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Hedge Fund Dude is Latest to Think He Can Tame Stuy Town

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For a couple of failures (at least to the folks signing the checks), the rent-stabilized fortress known as Stuyvesant Town and its brother property Peter Cooper Village continue to be pretty popular guys. Now another big name is making moves to take control of the 11,000 apartments that sold for a record $5.4 billion during the boom years and later became the industry's prime example of What Went Wrong, and we're sad to report it's not Donald Trump. It's hedge-funder Bill Ackman, last seen around these parts auctioning off a tiny Central Park West apartment with his own two hands.

Ackman's Pershing Capital Management joined with Winthrop Realty Trust to buy up $300 million worth of mezzanine debt on the property, and the firms are seeking to foreclose on the Tishman Speyer-led partnership that still technically owns the place. There are many complicated factors in this process that are better left to the Observer's Eliot Brown to explain, but all Stuy Towners will be interested in one particular juicy detail.

In announcing the Stuy Town full-court press, Ackman released a statement saying he shares the tenants' desire to convert the place into a co-op. Key section:

"We share the Tenants' Association objective to complete a non-eviction, affordable, co-op conversion of the property, which will require the restructuring of the property's first mortgage debt. Our recent experience leading the successful restructuring and recapitalization of General Growth Properties, Inc., the largest real estate restructuring ever, should prove valuable as we work to accomplish this critically important goal."Do Stuy Town tenants really have an ally in the Ackster? He just sold a 322-square-foot studio for more money than what some Stuy Towners want to pay for two-bedroom apartments, so it'll be interesting to see if the sides can become best buds.
· Ackman Enters Stuy Town Fray; Seeks Control, Supports Co-ops [NYO]
· Stuy Town coverage [Curbed]