Cindy Rodriguez is the Urban Policy reporter for New York Public Radio.
Bidding Deadline Looms for Starrett City
Thursday, September 25, 2008
New York, NY –
Unless a last minute offer comes in today, there are two potential buyers for Brooklyn's Starrett City. WNYC's Cindy Rodriguez has on the sale of the largest subsidized housing complex in the country.
REPORTER: The first time owners attempted to sell the property the winning bid was rejected by federal housing officials after a public outcry by tenants concerned their rents would rise and they would be displaced.
The new bidding teams are mostly a mix of investors, developers and groups with strong ties to the community. Given the problems the first time around, winning over residents has become a significant part of this process.
Rev. A.R. Bernard, the head of the Christian Cultural Center, a large church complex that sits adjacent to the property, is part of one group of bidders. He says thousands of his congregants live at Starrett City and his team has built a strong relationship with the tenant association there.
BERNARD: We were the only group that I know of to actually have established a web site for them to e-mail us to share their concerns.
REPORTER: The pastor says his team wants to change Starrett by adding amenities and building on the property to make it more attractive to potential investors. The second bidding team includes the New York Central Labor Council which also says it has strong ties to residents. Executive Director Ed Ott says 1,500 union members live at Starrett City.
OTT: Which is one reason why we became interested in it. Our members like living there. They feel the place has been well run, and the labor unions been trying to figure out ways we can help on preserving affordable housing units in the city, and that's how we got involved here.
REPORTER: Ott says the property is well run and there is no need to change much about it. Last year's bid that got rejected was for $1.3 billion. And according to published reports, new bids are expected to come in at just above half that. For WNYC I'm Cindy Rodriguez.