Court hands Stuyvesant Town owners huge defeat

The Court of Appeals dealt a financial blow this morning to the already beleaguered owners of the sprawling Stuyvesant Town and Peter Cooper Village complexes in Manhattan when it ruled that they improperly began charging market rents on thousands of apartments, the New York Times reports.

The ruling by the state’s highest court may mean that the current owner, a partnership of Tishman Speyer Properties and BlackRock Realty, and the former owner, Metropolitan Life, may have to pay an estimated $200 million in rent overcharges and damages to tenants of some 4,000 apartments.

The court, in a majority ruling (two of the six judges dissented), said the owners improperly raised rents beyond certain set levels at the complexes while receiving tax breaks from the city for major renovations.

The decision could also affect landlords of as many as 80,000 apartments across the city who also may have improperly raised rents and deregulated apartments while receiving special tax breaks.

Tishman Speyer Properties and BlackRock, which purchased the properties in 2006 for a record-breaking $5.4 billion, are already under enormous financial pressure. The partnership is running out of cash to pay building loans and could default within the next several months.

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Poor Stuyvesant Town is in serious trouble

The sprawling Manhattan apartment complex known as Peter Cooper Village and Stuyvesant Town – acquired for $5.4 billion in 2006 by a venture of Tishman Speyer Properties and a unit of Black Rock – is running out of cash, the Wall Street Journal reports.

As of the end of September, it had $33.7 million left of the $400 million in interest reserves set up to service its debt, according to the people familiar with the matter. At its current burn rate of about $16 million per month, the reserve could be depleted before the end of the year, the people said. Others have said the venture could avoid default until February. Continue reading