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City Makes Deal to Help Keep Affordable Units at LES Masaryk Towers

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On Thursday, June 7, the city announced a new deal that will allow a co-op complex on the Lower East Side with over 1,000 units to stay as affordable housing for lower and middle income New Yorkers.

As several buildings pull out of the decades-old Mitchell-Lama program, it is a big win for Mayor Bill de Blasio’s affordable housing initiative that officials agreed to provide the Masaryk Towers with financing.

Masaryk Towers apartment complex may keep its over 1,000 units as affordable housing. (Photo Credit: City-Data.com)

According to Crain’s News, “The deal, which still needs to close before it becomes final, entails offering a low-interest mortgage to shareholders in the co-op, located between Pitt, Stanton, Columbia and Delancey streets, in return for affordability restrictions such as caps on buyers’ income and limits on how much sellers can profit. The nearly $45 million in financing came from the Housing Development Corp.—which essentially acts as the de Blasio administration’s affordable-housing bank—as part of a program announced last year to try to stem the loss of price-protected units.”

Back in the 1950s and 1960s, the federal government first funded the Mitchell-Lama program and created over 100,000 apartments throughout the state of New York. According to the city, just in the five boroughs alone, approximately 20,000 of those co-ops and rentals have left the program and went to market-rate. The financing for the Masaryk Towers is part of a pledge of $250 million made by de Blasio in October to try and keep 15,000 apartments in the program.

By Charles Bernstein

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