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Tuesday, October 17, 2006

MetLife sells Stuyvesant Town for $5.4B

By AMY WESTFELDT, Associated Press Writer
1 hour, 27 minutes ago

NEW YORK - MetLife said Tuesday it sold Peter Cooper Village/Stuyvesant Town for $5.4 billion, ending a high-stakes bidding war that included protests from residents who wanted to stop the middle-class apartment complex in Manhattan from falling into the hands of developers.

MetLife Inc., one of the nation's top insurers, sold the complex to Tishman Speyer in a joint venture with BlackRock Realty, the real estate arm of BlackRock, Inc. The sale is expected to close later this year.
The properties together make up the largest apartment complex in Manhattan, totaling over 11,000 units, spread over 80 acres.

The complex was built in the late 1940s as housing for returning World War II veterans, and the vast majority of the units are rent-stabilized, meaning the tenants pay below market value. Peter Cooper Village/Stuyvesant Town has been called the last bastion of middle-class housing in the super-charged real estate market of Manhattan.

"As a business with deep roots in New York City, we have a sincere appreciation for these cherished neighborhoods, and we are honored to become stewards of the property," said Tishman Speyer president and CEO Jerry I. Speyer. "We are committed to working closely with residents, elected officials and community leaders to help ensure a dynamic and vibrant future for this New York community."

Speyer said the residents of rent-stabilized apartments are completely protected by the existing system.
"No one should be concerned about a sudden or dramatic shift in this neighborhood's make-up, character or charm," he said.

City Councilman Daniel Garodnick, who lives in the complex, led the tenant-backed bid of $4.5 billion for the properties. He said the thousands of tenants will work to ensure that its homes remain middle-class, and fight attempts to convert rent-stabilized apartments into luxury, market-rate ones.
"We want to know precisely how they intend to preserve the long-term affordability of the community," Garodnick said.

Tishman Speyer is one of the largest real estate companies in New York City, and its signature properties include Manhattan's Rockefeller Center and the Chrysler Building.
MetLife said it expects an after-tax gain of approximately $3 billion from the deal.

The insurance company announced in July it was evaluating whether it wanted to sell the property, whose units extend from 14th Street to 23rd Street from First Avenue to Avenue C and the FDR Drive.


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