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2019-09-04 — gothamist.com

In what appears to be one of the most dramatic steps taken by apartment building owners in the wake of the overhaul of state rent laws, the landlord of Stuyvesant Town-Peter Cooper Village has opted to keep some of its regulated units vacant rather than potentially lock-in tenants under significantly curtailed rents.

Last week The Real Deal reported that private equity group Blackstone was "warehousing" vacated apartments and that the issue had prompted the city's housing preservation and development to review its 2015 regulatory agreement with the landlord. As part of that landmark deal, the city provided the owner with $220 million in subsidies, and in return, Blackstone agreed to keep 5,000 of the roughly 11,200 units affordable for a 20-year-span ending in 2035.

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State Assemblymember Harvey Epstein, who represents Stuy Town's district, said he had asked Blackstone about the units and said there was nothing illegal about its actions. He said he believed Blackstone officials were weighing the risk of waiting--perhaps in the hope of a change to the rent laws--versus renting the units now.

"They are making an economic calculation," he said. Nevertheless, he said that given the affordable housing crisis, the city should not allow landlords to keep units off the market.  

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