“We thought they would like to do something that was preservation-minded, but it was quite a bit of a struggle-quite a bit,” Dina Levy, policy and organizing director for the Urban Homesteading Assistance Board, a nonprofit group involved, said of Fannie.
Still, Fannie and Freddie also receive much pressure in Washington to achieve financially solvency, a competing aim of theirs.
And Then There’s Mike …
Then there is the issue of the Bloomberg administration, and what role it will play, if any. Officials there are looking at the property closely, though it is premature to say how they could intervene if they wanted to, as, for now, it is a fully private deal. In 2006, administration officials looked at backing a tenant-led effort to buy the property, but ultimately backed off, preferring to direct its housing money for building new units in the outer boroughs as opposed to affordability preservation in the Manhattan property, which officials said at the time was more expensive.
Costs of preservation at the complex have fallen, though, and last week the commissioner of the city’s Department of Housing Preservation and Development, Rafael Cestero, issued a statement saying it is the city’s “overriding concern” that the apartments at Stuy Town “remain a key component of the city’s affordable-housing stock for generations to come.”
Of course, whatever occurs from the restructuring, it’s not going to happen overnight, and it could easily remain a private transaction. All the bullhorns and bluster demanding affordability in 2006 had no effect on the result, and the private firms that have the most at risk generally have an obligation to see the maximum return.