Rent reductions and freezes ahead for tenants, affordable housing preserved through 2098
New York, NY, January 24, 2019 – The City Council today approved an agreement to protect tenants against growing rent increases and preserve affordable housing at Waterside Plaza for 75 years. The landmark deal comes with groundbreaking tenant protections and rent relief that will ensure existing tenants in certain units can remain in the community. The deal is part of a lease extension between Waterside Plaza and New York City’s Housing Preservation and Development (HPD), and comes after a year of negotiations led by Council Member Keith Powers.
Under the agreement, 325 units will remain in the City’s affordable housing stock through 2098. All settling tenants, who lived at Waterside during the middle-income Mitchell-Lama program, will become eligible for a rent reduction, rent freeze, or limited rent increases, determined based on their income.
Waterside Plaza exited the Mitchell-Lama program in 2001. Upon departure, the settling residents faced annual increases of up to 7.25% that led to soaring rents. The new deal would address these high rents and restore affordability to affected residents.
“After a year of negotiation, we have come to a deal that will address the rent burden of existing tenants and preserve affordable housing for 75 years. This is a meaningful deal to the hundreds of families that have and will continue to call Waterside Plaza their home,” said City Council Member Keith Powers.“I am sincerely thankful to Commissioner Maria Torres-Springer of the Department of Housing Preservation and Development, Waterside Plaza owner Richard Ravitch, Janet Handal and the Waterside Tenants Association, and my colleagues for helping to shape this agreement.”
“I am delighted that we have been able to work with HPD to guarantee affordability at Waterside. This final agreement provides unprecedented rent assistance for many of the residents of Waterside, a unique community that our tenants have called home for upward of 30 years,” said Richard Ravitch, owner of Waterside Plaza. “We are incredibly grateful for the time and effort that Council Member Keith Powers and the other elected officials representing this part of the city devoted to achieve this goal.”
“I am profoundly grateful to Mayor Bill de Blasio for his leadership and commitment to helping seniors remain in their homes in the communities they helped build. We would not have arrived at this deal without the passionate advocacy of Council Member Keith Powers, and his predecessor, Dan Garodnick, and our other elected officials, including Assembly Member Harvey Epstein, Senator Brad Hoylman, Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer, and Comptroller Scott Stringer,” said Janet Handal, president of the Waterside Tenants Association. “NYC’s HPD engaged with our community, while shaping a 75-year affordability deal, to learn the needs of our seniors and craft an innovative plan that provides for lasting housing security. Thanks to HPD’s Commissioner Maria Torres-Springer, Chief of Staff Lydon Sleeper, and Assistant Commissioners Kim Darga, Jeremy Hoffman, and Margaret Brown for their exceptional work. We also extend our deep gratitude to Waterside’s owner, former Lt. Gov. Richard Ravitch and Waterside’s General Manager, Peter Davis, whose support and commitment to the residents made this deal possible. Finally, I am grateful to my fellow tenants who were unswerving in their support and dedication as we worked through the details of this groundbreaking deal.”
“Through Housing New York we are working to keep people in their homes and protect affordability across the city in developments like Waterside Plaza that anchor not just families but communities,” said New York City Department of Housing Preservation and Development (HPD) Commissioner Maria Torres-Springer. “Today’s vote will help secure the needed relief of long-term affordability for hundreds of residents at Waterside Plaza, and we look forward to working with Council Member Powers, the Waterside Tenants Association, and the owner to bring this critical agreement over the finish line for the community.”
“The Waterside Plaza deal is a shining example of how to meet the challenges of our city’s affordable housing crisis head-on,” said City Council Speaker Corey Johnson. “I congratulate Council Member Powers on this victory for his neighbors and I thank Commissioner Torres-Springer and Waterside Plaza owner Richard Ravitch for their help making this happen. This Council will always fight to protect tenants and this deal is a big win in that fight.”
“This is a huge victory for the Waterside community. This deal sets the standard as the way to preserve affordable housing by making it possible to age in place. The settling tenants of Waterside Plaza are now about to remain in their homes relieved of any rent burdens,” said Assembly Member Harvey Epstein. “Under the leadership of Council Member Keith Powers, we were able to preserve affordable housing and other benefits for settling tenants. I am happy to have been able to come together with the Waterside Tenants Association, HPD, and Waterside Management to make this happen.”
“I’m pleased that HPD, Richard Ravitch, and Waterside tenants have been able to reach an agreement that allows for tenants to benefit from a rent reset and remain in their homes for years to come,” said Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer. “Kudos to Council Member Powers and HPD for brokering this deal.”
“Waterside Plaza is not just one of our City’s greatest affordable housing complexes, but is an incredible, vibrant community. As the City’s affordability crisis worsens, with more and more New Yorkers struggling to make ends meet, it is imperative we protect affordable housing like Waterside Plaza, where seniors and families can create homes and build communities,” said Comptroller Scott M. Stringer. “Thanks to the determined efforts of Council Member Powers, State Senator Hoylman, Assemblymember Epstein, and tenant leaders – this important plan will serve the community for a long time.”
“I applaud the New York City Council and Council Member Keith Powers for their work to secure the Waterside Plaza Affordable Housing Preservation Agreement and preserve 325 units of affordable housing for generations of Waterside Plaza residents,” said Congress Member Carolyn Maloney. “This agreement is a positive step toward resolving our city’s affordability issue and helping the many New Yorkers who struggle to pay increasingly high rents throughout our city.”
“The agreement for Waterside Plaza is good news for senior housing. Not only does Waterside commit to proving 325 units of affordable housing for 75 years, but all settling tenants will be entitled to rent relief,” said State Senator Brad Hoylman. “I heartily congratulate the Waterside Tenants Association and its president Janet Handal, Council Member Keith Powers, HPD, Waterside’s owner Richard Ravitch and all my colleagues in government for a deal that will help keep senior housing in our community.”
The agreement was subject to the Uniform Land Use Review Procedure (ULURP), with support from the City Planning Commission, Community Board, Borough President, and City Council. The agreement will be sent to the Mayor for final sign off.
Waterside Plaza is a residential and business complex on the East River
in the Kips Bay neighborhood of Manhattan. Under the terms of a renegotiated
99-year lease with New York City, this deal extends the ground lease for
Waterside Plaza from 2069 to 2118, in exchange for the creation and
preservation of affordable housing. As units are vacated by current tenants,
they will be entered into a lottery-based affordable housing program.
About Council Member Keith Powers
Keith Powers is the Council Member representing Stuyvesant Town-Peter Cooper Village, Waterside Plaza, Tudor City, East Midtown, Midtown West, and parts of the Upper East Side.