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Roosevelt Landings: The Future Begins To Clear

Updated 5 weeks ago David Stone
Roosevelt Landings runs the full length of the Main Street canyon and is, by far, Roosevelt Island's largest residential complex.
Roosevelt Landings runs the full length of the Main Street canyon and is, by far, Roosevelt Island's largest residential complex.
© David Stone / Roosevelt Island Daily

The future of Roosevelt Landings continued taking shape at RIOC's Real Estate Development Advisory Committee (REDAC) meeting last week. If completed, a bold transfer of ownership promises to reengage with founding community values and is imminent.

As we reported in August, the sale of Roosevelt Landings -- as Eastwood, the E in the original WIRE buildings and the largest Island complex -- involves a "1960s-era city tax exemption program," according to the Wall Street Journal.

But this one's more complicated because Roosevelt Landings falls under State, not City, tax laws. A deal with RIOC and the State's Homes and Community Services has to be worked out, and according to L+M, it's nearly done.

Call, email or click the image for more details.
Call, email or click the image for more details.

To make the deal feasible for investors, among other concessions, the State must agree to freeze current tax rates for the property. HCR Commissioner RuthAnne Visnauskas's attendance at the meeting, an extremely rare occurrence, underscored the significance of the negotiations -- and their likely successful completion. 

L+M hopes to have the ownership transfer signed and sealed by the end of this month, and RIOC's full board considers enabling action on Thursday.

What's in the deal?

L+M's was not a nuts and bolts presentation, but details in the overview were promising for a return commitment to affordable housing along Main Street.

  • If completed, the agreement will maintain all Section 8 and other subsidized apartments as is through the life of the RIOC ground lease. That ends on 2068 when Roosevelt Island returns to New York City control.
  • The remaining, roughly 1/3 of Roosevelt Landings housing will remain affordable as long as the current tenants stay, and L+M will keep rent increases within Rent Control Board guidelines.
  • L+M's first step will be examining the facade and roofs to determine repairs that require early capital investment.
  • A secondary plan involves considering community spaces and how to better utilize them. "We want to find out tenant needs." Answering a question from board member Michael Shinozaki about getting a long desired lease for the Senior Center, L+M said, “There is no turnover dependent strategy. We want everyone to stay.”

Details will be worked out, and if a deal is finalized, L+M plans to hold a series of meetings with tenants to better understand their issues and concerns. Several attended the REDAC meeting to voice displeasure with current building conditions.

Continuity will be enhanced during the transition by Doryne Isley's agreement to stay on as Roosevelt Landings's onsite manager.

Consideration of a name change, back to Eastwood, is under review, L+M told The Daily

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