OpEd

Update: Eileen Gardiner Explains the Latest News for Westview Privatization

Updated 3 years ago Eileen Gardiner
Big Changes for a Small Island in the Big City
Big Changes for a Small Island in the Big City
Photo by George Garrigues / Used with Permission / Creative Commons License

The big news at Roosevelt Island's Westview complex is that the Westview TaskForce (WTF) Board finally broke its silence. This week, Westview tenants received the first news since May from their board, and it reflects a lot of changes. 

First of all, the full WTF Board voted in closed-door, “executive” session on Tuesday, September 6th, to accept the new “Plan,” one  that the WTF Negotiating Committee (aka “Privatization Committee”) and the Sponsor had already agreed to.

Then, the WTF delivered a door-drop to the tenants on September 9th with the details of the Plan, including a two-page cover letter, a two-page memorandum, dated September 1st, from the WTF attorneys to the WTF Board and a 32-page “Affordability Plan,”  also dated September 1st and marked “FINAL.”

Open Meeting

The WTF Board has scheduled an open meeting for Tuesday, September 13th at 8pm in the Manhattan Park Theater Club, where all questions “can be addressed by the board and our attorneys.”  

Additional meetings are promised.

Voting

Westview tenants will have the opportunity to vote on the new Plan during the weekend of September 24-25 (location and times are not specified). The election will be conducted by Roosevelt Island community members, and not residents of Westview.  

Details of the Plan

According to these documents, some key changes from the Red Herring of May 2105 should be noted:

  • Renting: The initial post-conversion rent increase has been reduced from 14.9% to 6.16%, a reduction of almost 60%.
  • Buying: The buying price has gone up a little (from $241 to $246/sf) and the monthly maintenance has come down a little (from $1.07 to $1.02/share/month).
  • Sponsor Contribution: The original sponsor contribution of $6M for building rehabilitation has more than doubled to $12.1M. The Sponsor has also agreed to some additional contributions to the Reserve Fund, subject to certain conditions. 
  • Mortgage: The $29.8M mortgage remains unchanged, although WTF noted a $3M reduction.
  • Sub-metering: Sub-metering will apply only to purchasers, not to renters.
  • Resale: A cap on the resale prices would be set to twice the inside prices, increasing at a rate of 7.5% annually.
  • Flip Taxes: WTF reported a new 60/20 flip-tax schedule, although this is the same flip-tax schedule that was included in the original “Red Herring.”

 

The Future

Recent attention focused by a Roosevelt Island Daily, What’s Going On At Westview? and another in the Main Street Wire, Deadline Close for Westview Owner on Privatization Plan, calls for greater transparency from the WTF Board. 

A quarter billion dollars is at stake. Even before the tenants vote, they need straight and complete information so they can understand their alternatives. 

Tenants will need to know clearly and quickly the results of the voting. If the Plan passes, the tenants will need to know as soon as possible when they can expect to receive the Black Book. Tenants will certainly need to know exactly what the repercussions would be of voting “No” to the Plan.

Stay tuned.

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