Residents at BK Mitchell-Lama building weigh privatization

Vote will be held today on fate of St. James Towers
February 23, 2017 11:30AM

St. James Towers at 21 St. James Place in Clinton Hill

The shareholders at a Mitchell-Lama building in Clinton Hill will today vote on a plan that would allow them to sell off their publicly-subsidized units — potentially for great profit.

The residents at St. James Towers are considering a privatization plan for the community owned building, Crain’s reported. If the plan goes ahead, they could sell their apartments at market prices. If they vote to keep the building publicly backed, they will only be allowed to sell their shares for marginal profits. The vote scheduled for today is the second of three votes that are needed for the privatization plan to move forward. Each of the 326 units gets a vote, and two-thirds majority is needed for privatization to happen.

If residents vote in favor of selling, they could reap serious profits. Brooklyn home prices have reached record highs in recent years. The median price of a condominium in the borough was $895,000 in the fourth quarter of last year, compared to $727,500 in the same period of 2015, according to a recent Douglas Elliman report.

Letitia James (Credit: Twitter)

However, the sale of the apartments in the building would be a blow for Mayor Bill de Blasio, as affordable housing is one of his administration’s signature platforms.

Public Advocate Letitia James has implored the residents not to sell.

“What about the impact on diversity?” James said at a press conference on Wednesday. “And what about the impact on culture? Do any of you care?” [Crain’s]Miriam Hall