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Landlord drops challenge to rent-stabilization at Manhattan’s biggest apartment

Roughly 11,200 apartments at Manhattan’s Stuyvesant Town-Peter Cooper Village complex will remain permanently rent-stabilized after the landlord dropped its attempts to overturn a landmark court ruling on Saturday.

Private equity firm Blackstone purchased the sprawling property for $5.4 billion in 2015, with plans to lift more than half its apartments out of rent-stabilization under the terms of a deal brokered by the city. State law forbids landlords of rent-stabilized apartments from raising rents above a modest percentage set by a city panel each year.

Tenants sued Blackstone to keep their apartments rent-stabilized in 2020 under newly enacted state laws that expanded tenant protections. A judge sided with the tenants last year, prompting Blackstone, one of the world’s biggest real estate firms, to appeal the decision.

But Blackstone said on Saturday that it was dropping the appeal, and pointed to its “unwavering commitment” to the complex’s tenants.

“We were simply preserving our options in the event future court decisions were made that would impact this case,” said Blackstone spokesperson Jillian Kary. “However, we did not ever have plans to change how we treat rent-stabilized apartments at Stuy-Town.”

Tenants of Manhattan’s largest apartment complex celebrated the decision on Saturday night.

“This is really good news. It means that all the apartments in Stuy-Town, not just some, are covered by rent stabilization and all the protections that it guarantees,” said Councilmember Keith Powers, a lifelong Stuy-Town resident. “For a long time, there has been uncertainty over the status of nearly half the apartments.”

Blackstone’s decision to drop its appeal comes less than a week after the U.S. Supreme Court rejected a pair of challenges to New York’s rent-stabilization laws, which limit rent increases on nearly 1 million apartments in the city.

Tenant Association President Susan Steinberg said she felt “relief and joy” in the wake of Blackstone’s decision.

“We’re talking about thousands of residents who no longer have to fear that they’re going to have to move,” Steinberg said. “These people would have been unfairly targeted, when in fact they should remain rent-stabilized.”

Stuy-Town and Peter Cooper Village were built in the mid-1940s as a community for white, middle-class tenants, many of whom were World War II veterans. Their original owner MetLife dropped its discriminatory policies in 1952 following intense activism by some local residents.

Around 28,000 people live in 110 buildings across the campus, which stretches from First Avenue to Avenue C and between East 14th and East 23rd streets.

Read More: Landlord drops challenge to rent-stabilization at Manhattan’s biggest apartment

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