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State Agency May Help Save Failed Condos

Monday, February 01, 2010

The State of New York Mortgage Agency says it could potentially insure dozens of mortgages so failed condo projects can convert to apartment rentals. As WNYC's Cindy Rodriguez reports, that has kept one project in Brooklyn from blighting a neighborhood.

REPORTER: A144 unit building in Bushwick Brooklyn called Castlebraid is marketed as an artist colony. It boasts a recording studio, yoga classes, camera rentals and a community library. Developers envisioned it as a condo project with units selling at upwards of 300,000 dollars. Co-owner Mayer Schwartz says he never even put the condos on the market.

MAYER: Because we saw where the winds were blowing and we went with what we thought was prudent.

A one bedroom at Castlebraid is renting for 1,800 dollars. Schwartz says all but 44 units are taken. The development is not considered affordable housing, but the state's mortgage agency says other developments are. It also insured the mortgage on a failed Bronx project that went from being seven three-family homes for up to 900,000 dollars to 81 apartment rentals for homeless veterans.

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