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My Letter to the Editor:
Your article “Divided by a Windfall” in the on November 16 Real Estate section seems to call out the pro-privatization co-operators of Southbridge Towers as profiteers getting a windfall at the cost of affordable housing. What your article neglects to mention is that going private is the natural, planned evolution of a Mitchell-Lama co-op. The law under which the Mitchell-Lama program was created gives the right for Mitchell-Lama co-ops to buy their way out of the program after 30-40 years. The reason for this is that it was understood that buildings of a certain age start to require expensive repairs and the low maintenance scenario no longer works if the building is to be self-sustaining. If buildings stay in the program, the residents will become subject to steep assessments for repairs like new windows, roofs, major repairs, etc. or the building will become derelict. An example of this is Co-Op City in the Bronx where the garage has crumbled and been closed for years since they do not have money to make the repairs. With the crisis of revenues for local and state governments, the governmental agencies that oversee the Mitchell-Lama properties no longer have funds to make low-interest loans to buildings that cannot afford their own major repairs.
The intent of the brilliantly conceived Mitchell-Lama program in the ’50s was that the monies received by the government agency from Mitchell Lama co-ops that buy out of the program is supposed to be used to build new Mitchell Lama projects and thus keep new, self-sustaining affordable housing stock coming into the market. This has never happened. Buildings going private also contribute more to the tax base as they no longer are eligible for tax breaks.
Buildings buying out of the M-L program impose flip taxes on the first sale of a unit of anywhere from 30 to 45%. These funds go to the co-op and are used for repairs and to keep maintenance reasonable.
Forcing Mitchell-Lama co-ops to stay in the program will result in buildings that cannot do necessary repairs and that eventually will become eye-sores or crumble into the ground. Residents that think that their low maintenance will continue in a building that stays in the Mitchell-Lama program past the sell-by date will face huge assessments to make necessary repairs to an aging property.
The choice to leave a Mitchell-Lama program is a right that was guaranteed by law. Politicians blocking buildings from exercising their right in the name of affordable housing are denying people their legal right. If these politicians want to support affordable housing, they should comply with the Mitchell-Lama plan, encourage buildings to follow the natural evolution of buying-out of the program and use the funds to build new Mitchell-Lama projects as was the intention of the plan. These same politicians should also not let every 6 story, rent-stabilized building in Manhattan be knocked down by greedy real estate developers to put up luxury, high-rises that no one can afford except wealthy foreigners. The tenants of the few remaining Mitchell-Lama co-ops should not bare the brunt of the city’s failure to maintain affordable housing stock.
Once again, a group who I have to assume is associated with the Anti’s is obstructing the work of the board and fighting anything that will benefit East Midtown Plaza.
I was not a fan of the board’s amendment to force cooperators to have property and liability insurance due to the additional costs to be borne by the cooperator. Upon gathering information, I realized that this action, although sure to be unpopular is beneficial to East Midtown Plaza and cooperators. The original Occupancy agreement states that the cooperator is responsible for water damage. This means that if there is a fire and the fire departments comes and sprays gallons of water in your apartment or an adjoining apartment, the water storage tank on the leaf breaches or one of our 40+ year old steel pipes springs a leak, the tenant may be responsible for tens of thousands of dollars in repairs. Without adequate property insurance, this will come out of the cooperators pocket! Forcing the cooperator to have insurance in place will also prevent the cooperator from coming after EMP for these repairs thus saving our co-op time and money to defend lawsuits.
Additionally, forcing the cooperators to have liability insurance will probably reduce EMP’s insurance premiums.
All good, right?
But once again the obstructionists have found a lawyer to comment on what they claim the board has improperly done and probably will file a suit against EMP. Every year at the EMP annual meeting, one or more of the anti’s gets up and complains about the high legal expenses. Don’t they get it that if the anti’s didn’t fight everything the Board does or the overwhelming majority of your neighbors want, EMP would not incur huge legal bills to defend the suits the obstructionists bring?
There will always be dissenting opinions on any decision. If a small minority fights every decision the majority-elected board decides on, the only result will be nothing getting accomplished.
The EMP bike rooms will be re-painted and renovated. It’s definitely overdue. The increase from $25 to $60/year is a bit steep. Encouraging use of bikes and green transportation should be encouraged! Although, we suppose the increase will encourage people to get rid of their old broken-down bikes that haven’t been used in 10 years!
Love Cafe and Bar is at 430 Second Avenue (between 24th and 25th Street) opened on Sunday, May 18. Interesting-looking menu. We can’t wait to try it. MENU-Love Cafe and Bar
Good luck and love, love, love.
Per a Memo from the Board today, EMP’s mortgages and Amalgamated loans have been re-financed at a lower rate which will save EMP a great deal of money and provided $15 Million to be used for capital projects and push back the day assessments are required if we do not go private. Congrats to the Board. May 21 Refinance Memo
New restaurant opening on 2nd Avenue between 24 & 25 Street in the old eyeglass/coin shop (What a weird combo that was!). It is unknown what kind of food this will be.
Cascabel Taqueria wants to lease the old Carvel store. They would want to put seating in the public space.
First of all, Hooray to the board for finally finding a tenant for this store. The rental income will benefit all of us here at EMP. Also, having a nice restaurant with outdoor seating would enhance the neighborhood and be a place people at EMP could enjoy. Having people dining there would probably keep away the hoards of pigeons and loud bums that hang out there now!
Apparently, there are already some obstructionists who are trying to stop Cascabel from succeeding with a flyer asking you to attempt to syop thenm form getting a liquor license which of course, a restaurant, particularly a Mexican restaurant has to have to succeed. Thsi flyer says that Cascabel features bottomless cocktails. That is not true-They only offer unlimited drinks on their weekend brunch menu and that’s with a 60 minute time limit! Really-How many Margaritas can a person drink in 60 minutes? http://www.nyctacos.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/09/02.01.14-Brunch_menu_for_print.pdf
I have a friend who lives directly across Second Avenue on the 2nd floor from the Upper East Side Cascabel. It is not noisy at all and a fun, very tasty and lovely restaurant.
Once again the ‘Pro’ Candidates win in a landslide. The ‘PRO’ candidates got 1,099 (74.4%) vs. 379 (25.6%) for ‘ANTI’ candidates (see following post for detailed results).
It would appear that this is a strong mandate for our newly minted Board to re-open the pursuit of privatization!
Jeanne Poindexter, the figurehead/spokesperson for the ANTI’s got 145 votes, lower than her average of 179 the last 6 times she has ran since 2006 and way below her high of 261 in 2006.
Great showing by newcomer Mala Mosher with 300 votes. Since 2005, the highest number of votes for any candidate was for Alan Rosof in 2008 with 373 followed closely by Jerry Fox, also in 2008 with 372.
Election of the Board of Directors (5):
Mala Mosher 300
Steven Goldstein 285
Janice Kabel 273
Mark Andermanis 270
Larry Weiner 271
Jeanne Poindexter 145
Aaron Olivo 125
Helen Krackow 135
Vincent DeMarco 109
First Sale Capital Assessment
Total Proxies: 264
Machine Votes: 159
TOTAL VOTES: 423
Phase 1 of the rehab project of the EMP garage got under way on December 9 and should take 6 months. Phase 2 will be done in conjunction with the plaza repair and will begin at a later date. Cooperators with cars in the garage will be given 2 weeks notice of when they need to move their cars.