Tribeca Citizen | Istiqlal Plaza planning a new tower?
Now I’ve heard this as a rumor from three sources and semi-confirmation from an official source that Vornado Realty Trust, the majority owner of Independence Plaza, and Stellar Management are planning to build at least one new tower in the nearly empty area of the plaza where PS 150 used to be, at the top From the stairs in Jay.
Many tenants have written to me to tell me that ‘friends’ who live in the townhouses have been approached to buy, but finally one of the current tenants told me that in fact the townhouse lease had not been renewed and it was common knowledge the complex was cleared one at a time After another. Stellar Management, which manages the property, has installed staff in some of the homes, but most of the long-time tenants are gone, he said.
He said that the plan aims to build an additional tower in the square located in Greenwich. There is another elevated plaza in Franklin.
“Once the family south of me buys out, everyone will be gone except the ones who live on Greenwich Street, who are the ones holding out,” said the current tenant who contacted me, who has lived there for 11 years and has spent two. The lease expires next June (they are leaving early as of December). “It’s very clear what the plans are. They have three towers here, and there were supposed to be nine.
Independence Plaza consists of three 39-storey residential towers containing 1,300 residential units. 40 Harrison, 80 N. Moore, and 310 Greenwich, along with “townhouses” that are low in Greenwich and set back from street level in public squares. The complex was built in 1974, with funding from the state’s Mitchell-Lama Program, where developers received tax abatements and low-interest mortgages backed by the federal, state or city government. (This is a great advantage some of the original tenants have). But when the mortgage was paid off, landlords could leave the program and apartments were opened up to market rates. The original tenants who remained, called LAP (Landlord Assistance Program) tenants, had their rent regulated as part of an agreement at the time. There are also Section 8 tenants.
When The Times covered the neighborhood in 1983 in an article titled “If You’re Thinking of Living in…”, the complex was beginning to sprout, having failed to function as a market-rate development when it was built. From the Times: “We weren’t able to market the apartments at that time with open market leasing,” said Jerome Belson, president of Jerome Belson Associates, which manages the complex. ‘Today we can. The area has improved greatly. “Rents are low — unsubsidized people pay a maximum of $913 for a three-bedroom — but the waiting list for apartments is nearly five years long.”
Adding another tower (or two) would be amazing, to say the least. But it looks like it might be upon us.
“It will take some time to buy out all the remaining people assuming they can. Let’s assume the remaining people age out. But it could be in the seven figures,” the current tenant said. “It’s a waiting game now between Vornado, Stellar and the tenants.”