Are Mars Bar Building Tenants Really Getting $10 Luxury Apartments?

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Anyone who's ever glanced at New York City real estate was aghast at recent reports from Crain's and the New York Post that say tenants of the apartments above the soon-to-be-demolished Mars Bar will receive $10 residences in the new luxury space to be built in its stead. But after talking to residents who were unaware of that super cheap figure, we decided to investigate further to see if they really were getting $10 digs.

John Vaccaro, 81, told us last Tuesday that he didn't know about the $10 pricetag, but did know that he would be receiving an apartment in the new building. He said he wasn't sure how much he would be paying for the new apartment at 11 Second Avenue. (The new building will occupy 9 and 11-17 Second Avenue.) In fact, all of the building residents we spoke with were reticent to talk about specifics, mostly due to the fact that they didn't yet know them.

"We are going to get a new apartment, and in the meantime, they are giving us a little bit of money to find a new place, which I'm looking for," said Vaccaro, a former a theater director. "I have to be out by the end of the month."

Sitting in his expansive loft among stacks of his possessions being readied for the move, he would not specify how much money he was going to be given for the interim living arrangement. A spokesman for the Department of Housing Preservation & Development (HPD) wrote in an email that the developer is paying for all costs associated with temporary relocation.

Another resident of the building reached by phone, who did not wish to be named, had not heard about the $10 cost of the new apartments either, and a third resident also expressed confusion about the dollar-amount.

A March report from the City Planning Commission says that "qualifying returning households would be given the option to purchase an affordable unit at a nominal price," and yesterday the HPD, which develops affordable housing in the city, also used the term "nominal price."

"The $10 deal has been morphed a little over time," Press Secretary at the Manhattan Borough President's office Audrey Gelman wrote in an email. "In our recommendations, we refer to the deal as a 'nominal amount.'"

So while $10 is an easy number to pin to the deal, it is, at its core, not that simple.

According to the HPD, out of 13 affordable units that will be available for purchase in the new building, nine are set aside for the building's current occupants, who will receive the "nominal price" deal. If tenants choose to buy, they cannot resell to a higher bidder: the apartments remain affordable. The current tenants also have the option to rent.

Over the last week we left multiple messages for a representative from the developer, BFC Partners, but have not heard back. If you know anything else about the building arrangement, let us know.

Mars Bar and the apartments above are set to be demolished in August.

Willis Plummer contributed reporting.

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20 comments
Top builders in mumbai
Top builders in mumbai

Excellent post.I want to thank you for this informative read, I really appreciate sharing this great post

Rental reviews
Rental reviews

I liked out this article a sits quite descriptive with regards to the Apartments in the city of NY.

vera_ferns29
vera_ferns29

This seems to be a great article. Pretty informative and helpful. But the question still lingers on my mind - Are there really such cheap, luxurious apartments available?

Rice Jack
Rice Jack

Hey this is a very nice and quite an informative blog to read on , its really a nice one also very much informative..

Guest
Guest

" they are giving us a little bit of money to find a new place"

per VHMckenzie (aka the subway card artist -- blogs (dot)villagevoice(dot)com/runninscared/2011/04/mta_goes_after(dot)php) in the EVGrieve comments (evgrieve(dot)com/2011/06/mars-bar-will-be-torn-down-in-august(dot)html):

I bought my co-op apt. back in '89 from developers/sponsors who "bought" my building from the city for a $1.00 and then renovated it. It was a decent renovation (no shortcuts, quality materials, etc.).

There was a handful of squatters in residence at the time the sponsors purchased the building from the city. The squatters apparently agreed to leave for the duration of the renovation in exchange for the promise of an apartment once the renovation was complete. Much like the "purchase an apt. for $10" scenario cited in this article.

So, where did those squatters go during the renovation? Well, they BORROWED money from the developers/sponsors so they could pay rent and live somewhere else. Big mistake.

When the building was finished and they showed up to collect their "free" apartment, they had to pony up the money they had borrowed for their interim rent elsewhere first.

Which none of them had, of course. ...

so. maybe this will also be the case for the nine residents being offered the $10 price tag for the apts.

too good to be true

Erik Engquist
Erik Engquist

Why didn't the Voice simply call Crain's and ask for the evidence from the developer? We have it.

Esther Zuckerman
Esther Zuckerman

I spoke to your reporter and he declined to comment for the story.

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