More about those air rights

By Sabina Mollot

As part of its $5.45 billion sale of Stuyvesant Town/Peter Cooper Village, new owner Blackstone has also acquired the property’s air rights. Blackstone has said those will be used elsewhere in the city and has committed not to build over ST/PCV’s open spaces or to redevelop existing structures.

Recently, the New York Post’s Lois Weiss noted that those air or redevelopment rights (roughly one million square feet) include about 250,000 square feet that have been retained through a Stuyvesant Town associated LLC. These include 200,000 square feet for a community facility, 25,000 for residential and 25,000 for commercial, the Post said, adding that the rights could be worth $625 million.

Additionally, Weiss later reported that the aforementioned figures actually fell short of the actual amount of air rights — that, according to Comptroller Scott Stringer, there were actually 10.7 million square feet of transferable air or development rights. This meant that even at a discounted rate, they could fetch an addition $1 million.

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Editorial: A kinder, gentler Andrew Cuomo?

Jan14 Cuomo

Governor Andrew Cuomo sits front and center during the passage of last year’s “Big Ugly” (Photo via Governor Cuomo)

Renters in New York have had good reason to be skeptical of anything that gets said by Andrew Cuomo.

Last year, as corruption scandals erupted around him involving two house leaders, he only chirped briefly about ethics reform but didn’t elaborate on what this meant he would do. Additionally, as rent regulations were up for renewal, he implied this was a job for the two chambers, rather than the state’s top elected official, to handle, and acted as if simply passing them as they were was being pro-tenant. He changed his tune a couple of times, at first saying there was too much chaos in Albany for him to focus on the rent laws, then later said he would strengthen them. Ultimately, the laws were slightly strengthened in a legislative package dubbed the “Big Ugly” by tenant advocates.

But in this New Year, New Yorkers got to see a more compassionate side to the governor in his State of the State address. Along with calling for long-awaited ethics reforms in the state capitol, including closure of the LLC Loophole, Cuomo discussed the importance of things like paid family leave and spending time with loved ones before it’s too late.

He recalled how when his father Mario’s health was declining before his death a year ago, the “indignity of his bodily failures” was difficult for his father to handle. Cuomo said he kept trying to motivate him by giving him reasons he was needed, but ultimately the younger Cuomo chose not to take more time off to spend with his father during that period.

“It’s a mistake I blame myself for every day,” said Cuomo, before making a case for passing family leave. “A lot of people don’t have a choice” on taking time off, he added.

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