Knickerbocker village tenants rally to stop sale to L+M Development

Photo: Karlin Chan

Exactly one year ago, we broke the news that Knickerbocker Village in the Lower East Side was exploring a potential sale to L+M Development Partners.

Hundreds of Knickerbocker tenants fear what the potential sale will mean for the housing complex and are holding a press conference later in the day to call on the Housing and Community Resources Division to stop the deal. According to a recent statement from the organized group, concerned residents fear that L+M, if successful in the purchase, will attempt to displace low-income tenants in favor of more affluent tenants; and that the sale will undermine Knickerbocker’s Article IV protections, which help maintain the bastion of affordability. (They have collected 800 signatures from the opposition in recent weeks.)

Knickerbocker Village, the sprawling campus of twelve 13-story buildings, has long been the most affordable housing option in Chinatown. Several years ago, management reportedly explored the idea of ​​a co-op conversion, a move that sparked fierce opposition and fears of potential property speculation. However, this proposal was ultimately quashed when New York State stepped in and ordered potential buyers at the time to cease and desist. Then, in 2019, the city council passed a bill that keeps the resort affordable for the next fifty years in exchange for a $3 million annual tax abatement.

This latest pending transaction follows L+M’s sale of its stake in another Two Bridges residential complex – Lands End II – for a collective $435 million.

Update by L+M: “We have appreciated the opportunity to productively engage with residents of Knickerbocker Village over the past year about our plans to preserve the entire complex as permanently affordable rental housing under the UNHCR supervision as Article IV, to eliminate large and unpredictable rent increases and to make urgently needed improvements. . The Tenants Association provided thoughtful feedback throughout our discussions and we look forward to continuing to hear them and working closely with all residents of Knickerbocker Village and local elected officials to ensure a smooth transition and essential rental stability for many years to come.

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