Housing deal provides landmark rent protections for tenants,
preserves affordable housing through 2098
New York, NY, August 8, 2018 – City Council Member Keith Powers today announced support of an agreement to preserve affordable housing units at Waterside Plaza through the year 2098. The Waterside Tenants Association voted unanimously to support the proposed deal on Monday, August 6. The deal comes with groundbreaking tenant protections and rent relief that will ensure existing tenants can remain in the community despite rising rents. The proposed agreement is contracted between Waterside Plaza and New York City’s Department of Housing Preservation and Development (HPD).
City Council Member Keith Powers, Assembly Member Harvey Epstein, and the Waterside Tenants Association (WTA), led by Janet Handal, partnered in negotiating the deal, alongside local elected officials Borough President Gale Brewer, New York City Comptroller Scott Stringer, Congress Member Carolyn Maloney, and State Senator Brad Hoylman.
The proposed agreement has to be approved through the Uniform Land Use Review Procedure (ULURP), which includes approval from the City Planning Commission, Community Board, Borough President, City Council, and the Mayor. The agreement is subject to approval by the full New York City Council.
The plan will halt the loss of affordable housing in the neighborhood and protect tenants against growing rent increases that have jeopardized affordability. Under the agreement, the 325 affordable housing units will remain in the City’s affordable housing stock through 2098. All existing tenants will be eligible for rent relief, including a rent reduction, rent freeze, or reduced rent increases. If the proposed deal is to go through, some tenants will see their rent cut in half, or reduced by more than that, based on income and rent burden.
“The preservation deal is groundbreaking and ensures that hundreds of tenants will be able to call Waterside home for the years to come. This deal upholds the City’s goal to preserve affordable housing and to allow New Yorkers to remain in their community,” said City Council Member Keith Powers. “Today’s deal comes after months of negotiation and discussion among all interested parties. I am sincerely thankful to Commissioner Maria Torres-Springer of the Department of Housing Preservation, 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 provide continued affordability at Waterside. This agreement provides unprecedented rent assistance for many of the residents of Waterside, some of whom have lived here for over 30 years,” said Richard Ravitch, owner of Waterside Plaza. “We are incredibly grateful for the time and effort that Councilman Keith Powers and the other elected officials representing this part of the city devoted to achieve this goal. In addition to Councilman Powers and his staff, we especially want to thank the efforts of our local elected representatives, Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer, New York State Assemblyman Harvey Epstein, and New York State Senator Brad Holyman.”
“I am grateful to so many people who collaborated to shape such an innovative agreement. Special thanks to HPD’s Commissioner, Maria Springer-Torres, and staff Kim Darga and Jeremy Hoffman; Waterside Plaza’s owner, Richard Ravitch, and its general manager Peter Davis; and our elected officials, especially our City Council Member, Keith Powers, and State Assembly Member Harvey Epstein and NYC Comptroller Scott Stringer,” said Janet Handal, president of the Waterside Tenants Association. “This agreement will enable our seniors, many of whom have lived at Waterside for 40-plus years and raised families here, to age in place in the homes in which they have lived in for decades and remain in the community they helped to build.”
“A key goal of Housing New York is to keep residents in their home and seize opportunities to protect affordability in developments like Waterside that anchor not just families but communities,” said New York City Department of Housing Preservation and Development (HPD) Commissioner Maria Torres-Springer. “We look forward to continuing our work with Council Member Powers, local elected officials, the Waterside Tenants Association, and the owner to navigate the necessary steps to secure long-term affordability for the many low-, moderate-, and middle-income residents and seniors at this development.”
“By preserving affordable housing for our seniors and other residents by providing rent relief and other benefits to settling tenants, we’re ensuring Waterside remains affordable and continues to live up to its reputation as a strong respectful community,” said Assembly Member Harvey Epstein. “It has been an honor to sit at the table with the Waterside Tenants Association, HPD, and Waterside management to help create this agreement. I want to thank Council Member Keith Powers for his leadership in this project.”
“This agreement will help many tenants remain in their homes and help many working seniors continue to reside at Waterside,” said Manhattan Borough President Gale A. Brewer. “This deal is a testament to what’s possible when responsible landlords work with organized tenants, HPD, and local elected officials to do the right thing.”
“Waterside Plaza is a special community that was foundational to our City’s great affordable housing initiative – the Mitchell Lama program. As it gets harder than ever to afford living in our City, plans like this one that will keep hundreds of New Yorkers, including many seniors, in their homes are good deals for our communities,” saidComptroller Scott M. Stringer. “We must support the people who helped build our communities, and ensure they can stay in the neighborhoods they helped make great. After tough negotiations and with the determined efforts of Council Member Powers, Assembly Member Epstein, and tenants leaders – this plan will serve the community for a long time.”
“The proposed 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.”
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 Council Member covering Stuyvesant Town-Peter Cooper Village, Waterside Plaza, Tudor City, East Midtown, Midtown West, and parts of the Upper East Side.
About Waterside Tenants Association
The Waterside Tenants Association (WTA) was formed in 1974 to represent tenant interests at Waterside Plaza. WTA works collaboratively with the building management and city, state and federal elected and agency officials to represent the collective interests and quality of life of residents and our neighborhood community.http://wtatenants.org/