Cuomo announces deal to keep 360 Roosevelt Island apartments affordable for 30 more years

Posted On Mon, August 13, 2018 By

Posted On Mon, August 13, 2018 By In affordable housing, Policy, Roosevelt Island

Aerial view of Roosevelt Island. Image: Schizoform via Flickr.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced Sunday that an agreement had been reached to keep over 360 Roosevelt Island apartments in the Westview housing development, currently in the Mitchell-Lama rental program, affordable for 30 more years. Without the agreement, the Westview’s owner could have removed the building from the middle-class housing program and converted all of the apartments to market rate immediately. Instead, Westview will be able to exit from the Mitchell-Lama program but tenants will be offered first-time ownership opportunities at deeply affordable and below-market prices. Simultaneously, long-term affordability protections will be provided for tenants who continue to rent.

The 361-apartment complex consisting of two 19-story buildings was completed in 1976. The agreement between the owner of the complex, North Town Phase III Houses, Inc., the Westview tenants association and a multi-agency working group has resulted in an affordability plan which will remain in effect through 2048.

While Westview will exit the Mitchell-Lama program, which has provided tax breaks and low-interest mortgages to building owners who offered reasonably-priced rentals and co-ops to middle-income New Yorkers, qualified residents will be able to buy their apartments at about 30 percent of market value based on market price-per-square-foot. For residents who wish to remain as renters, rent increases will be tied to their income and to the increases for rent-stabilized apartments in the New York City metro area set by the Rent Guidelines Board.

Cuomo said, “This agreement is a major step forward in our efforts to continue to provide quality, affordable housing for New York’s middle-class families. By investing in restoration efforts to sustain the Mitchell-Lama program, we are able to preserve apartments such as Westview for New York’s hard-working residents and ensure a better, brighter future for the community for years to come.”

According to the deal, the Westview’s owners must also make a $6 million contribution to the building’s capital reserve fund, with another $3.6 million to be deposited into a fund that goes toward tenant association and building-related expenses.

Opher Pail, a co-chair of the Westview Task Force, said in a statement, “This agreement is great news for Roosevelt Island and a win-win for Westview tenants who will be able to continue living comfortably and affordably in their homes. Without this agreement, tenants would have been faced with devastating rent hikes.”

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Neighborhoods : Roosevelt Island

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