Southbridge Towers residents examine “red herring” report on privatization

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The long debate over privatization at Southbridge Towers near South Street Seaport, which contains 1,651 Mitchell-Lama co-op apartments, is heating up after a new 605-page “red herring” report was released on the issue. The report details the financial repercussions of exiting the affordable housing program and allowing the apartments to be sold at market rate. The units could go for anywhere from $260,000 for a studio apartment to $920,000 for a three-bedroom, and many residents say they would welcome the opportunity to own a valuable New York real estate asset and to be able to pass it on to family members. Others are worried about taxes under privatization, of which the government currently covers 90 percent. State Attorney General Andrew Cuomo’s office is accepting public comment on the red herring until Oct. 23, after which he will make recommendations or amendments and approve a final plan. The vote on the final plan, called the “black book,” is slated to take place next year, and would need approval from two thirds of the apartments in order to pass.

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