Tivoli towers (Crown and Franklin)
  • 49 - 57 Crown Street

    This is a reasonably complex conversation, and this article does a good job of providing the foundation for it:

    http://www.nytimes.com/2010/03/31/nyregion/31landlord.html?pagewanted=all

    Fast forward to 2014....

    Despite:
    A. Receiving $ incentives to keep it Mitchell Lama, a protracted court battle and lots of work by politicians
    B. Very public "victories" claimed by Tish James and many others

    The building now has a large number of vacancies, and -hence- isn't providing the amount of affordable housing that is was designed to.

    As reported above, the current landlord (which is actually a large real estate firm, and hereafter referred to simply as LL) bought the building in a state of disrepair.

    Since this time, repairs are being made in a manner that allows the LL to move tenants from their current units into a different unit. However, the units that the tenants moved to are often smaller (1 BR vs 2 BR), and the tenants are not allowed to return to their prior units. EVER. This tactic is legal, because the tenants' household size has shrunk since they first moved in (often decades ago), and (when combined with income) one's household size dictates the unit size allowed. In light of this, many tenants have chosen to move out of the building rather than occupy a smaller apartment.

    The new LL also strictly enforces the terms of lease, whereas the prior one did not. So, tenants have been evicted for breaking house rules and late payment, whereas in the past this rarely took place.

    Likewise, the LL puts much more effort in making sure that the tenants do not exceed (or go below) the income guidelines in place for their size unit. Intensive background checks are made on existing tenants to ensure that all income is being disclosed.

    Housing advocates have watched the situation closely, and -to my knowledge- have not found that the landlord is doing anything illegal. The LL is simply fully exercising their rights, which causes lots of long term tenants to leave or be evicted.

    Now, here's the interesting part:

    The LL isn't refilling the vacant units.

    As a result of the factors above, the building has become progressively "more vacant" over the last 3 years, and is now rumored to be only about half occupied. When one thinks about it, this LL is able to put progressively more money INTO the building, while receiving progressively less rent FROM IT.

    Despite this, the LL is not taking any (low income or market rate) applications from tenants who wish to move in. The LL is preparing the units for tenants who are "unknown".

    The next move of the LL is a mystery:

    --Once all of the repairs are done, does the LL plan to fill the building with Mitchell Lama tenants, as I believe is required?

    --Does the LL plan to sell the building "in a state of good repair, but with a large number of vacancies"?

    --Does spending all of this $ on repairs allow the LL to legally escape the complex set of contracts that were signed, and effectively free the building from the rent and income limits that are presently in place?

    Needless to say, the building has lovely views of the Botanic Garden, Prospect Park, Manhattan, etc. It also is in a rapidly changing area.

  • i suspect the LL would love to see whether there is a way to " sell the building "in a state of good repair, but with a large number of vacancies" with the hopes of the future LL being bale to convert the building into market-rent units. if that can be done legally, it'd be a dream come true for them. 

    my neighbors and i will be interested in seeing how this plays out. (no, i don't live in that complex, but i do live nearby.) 


  • Cross-posting this here, because I wonder if this may shed light on why the LL doesn't seem to be in a hurry to fill vacant units in Tivoli Towers.
  • I think it is safe to assume that EVEN IF these units are eventually filled with folks who meet the existing income guidelines, the tenants will have different preferences and characteristics than the tenants who are no longer present.

    For example, while conforming with the existing regulations, the LL could (by design or mere circumstance) fill the building with tenants who are:

    -Younger.
    -More educated.
    -At the absolute top end of the income maximums.
    -Have better credit.
    -Have younger children.
    -Have fewer children.
    -more transient
    -etc

    The area businesses are all watching.

    Some are confident enough that they are actually already reconfiguring in anticipation.

  • I'm just adding some photos, and pointing out two other large developments in the immediate area that will soon have an impact:

    931 Carroll

    the Sea Crest Linen Site:
    143888-Large
    649152-Large
    686049-Large
  • That first picture (looking west on Crown Street) is old. :) Whatever was on that SE corner of Crown and Franklin has been demolished. 

  • Correct. The pictures were mostly posted to give any readers that are not familiar with this building an idea of its scale.

    BTW, I've added this site to the list of developments that I am watching closely.

    http://www.brooklynian.com/discussion/37490/the-big-6-developments-in-western-ch-in-2013-the-big-11-developments-in-2014#Item_29
  • This weekend, I heard a rumor that a few new tenants were recently placed in apartments.

    I was not able to learn the ways in which they differed from the long term tenants, but heard that the long term tenants are engaging in practices that make the new residents feel unwelcome.

    With approximately 50% of the building still occupied by long term tenants, this could become quite ugly, quite quickly.
  • Oh, I hope that is a rumor...it will be good for neither group of tenants to be divided.
  • A weird rumor at that! It would be so counterproductive for the current, long-term tenants if this were true.
  • In my experience, when such incidents occur, they are rarely "sanctioned" by all (or even most) of the long term residents. They are the actions of a subset.

    ....yes, such actions are very self defeating. I'll let you know if I am able to learn more.

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