After years of infighting, the residents of Southbridge Towers are finally almost ready to vote on whether or not they should leave the Mitchell-Lama affordability program and make millions of dollars selling their previously subsidized apartments, many of which were purchased decades ago for $10,000 or less. They just need to make sure they completely understand the offering plan, which is a slight problem because it's 900 pages and was given to them last week, as first reported by the Downtown Post. As such, they have pushed the vote back from June to July.
The plan to take the 1,651-unit complex private has been in the works for eight years, and the two sides have been at each others' throats for about that long. "One side calls the other side stupid, and the other side calls the one side crazy. Either you're crazy or you're stupid. No thank you," one resident told Downtown Express in 2009. It's not entirely clear which side is the stupid one and which one is crazy, but proponents of the plan argue that they would like to have a whole bunch of money (fair point) while opponents contend that removing over 1,600 units of affordable housing from the city would be a bad thing. "To take 1,651 apartments of affordable housing away for the sake of greed is unconscionable to me," said a member of the complex's board of directors. Still others are worried about the confusing specifics of the plan — a potential flip tax, changes to the complex's maintenance fees depending on how many apartments were sold, etc.
· Southbridge Towers Residents Debate Affordable Housing Complex's Future [DNAinfo]
· Southbridge Towers Owners Face Game-Changing Decision [Curbed]