Mitchell-calmer: Clinton Hill co-op residents vote against privatization

Mitchell-drama! Clinton Hill co-op at war over whether to cash in
Community News Group / Lauren Gill

The results are in — and “in” is the result!

Residents of a Clinton Hill Mitchell-Lama co-op on Thursday voted against the chance to sell their apartments for hundreds of thousands of dollars by leaving the below-market-rate housing program, opting instead to keep their digs cheap for future generations, according to local officials.

To move forward with privatizing the St. James Towers at St. James Place and Lafayette Avenue, two-thirds of the building’s 326 units needed to say “aye” at the vote, but that didn’t happen, according to a spokeswoman for Public Advocate Letitia James, who had been urging the denizens to say “nay.”

Under Mitchell-Lama — a program created in the 1950s to encourage middle-income New Yorkers to stay in the city — co-op shares are fixed at a dirt-cheap five-figure sum, but the units at St. James Towers could go for around $800,000 on the open market.

Thursday’s result followed a heated rally that morning, where residents of faced off waving placards and trading jibes, with those in favor of leaving saying they wanted the opportunity to benefit from the windfall, and “stay” voters arguing that opting out would rob the gentrifying neighborhood of much-needed affordable housing and push out seniors who can’t afford to pay higher maintenance bills.

Reach reporter Lauren Gill at lgill@cnglocal.com or by calling (718) 260–2511. Follow her on Twitter @laurenk_gill
Tower of power: Residents of St. James Towers voted to stay in the Mitchell-Lama program.
Community News Group / Lauren Gill