Assemblyman Sheldon Silver And The Battery Park City Authority Announce An Agreement That Will Save Residents From Massive Ground Rent Increases

May 10, 2011
Assemblyman Sheldon Silver and the Battery Park City Authority (BPCA) announced that an agreement has been reached between the BPCA and 11 condominium buildings, saving residents hundreds of millions of dollars and keeping Battery Park City affordable for thousands of families.

The agreement, which the BPCA Board of Directors approved today, will bring crucial stability to the Battery Park City housing market.

"Because of the agreement that was finalized today, families in Battery Park City will be able to stay in their homes and will not be hit with the crippling financial hardships they would otherwise be facing," Silver said. "This agreement ensures that Battery Park City remains the world-class community that it is and provides the kind of stability that lenders look for when providing financing to those who wish to move into Battery Park City."

"Today’s agreement demonstrates the Battery Park City Authority’s commitment to ensuring long term stability and affordability for families who live, work and enjoy this incredible neighborhood," said William C. Thompson, Jr., Chairman of the Board of The Hugh L. Carey Battery Park City Authority. "This has been a great collaborative effort and I look forward to continuing to work with Assembly Speaker Silver and the entire community as we begin a new and exciting chapter in the history of Battery Park City."

The 11 buildings were represented in the negotiations by the Battery Park City Homeowners Coalition.

"Speaker Silver has once again demonstrated his strong advocacy for the residents of our growing community and his commitment to keeping it affordable. After the Battery Park City Homeowners Coalition and BPCA reached an impasse in negotiations to mitigate impending huge increases in ground rent, Speaker Silver stepped in and made this agreement happen," said Gene Glazer, president of the Regatta Board of Managers and a leader of the Homeowners Coalition. "The Homeowners Coalition also would like to thank BPCA Chair William C. Thompson, Jr., the BPCA Board, President Gayle Horwitz and the BPCA staff for their courage, foresight and professionalism in recognizing the need for establishing a fairer, more rational ground rent formula."

"Speaker Silver demonstrated dedication and professionalism in this complex ground rent challenge. He is a true public servant in the finest definition of that term," said Pat Smith, vice president of the Battery Pointe Board of Managers and a member of the Homeowners Coalition negotiating committee. "Under the old ground rent formula, many Battery Park City families with children and older residents on fixed incomes would have been forced to sell their homes. Thanks to Speaker Silver, these homeowners will be able to remain in our community."

Condominium buildings in Battery Park City lease the land they are built on from the BPCA and those costs are shouldered by individual owners in the form of annual ground rents. Under the terms of the previous ground lease agreement, the 11 buildings would have paid $804 million to the BPCA over the next 30 years.

Under the agreement negotiated by Silver and approved by all 11 condo boards as well as the BPCA, the buildings will pay $525 million over 30 years. That is a savings of about 35 percent. Ground rents were subject to market fluctuations and this agreement will set fixed increases over the next 30 years, bringing long-term stability to the Battery Park City community.