BFC Partners gives away East Village condos for $10 each

June 13, 2011 12:48AM

Nine tenants in two adjoining buildings at the corner of Second Avenue and East 1st Street will have the opportunity to purchase apartments in a new 12-story 60-unit condominium building when it opens on the site in two years for just $10 (tax-free), Crain’s reported. However, the former residents of the buildings housing the soon-to-be-demolished Mars Bar are not thrilled at the arrangement.

For developer BFC Partners, the deal makes good financial sense, Crain’s said. With a 1,261-square-foot, two-bedroom Apartment Across The Street renting for $7,955 a month, the market-rate condos should make enough profit to allow for affordable units, making government subsidy unnecessary. It is more economical to build a new building and use market-rate rentals to subsidize free apartments for the tenants than to rehabilitate their five- and three-story structures.

Thirteen of the 60 apartments, including those going to the former tenants, will be designated for affordable housing. The other four will be sold by lottery for $150,000 each to people making less than $64,000, said BFC.

For the current tenants, the deal marks the end of a long battle against gentrification in the area. The last decade saw developer Avalon Bay Communities build four luxury buildings and Whole Foods Market move into one on East Houston Street in 2007.

“Look at this stuff all around us, all these high-rises. Everywhere you look. Behind us. West of us,” said John Vaccaro, 81, the lone tenant willing to be interviewed. “It bothers me that New York has changed so much. It’s not the New York I came to.” [Crain’s]