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Southbridge Towers Owners Face Game-Changing Decision

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The Southbridge Towers saga has everything we like to see in a real estate story: tax battles, gag orders, possible profitable-in-this-market apartment sales, and old people calling each other names. The residents of FiDi's 90 Beekman Street towers, as Downtown Express explains in an exhaustive piece, will have the chance to vote, probably next year, on whether the complex, which is right near the South Street Seaport, should leave the Mitchell-Lama affordability program. And oh, if it does! Residents could sell their apartments at a profit, for six-figure prices, or leave them to non-resident heirs. But they'd also be on the hook for higher taxes, or for flip taxes if they choose to sell. The stakes are high, because, as Victor Papa, one former member of the towers' board, put it, "You cannot turn back. You cannot return to Mitchell-Lama." And even with months to go, residents are tight-lipped with their opinions for fear of ruining their friendly poker games. Otherwise, the games go down something like this: "One side calls the other side stupid, and the other side calls the one side crazy," a white-haired woman said. "Either you're crazy or you're stupid. No thank you."
· A gamble or a sure thing? [Downtown Express]