East Village’s Jupiter21 strikes unusual deal with long-term area residents

A rendering of Jupiter21
A rendering of Jupiter21

Nine long-term tenants of two East Village buildings have struck deals to buy co-op units in a new 12-story building for only $10 per apartment, the Wall Street Journal reported.

The tenants used to live near the dilapidated Mars Bar on East First Street and Second Avenue, at a time when the area had a far seedier reputation. Now they will move into Jupiter21, which boasts apartments with built-in washers and dryers, a “serenity garden,” and a rooftop lounge with a wet bar. Donald Capoccia, a principal of the developer, BFC Partners, along with partners Joseph Ferrara and Brandon Baron, told the Journal the name was chosen because “Jupiter follows Mars” — in the order of the planets.

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“We didn’t even have a bodega to buy food; now we have Whole Foods,” Gretchen Green, one of the tenants, told the Journal. “It is a different population now.”

The tenants will share the building with 51 renters who will pay between $3,000 to $10,000 a month for the market-rate apartments. Capoccia received permission to demolish some of the smaller buildings to make room for Jupiter21 after striking a deal with their tenants to provide them limited-income co-op apartments in the new building.

The site was part of the Cooper Square urban renewal area that had been languishing for several years until the city recently set up a special zoning rule that allows for a bonus in the permissible square footage of buildings that include affordable housing. This allowed the Jupiter21 project — as well as others by developers including AvalonBay Communities — to come to fruition, according to the Journal. [WSJ] –Hiten Samtani