Elected officials, attorneys and advocates joined tenants from six distressed buildings in Ridgewood on Thursday to ask Stabilis Capital Management, the mortgage holder of the distressed properties to support proposals that will keep them permanently affordable.
Originally controlled by Landlord Ridgewood Realty LLC, the buildings at 1821 and 1894 Cornelia St., 1673, 1675 and 1726 Woodbine Ave. and 18-14 Linden St., were lost to foreclosure in 2007. Before that, several of the buildings landed in Department of Housing Preservation and Development’s Alternative Enforcement Program and on Public Advocate and mayoral candidate Bill de Blasio’s Worst Landlord List. The 36 rent-regulated units have racked up a total of 549 code violations.
“As a resident of 1821 Cornelia St., I am concerned about the future of these six buildings,” Denise Serrano, the tenant leader said. “I grew up in Williamsburg and thanks to rising rents my family was forced to move. I raised my children in this building and on behalf of myself and my neighbors, I do not want to see that displacement happen again here.”
Tenants including Serrano, the Urban Homesteading Assistance Board and elected officials are calling on Stabilis to support the transfer of the properties to a nonprofit developer who could provide extensive physical rehabilitation while keeping the properties affordable.
“I’m here to support my constituents and neighbors who have been suffering from these horrific and unimaginable living conditions for over five years,” Assemblyman Mike Miller (D-Woodhaven) said. “I support the transfer of these properties to a nonprofit developer who would provide the necessary repairs while keeping the rents affordable.”
City Council Speaker and mayoral candidate Christine Quinn (D-Manhattan) also attended the event and spoke on the need for the decrepit buildings to be repaired.
“Stabilis must repair these buildings or sell them to a good developer who will,” she said. “Whether these homes are in foreclosure or bankruptcy court, Stabilis’ obligation to provide services to tenants remains the same.”
Quinn also thanked Congresswoman Nydia Velazquez (D-Brooklyn, Queens), Councilwoman Diana Reyna (D-Brooklyn, Queens) and the tenants.
“Today, after months of discussion, organizing and legal advocacy, we were able to stand before Stabilis and tell them: ‘We have a plan,’” Reyna said. “We have a plan that will put an end to five years of undignified living conditions that will ensure that the future of these families remains in the buildings they call home, and that will not undermine Stabilis’ business model. We are calling on Stabilis to include the tenants in any agreement to ensure that these properties are up to code and in the hands of those who live in the buildings.”
Stabilis has yet to make a decision as to what they will do with the buildings and would not return phone calls for comment. While it is possible the company will allow residents to continue living there, ralliers suggest that they will boot the residents.