The Real Deal New York

Tenants take shares in Washington Heights building from Singer

March 22, 2012 09:00AM

Tenants of a Baruch Singer-owned apartment building in Washington Heights banned together to buy the building and convert it into a co-op. The New York Daily News reported that tenants of 652 West 160th Street raised $132,500 to purchase their shares and secured more than $7 million from public and private lenders through the Northern Manhattan Improvement Corporation to wrestle control of the building from Singer.

The residents say they have been frustrated by years of rising rents despite Singer’s lack of care for the building, which has become infested with rodents and has fallen into disrepair. But Singer, who the Daily News labeled a “slumlord,” made a failed last-ditch effort to maintain control of the building by filing for bankruptcy protection.

“It’s one of the few opportunities for permanent affordability for these types of buildings in Washington Heights,” said Jennifer Welles, the cooperative coordinator for NMIC. “Our mission is to help tenants have a voice in how their buildings are run.”

The shareholders have vowed to make regular improvements to the building. [NYDN]