Christmas came about a week early for residents of the 5,881-unit Starrett City housing complex, as government officials finalized the refinancing to keep the development as the largest publicly assisted affordable housing complex in the nation.
Under the measure, the owners, Starrett City Associates (SCA), will be able to refinance the 46-tower, 140-acre residential complex and stay in the subsidized Mitchell-Lama program.
First opened in 1975, Starrett City, also known as Spring Creek Gardens, has about 90 percent of the housing units receiving some kind of subsidy.
These subsidies include the Mitchell-Lama program for moderate-income workers, the state Section 236 program, and the federal Retired Assistance Program (RAP) and Section 8 program at the sprawling 46-tower, 140-acre residential complex.
Under the finalized agreement, at least $40 million will be earmarked for repairs and improvements like the replacement of household appliances and damaged and older vinyl floor tiles in common areas, tower and garage structure repairs and replacement of substandard windows.
The legislation also gives tenants input into the allocation of the funds and works to build a strong working relationship among tenants, elected officials and owners by requiring regularly scheduled meetings between the parties.
The measure closes another chapter of an affordable housing battle that started several years ago after Starrett City Associates became eligible to opt out of the Mitchell-Lama program. This led to another firm, Clipper Equity LLC, bidding $1.3 billion for the complex, spreading fears among residents and housing advocates that the complex would go market rate.
Elected officials got involved and ultimately the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development rejected Clipper Equity, L.P.’s offer.
“Preserving affordability at Starrett City was a top priority for my administration,” said Gov. Paterson.
“Refinancing Starrett will ensure affordable housing for thousands of tenants who live in the vibrant Starrett City community, and will allow the owners to make necessary renovations without causing rents to rise,” he added.
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