Mathilde van Tulder
Private equity corporation Blackstone Group will acquire Stuyvesant Town-Peter Cooper Village, the 80-acre residential area that has become a popular off-campus housing option for upperclassmen at NYU in recent years, in a move announced last week. The deal cost Blackstone approximately $5.3 billion.
The purchase is part of an initiative to have roughly 5,000 of the apartments at affordable rents for lower and middle class residents of Manhattan. The initiative is set by the city, who is donating $225 million to ensure reservation of low rents. Just under half of the 11,000 total apartments are expected to be set at affordable rents for 20 to 25 years.
Paula Chirhart, a spokesperson for the Blackstone Group, said there has been a lot of instability and turnover in ownership in recent years, and the group is hoping to change that.
“When we started thinking about this opportunity, we knew we couldn’t be successful if it were just a win for us,” Chirhart said. “It has to be a win for the tenants, it has to be a win for the city, and for every partner involved.”
Not only do the complex’s affordable rents affect middle-class families and young adults, but they also affect many NYU undergraduates, graduates and alumni. Given Stuyvesant Town is home to many NYU upperclassmen, there is a lot of controversy in relation to rent prices and its effect on the student population.
NYU alumna Jhelum Bagchi thinks the move will initially benefit NYU students.
“I think renting out the apartments to NYU students is what helps keep the rents high in the neighborhood,” Bagchi said. “So if the rents are reduced to middle class rates, students might be the initial beneficiaries.”
Stuyvesant Town used to be much more residential, originally home to young families. Thus, the shift from mostly lower-class and middle-class families to university students has caused several complications, something Steinhardt sophomore Kerim Wilhelm said has become visible.
“Only recently I think have students started living here, and I can feel a kind of tension between the families that live here and the younger residents,” Wilhelm said. “This new ownership may be trying to restore this area to it’s previous ways.”
Since this is the second change in ownership in the last five years, residents in Stuyvesant Town-Peter Cooper Village can anticipate many further modifications and adjustments to come. Stern senior Vishal Khemka speculated on possible changes that the new ownership could make.
“It’s definitely interesting to see what’s going to happen in the future,” Khemka said. “I can almost see Blackstone pulling down some of the river facing buildings in favor of building some expensive riverside condos.”
However, Chirhart said the current tenants enjoy the open spaces of the area, and that the Blackstone Group would do their best to maintain the integrity of that, keeping any potential changes far in the future.
“Our intent is to really preserve the character of Stuyvesant town,” Chirhart said. “Then in the future once we’ve engaged with them more, we’d look at how we want to change things. For now, it’s really about preserving what’s there.”
Email Momachi Pabrai at [email protected]