Letters to the editor, Sept. 25

Conversion would allow NYU tenants to buy

To the Editor,

A letter in your Sept. 18 edition says conversion of PCVST to condos can serve to end dormitory living here by NYU undergraduates. The opposite could happen. In a conversion, existing leaseholders have the right of first refusal to buy the apartments they are leasing.

If NYU holds leases on the apartments occupied by students, NYU would have the right to buy those apartments in a conversion.  Also, NYU would be able to buy any apartments not purchased by other leaseholders. NYU obviously needs student housing in this area. A conversion could result in an increase in the number of apartments occupied by undergraduate students.

There are efforts to keep, or make, PCVST affordable housing. That’s consistent with having undergraduate students as neighbors. Students need affordable housing. NYU undergraduates will disappear from PCVST when NYU builds more dormitories, or when rents rise to a level where the owner finds it more attractive to rent to someone other than students.

Another letter in the same issue wonders what happened to the concept of converting PCVST to condominiums. The beginning point of a conversion is either a purchase of PCVST by a new owner who will pursue conversion, or a decision by the present owner to do a conversion. If the property isn’t for sale, there can’t be a new owner.  So the basic question is: How likely is it that the existing owner will sell, or convert, the property?

PCVST was built and owned by MetLife as an income producing property, because MetLife wanted a reliable source of income. When MetLife sold the property, the largest source of financing for the buyer was first mortgage bonds purchased by large institutions. They bought those bonds, because they wanted a reliable source of income, and the bonds provided that.

When the owners of the bonds took over ownership of PCVST, they acquired a property that provides the reliable source of income they want. Ownership of PCVST meets their investment objective.

The amount of income the owners can earn from the property is limited by rent stabilization, until the low interest rate J-51 financing on the property matures in June 2020 (or earlier if the J-51 financing is prepaid).  Then apartments can move to market rents as provided by New York law. Thus, in six years the owners will be able to start increasing their rental income.

The owners are large, deep pocket, institutions.  For them, six years is a reasonable wait.

As the total rental income increases, the value of the PCVST will increase. The increase in rental income will occur gradually over a considerable number of years, and the property’s value will continue to rise during those years. At some point, the owners may want to cash out, either by sale or conversion. But right now the property is meeting the owners’ investment objectives, and future of the property is positive. It will be a lot of years before the present owners sell or convert.

Floyd Smith, PCV

Barking up the wrong tree on noise complaints

Re: “Does noisy work have to be done at 7 a.m.?”, T&V, Sept. 18

To the Editor:

Mr. Cappelletti is lucky that work only begins at 7.  I on the other hand, have been awakened prior to 7 a.m. with dogs barking, anywhere from 6:30 a.m. on plus the PCV/ST trucks that pick up the recycling items backing up and then having to listen to them beeping because they’re in reverse. I face PC Road and have been awakened so many times, that I decided to keep track since a year after the hurricane. So far, I’ve kept track to the tune of nine pages and am thinking of possibly suing CW for “breach of warranty of habitability.”

I’ve called maintenance so many times and have gotten the names of so many people that I am supposed to speak with, the last one who only once or twice has returned my calls.

As to the dogs, he said there was nothing they could do. When I suggested a letter be sent out to each tenant, I was met with silence.

Marcia Robinson, PCV

The week climate change came out of the closet

Ms. Joy Garland’s “Soapbox” piece about “climate change awareness” in last week’s T&V was a harbinger of events to come in the following days. For many years there was little real controversy that it was happening and what the probable cause was.

The Koch brothers, Exxon/Mobil, BP, and… and other propagandists spent multi-millions of dollars to say that it was just a theory – not proven. But 97 percent of climatologists and other scientists said that yes, there was climate warming and the use of fossil fuels were the main culprit. In a presidential debate, Romney criticized Obama for being concerned about the oceans rising a few feet – when jobs were the salient issue.

Then this past Sunday, there were huge rallies around the world urging that something be done. Also, in the NYT it was reported that the amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere was the highest it has ever been. The CO2 blankets the Earth and keeps heat which melts the arctic ice… which increases the waters in the oceans … which causes aberrant weather patterns… more storms of greater intensity, draught, tornados, hurricanes, a negative impact on food and clean water and even political disruptions.

I have written about this often in T&V and on nytimes.com. Following Sandy, I commented on the T&V Blog that Sandy was just the first of many and the following ones would most likely be of exponentially increasing magnitude.

I have lived here for over three decades and for the first time I was called “a liar” on the blog for the above comment. The real problem is that Americans don’t understand science and how to distinguish truth from spurious information from self-serving corporations with an ax to grind.

Well, it seems that the cat is finally out of the bag! The question is: is it too late?

David Chowes, PCV

2 thoughts on “Letters to the editor, Sept. 25

  1. Sorry Floyd but CW Capital cannot own/asset manage the asset for a long duration. CW’s actions are governed by the Pooling & Services Agreement (PSA) and other “acceptable servicing practices”. CW has secured the asset via foreclosure. It’s next steps are to (1) develop a marketing strategy for the asset [this includes negotiations with the city/state regarding tax abatement/incentives] then (2) execute the strategy from closing to sale. That’s what CW is legally required to follow. And before anyone says I’m some ‘outsider’, I’ve lived here since 2001. I just happen to be a real estate professional who knows a few things about this specific area.

    So the assets will sell. Will a DiBlasio led tax incentive/abatement plan save us from some nefarious prospective bidders who could care less about the ‘community’ and are geared towards extraction of every ounce of value? Will a prospective bidder even utilize the tax incentive plan since it may be able to extract greater financial value without it? Is the upcoming bidding process simply an administrative function since Fortress (a related party of CW) has intention to acquire the assets, continue to maintain it as a rental under the policies/processes currently in place?

    And where is the TA? They begged the ‘new stabilizers’ to support their purchase plan (a plan never shared with the tenancy). Some of us new stabilizers marched on City Hall to support the TA and at the event we were never even mentioned. In fact, it seems the new TA / Garodnick-politico plan is suspiciously silent on what is exactly in it for we renters who want to buy our units. For years, the TA has lobbied the new stabilizers (Marsh term, not mine). Well, I for one am tired of their gamesmanship and ask them to detail in a future letter to the editor (or better a meeting where we can ask them questions live!) what the TA plan is for ‘home rule’. So Mr. Marsh… you have been served a request to share with the tenancy some specific details about the plan for a tenant led bid. Please respond for our benefit.

    • We have a TA? Who knew! I’m a long time tenant and I remember when we DID have a TA and it was a very good one. Whatever has taken its place operates in total silence and invisibility! I have no desire or intention to ever buy my apartment, so I guess the silent and invisible TA wouldn’t represent the likes of me, anyway.

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