Protesters mourn loss of affordable housing

Tenant activists gather outside an event held by the Real Estate Board of New York. (Photo courtesy of Faith in New York)

By Sabina Mollot

A group of tenant activists, dressed in black, disrupted a real estate industry luncheon in midtown last Wednesday to mourn the loss of affordable housing in the city. One of the groups organizing the effort was Faith in New York along with Tenants and Neighbors, the latter of whom have a tradition of protesting at events held by the Real Estate Board of New York.

“REBNY has led the charge for pro-gentrification and pro-displacement policies across New York for decades,” Katie Goldstein, executive director of Tenants & Neighbors later said in a written statement. “We are here standing with faith leaders and tenants across New York to mourn the death of affordable housing as we actively organize against REBNY’s policies and practices.”

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Blackstone surveys tenants on concerns

Residents tell T&V safety, maintenance should be management’s priorities

Blackstone’s Nadeem Meghji, pictured with tenants at last month’s press conference announcing the sale of Stuyvesant Town, said the owner has been asked about students more than any other subject. (Photo by Sabina Mollot)

Blackstone’s Nadeem Meghji, pictured with tenants at last month’s press conference announcing the sale of Stuyvesant Town, said the owner has been asked about students more than any other subject. (Photo by Sabina Mollot)

By Sabina Mollot

Following Blackstone’s commitment to make Stuyvesant Town/Peter Cooper Village more conducive to families and longterm tenants, a rep for the new owner told Town & Village that steps were being taken to address tenants’ concerns about student apartments and noisy neighbors.

Blackstone doesn’t actually know how many students are living in ST/PCV altogether, since that isn’t information the owner collects, but a spokesperson for Blackstone noted there is currently a block lease to New York University for about 100 apartments and another 100 to other institutions (not all academic).

The company rep, Christine Anderson, added that management is aware there are many students beyond those units, but is still in the information gathering phase with regards to concerns about students and other issues.

This month, Blackstone began leaving surveys at tenants’ doors as well as the community center and some have been emailed.

In the meantime, the owner has plans to crack down on illegal subletters and monitor noise complaints.

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Blackstone addresses tenants’ concerns

Market raters bash deal, ask for insider priority on affordable apts.,

Blackstone says students have been top complaint of residents

Assembly Member Brian Kavanagh, Blackstone senior managing director Nadeem Meghji, Department of Housing Preservation and Development Commissioner Vicki Been, Congress Member Carolyn Maloney, U.S. Senator Charles Schumer, Council Member Dan Garodnick and ST-PCV Tenants Association President Susan Steinberg listen as Mayor Bill de Blasio speaks. (Photos by Sabina Mollot)

Assembly Member Brian Kavanagh, Blackstone senior managing director Nadeem Meghji, Department of Housing Preservation and Development Commissioner Vicki Been, Congress Member Carolyn Maloney, U.S. Senator Charles Schumer, Council Member Dan Garodnick and ST-PCV Tenants Association President Susan Steinberg listen as Mayor Bill de Blasio speaks. (Photos by Sabina Mollot)

By Sabina Mollot

Following the news about a change in ownership just a few days earlier, over 500 Stuy Town residents showed up at a meeting on Saturday where a representative for the new landlord, Blackstone, answered questions.

Mayor Bill de Blasio popped by for a bit and spoke, as did U.S. Senator Charles Schumer, but the real star of the show wound up being Nadeem Meghji, senior managing director for Blackstone. Meghji started off by telling tenants at Baruch College’s auditorium that their various concerns, brought up in the days following the sale, were being taken “very seriously.” He indicated CompassRock would not continue to manage the complex, but then later said there isn’t a timeline for any change in management teams. Meghji, who was in charge of the Stuy Town deal, frequently elicited applause when responding to tenants’ questions although he admitted he didn’t yet have enough information to answer them all. He told tenants, in response to questions about student apartments, that Blackstone had been hearing about this issue more than any other.

He added that Blackstone would be seeking further tenant feedback via focus groups and a hotline.

“We know that we are going to need to earn your trust,” he said.

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