Handshake Agreement Reached

Bottom Line (For Now) On Westview's Affordability Exit

Updated 43 weeks ago David Stone
Westview To Stay A Vibrant Community
Westview To Stay A Vibrant Community
© David Stone / Roosevelt Island Daily

For a couple of reasons, Westview's pending exit from Mitchell-Lama into long term affordable housing is more complicated than most, specifically more so than Island House's and done in less time. So, hats off to all parties involved for moving it up to the finish line. Island House took more than two years from tenant plan approval to exit. Here's where things stand today.

Two weeks ago, everyone crucial to the deal shook hands on an agreement that needed significant concessions on all sides to serve the community by embedding affordability into Westview for decades to come. This came after RIOC President and CEO Susan Rosenthal and Westview's owner David Hirschhorn settled on terms for managing retail spaces along Main Street, including RIOC's own offices.

Obstacles and formal procedures remain, but the most formidable have been resolved.

  • Costs to current tenants will be similar to those approved in voting held by the Task Force in late 2016. Because there are legal steps that must take place first, sales of apartments aren't likely to begin for another six months.
  • RIOC beefs up its revenue with a substantial increase in ground lease payments.
  • Westview's owner takes responsibility for rental spaces on Main Street, once the deal is settled, removing the stores from the Retail Master Lease, although honoring each store's already existing, longterm leases. Westview will compensate RIOC to help offset lost revenue. The move does not signify any dissatisfaction with Hudson Related, which many agree has done a decent job in a challenging retail climate, but improves an arrangement that was overly cumbersome.
  • RIOC will remain in its present location, probably until moving into space to which they're committed in a new Southtown Building.

Those results were achieved through strenuous negotiations between RIOC, Westview owner David Hirschhorn, NYS Housing and Community Renewal and the Westview Task Force. Elected officials, especially Rebecca Seawright whose office gave tenants an experienced hand in negotiating hurdles, also stayed involved throughout.

According to those involved, it's a win all around, one of which both RIOC and Westview's owner and Task Force can be proud. A sizable chunk of community diversity has been secured.

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