For Brooklyn’s Starrett City, Affordability is Binding

The owners of Brooklyn’s 140-acre Starrett City, the largest federally subsidized housing complex in the country, have reached an agreement to sell the property that includes affordability provisions for working- and middle-class families, ending a years-long battle between the owners, tenant advocates, elected officials, and residents who worried that a sale would result in higher-priced units.

The deal is a victory for those who had opposed a former $1.3-billion sale agreement over worries that a high sale price would encourage a new owner to opt out of an affordable housing component and market Starrett units to a wealthier demographic. In July, the current owners picked a final roster of four potential buyers. Most of the bidders are non-profits; tax-exempt groups could finance the purchase of the Brooklyn property through the sale of bonds. The winning bidder may be announced by mid-September.

The potential sale of the 46-tower, 5,881-unit Starrett City is being described as one of the biggest real-estate deals of the year, with a price tag that, according to The New York Times, falls in the $800 million and $900 million range.

Editor’s note, 2020: A 2017 news article about Starrett City.

Matthew Brian Hersh served as senior editor at Shelterforce from March 2008 to October 2012. He studied English at Rutgers University and has spent his professional career in journalism, policy, and politics.


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