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Blackstone, Taconic Among Landlords Who Quietly Met With Housing Advocates Over Rent Regulations

Stuyvesant Town

With new laws that limit how landlords can increase rent in stabilized buildings looming, major real estate companies met privately with affordable housing advocates to try to find a solution that suits everyone.

Blackstone Group, A&E Real Estate Holdings and Taconic Investment Partners met with the groups at a private meeting in March, but were told to keep the discussions under wraps, Gothamist reports. Partnership for New York City arranged the meeting, which was attended by nonprofits like Community Service Society of New York and Enterprise Community Partners, according to the publication.

“It was an exchange of views among those who will be affected,” Partnership CEO Kathryn Wylde told Gothamist, adding that groups that she considered “fair and thoughtful” on the matter were invited to join.

There are around 1 million rent-regulated apartments in New York City, and the regulations governing those units are set to expire on June 15.

Lawmakers are looking to make major changes to curtail the ways landlords can legally increase rents on regulated apartments, including the possible elimination of vacancy decontrol — which allows for apartments to be destabilized if the rent hits the luxury deregulation threshold of $2,733 and the unit becomes vacant.

Rules that allow landlords to increase rent if they undertake major improvements on units may also be removed. The uncertainty around the laws is said to have slowed the investment sales market in the city, with some developers describing the market as “frozen."

There were $3.7B worth of sales across all asset types last quarter in the borough, across some 79 transactions, a 13% dip from 2018, according to Avison Young. 

Blackstone owns Stuyvesant Town-Peter Cooper Village, and agreed in 2015 to keep 5,000 units there affordable. Taconic Investment Partners has a workforce housing fund, which it has stopped deploying until further notice. A&E is a major multifamily landlord that has been expanding significantly in the city in recent years.