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LES's Knickerbocker Village Set for Buyout Battle?

These hulking masses, bearing the addresses 10, 20, 30 and 40 Monroe Street, make up the Knickerbocker Village deep on the Lower East Side. Per a Real Deal report, the complex—built during the Great Depression to offer affordable housing—is looking like it could become the next great Manhattan rental buyout battle. Knickerbocker residents say that a NYC-based real estate company approached them last month about buying the 1,590-unit rental complex, offering $250 million—a price the residents rejected. Yet the residents, who don't seem to outright own the complex, have been agitating themselves for deregulation which would, presumably, bring their apartments into the free market and result in a windfall for all involved. Maybe?

Reports the Real Deal's Adam Pincus:

Knickerbocker Village, completed in 1934, is a limited dividend housing development subject to regulation by state housing law, and owned by Knickerbocker Village Inc, which in turn is controlled by Cherry Green Property Corp.... Knickerbocker Village's owners have been trying since at least 2002 to deregulate the apartments, which were developed under 1926 affordable-housing legislation that was a precursor to Mitchell-Lama. The property is now the only New York City rental subject to Article 4 under the state's Private Financing Housing Law. The only way to remove the severe restrictions of an Article 4 rental is to convert the apartments into Article 4 co-ops and then deregulate them, which is why the real estate company was talking to the tenants association, [Knickerbocker Tenant Association's Bob] Wilson said.

[Cherry Green Property's Robert] Gershon said a change in ownership was not up to the tenants. "If you are listening to the tenants' propaganda then you are off the mark," he said. Department of Housing and Community Renewal spokesman Dan Irizarry said there appeared to be no precedent for a conversion from an Article 4 rental to an Article 4 co-op. It was not immediately known how the process, if it is allowed, would proceed.

So this'll be a fun one to keep an eye on, eh? History buffs, meantime, would do well to check out Phillip Lopate's history of the complex, and the neighborhood it replaced.
· Firm looks to buy out LES's Knickerbocker Village for $250M [The Real Deal]
· Knickerbocker Village [Mr. Beller's Neighborhood]