,000 square feet. Architect Cetra/Ruddy will be designing the building. 

Show us a New Yorker and we'll show you someone who depends on takeout. Living near a few good places that deliver is arguably as important as scoring some nice digs relatively near a subway. But as Ronda Kaysen points out in this week's "Ask Real Estate" column in The New York Times, living near one is one thing. Living above one, quite another. A condo in the Financial District has instituted a special assessment to cover the costs of a lawsuit brought by the building to prevent a restaurant tenant from occupying the commercial space on the ground floor. One unit-owners asks Kaysen whether a board can use an assessment forcing everyone to pay for a lawsuit that not all residents actually support. Kaysen explains that condo boards are allowed to sue on behalf of the building, "even if some owners disagreed with its merits." And condo bylaws allow boards to collect common charges and special assessments. In fact, adds Marc Luxemburg, a Manhattan lawyer who represents condos and co-ops, the Business Judgment Rule makes it particularly tricky for unit-owners to challenge the board's decision in this case.

The condo board at The South Star, a 147-unit high-rise in downtown Manhattan, thought they had solved their short-term rental problem when they sent out a letter carefully detailing the consequences of nightly or weekly listings. And for the majority of unit-owners, that was enough.

However, there's always one person who thinks the rules don't apply. So what do you do when a unit-owner adamantly refuses to comply with the bylaws? Throw the book at them. Metaphorically, of course.

Affordable housing took a blow last week after the state attorney general and the state Division of Housing and Community Renewal gave Southbridge Towers in the Financial District the green light to privatize. The Downtown Express reports that residents of the more than 1,600-unit complex will be able to sell their apartments on the open market starting sometime next year. According to the official appraisal, says the report, Southbridge apartments can go for from $300,000 to more than $1 million. Now it's up to residents to either opt-in and take full ownership rights of their apartments, or stay and be subjected to rent increases under rent stabilization rules. As disappointing as the decision is for opponents of privatization, there is a silver lining for senior citizens who are enrolled in the Senior Citizen Rent Increase Exemption (SCRIE) program. They will be able to continue living in their apartments, under the program's protection, the Downtown Express added.

Weren't we just talking about the Mitchell-Lama co-ops late last month? We sure were. Only 45,400 limited-equity co-op and rental apartments in 98 buildings remain, compared to 105,000 apartments in 269 buildings in 1955 when the program began. New York State Senator Jeffrey D. Klein (D - 34th District) sponsored legislation in December to build more. Great news for supporters of Mitchell-Lama. But back in the news this week is Southbridge Towers in the Financial District, which voted for privatization just under two months ago. Residents of Southbridge are divided on the issue, reports The New York Times, adding that the "state’s Homes and Community Renewal agency is reviewing the Southbridge vote for accuracy, but has no authority to override a shareholder decision or block privatization." If it goes through, and it's certainly looking like it will, it means the more than 1,600-unit complex would become "the largest Mitchell-Lama co-op in Manhattan to privatize at a time when the city is struggling to hold onto its dwindling stock of affordable housing." And that's bad news for Senator Klein, proponents of Mitchell-Lama and middle- and working-class New Yorkers who are left vying for whatever affordable housing is left.

Updated Oct. 10, 2014 — Another limited-equity Mitchell-Lama co-op has taken its first major step toward converting to market-rate. As DNAInfo.com reports, a two-thirds majority vote of shareholders at the more than 1,600-unit Southbridge Towers in the Financial District has voted for privatization — meaning a windfall for those who paid paid $10,000 or less for an apartment bought with the understanding that in exchange for that pittance the next hardworking New Yorker needing an affordable home would have one when the current resident left. It's not quite a done deal: Two-thirds of the shareholders still have to sign an "opt-in agreement" to stay as an owner, or else opt-out to become a renter.

A misleading and in some instances factually inaccurate New York Post article regarding an Airbnb-related lawsuit was re-reported by outlets including The Real Deal, the New York Business Journal, Curbed.com, Gothamist.com, Habitatmag.com and others, creating misimpressions of the case's significance and attributing to a judge a statement he did not make.

Recent news affecting co-op / condo buyers, sellers, boards and residents. This week, a condominium board sues its developer. a co-op buyer sues a seller, and a co-op shareholder sues his neighbor. Plus, a lawyer sues his clients, whom he'd represented against a co-op board. Ah, springtime in New York!  We've also a co-op board trying to evict an agoraphobic transgender smoker, but hey, that could happen anywhere....

Lower Manhattan’s iconic Woolworth Building is poised to break a price record: Developer Alchemy Properties is listing the penthouse apartment, a mammoth nine-story unit, at $110 million, according to Bloomberg Businessweek. The previous record-holder in that general area was the penthouse at the Walker Tower in Chelsea, which sold for $50.9 million in January.

Because the price for the Woolworth penthouse is only on the offering plan as of now, it’s difficult to predict whether it will actually sell for that or what the taxes might be on such an expensive condominium unit. Eric Weiss, a tax attorney and partner at the law firm of Tuchman, Korngold, Weiss, Liebman & Gelles, says even making an educated guess at the taxes is difficult because according to New York State tax law, the amount is based on not the apartment's market price but on its theoretical, "comparable" rental value. “The problem is there really isn't a rental market for that [kind of unit],” he says. Since the annual property-tax bill on the Walker Tower penthouse is nearly $49,000, he notes, it’s easy to imagine the Woolworth Building taxes breaking at least six figures.

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