Three Borough Pool
The “Three Borough Pool” is a group of 42 buildings (1593 units) spread across Manhattan, Brooklyn, and the Bronx, owned by several private equity companies: (1) Normandy Real Estate, (2) Vantage Properties, (3) Westbrook Partners, and (4) David Kramer. Kramer is also the President of Colonial Management (the management company for the entire portfolio).
Most of the buildings are rent regulated, but there are also five Project Based Section 8 properties that are affordable housing subsidized by HUD.
The joint venture of the four owners took control of the properties and in 2007 bundled the separate mortgages into one $133 mortgage with Barclays Capital who packaged the mortgages into a CMBS. The financing was based on false assumptions of increased revenue, something that would only be possible through significant tenant turnover in properties that were 94% occupied.
Unsurprisingly, in 2010 the mortgage was in immediate default and the Three Borough Pool was separated from the rest of the CMBS, and put into special servicing with a group called LNR Partners. The mortgage became due in full in 2012, but it took until April of this year for LNR started foreclosure proceedings against the owners.
Conditions of the buildings have declined since these group took over ownership and management of the buildings. Currently there are over 2,700 HPD violations on the buildings.
The tenants in several of these buildings are organizing in hopes of a responsible landlord being able to take over the buildings and bring them back to good condition while keeping them affordable for the families who live in the portfolio.
LNR partners as the mortgage holder could potentially sell the properties, the tenants want them to work out a deal that would put the buildings in the hands of a responsible developer and reduce the debt to a level that is supportable.
UHAB is working with a coalition of housing organizations, including CASA New Settlement, Tenants and Neighbors, Pratt Area Community Council, Northwest Bronx Community & Clergy Coalition, New York Communities for Change, towards a preservation outcome that makes these buildings permanently affordable for the families who live in them.
For more information about this campaign, read here.
Crown Heights Tenant Union
The Crown Heights Tenant Union is a coalition of tenant associations in Crown Heights that formed in October 2013 in response to rampant gentrification in the neighborhood. The CHTU has issued a comprehensive list of demands, and is fighting the cycle of displacement and overcharges that tenants in the neighborhood are facing. We have identified BCB Capital and ZT Realty as two of our major targets. UHAB is an ally of the CHTU; we are providing technical assistance and organizing training to the entirely member driven process.
Stabilis Capital is a predatory equity actor that has emerged as a buyer of multifamily debt on distressed properties in foreclosure. Their business model includes pressuring rent regulated tenants to leave – through unlawful evictions, total lack of repairs, and criminal negligence. UHAB is organizing tenant associations in 7 distressed properties owned or controlled by Stabilis Capital, where tenants are fighting for a preservation outcome and a say in how their buildings are managed.