June 26, 2020
Richard S. LeFrak
40 West 57th Street, 23rd Floor
New York, NY 10019
Battery Park City Authority
200 Liberty Street, 24th Floor
New York, NY 10281
Dear Chairman LeFrak and President Jones:
We write today as elected representatives of Lower Manhattan on behalf of the residents of Gateway Plaza.
On April 20th, we wrote a letter to the LeFrak Organization (see attached) requesting that you make your best efforts to reach a prompt conclusion to negotiations that would extend rent stabilization protections to eligible tenants of Gateway Plaza. We have since been encouraged to hear that both the LeFrak Organization and the Battery Park City Authority (BPCA) remain committed to the negotiations to extend such protections. We further understand that there is an expectation that any deal to do so will retroactively apply to renewed leases for tenants currently under the “quasi-rent stabilization” (QRS) agreement. While these are welcome developments, they still fall short of our collective expectations and those of Gateway Plaza’s tenants.
The lack of an agreement by June 30, the current expiration date of the QRS agreement, is deeply unsettling. As noted in our April 20 letter, tenants at Gateway Plaza are receiving renewal leases that appear to be premised on there being no agreement in place after that date. These renewal leases include substantial rent increases and a deadline of 30 days from receipt of their offers to sign the new lease, after which, they are warned, they will be considered “to have irrevocably declined renewal.” In this global pandemic, tenants face tremendous anxiety as they make decisions on these renewal leases, especially when, in many instances, the terms of those leases may effectively be changed by the terms of any new QRS deal. The added stress and uncertainty which has resulted from the lack of an agreement has left hundreds of families at Gateway Plaza in the lurch as they face the dual economic and health crises confronting our city.
We once again urge the BPCA and the LeFrak Organization, in the strongest possible terms, to swiftly conclude the negotiations. We also request, once again, that if there is no long-term agreement by June 30th, the LeFrak Organization consider granting an extension to the existing agreement, an extension of existing leases that expire on or after June 3oth under the same terms, and a waiver of the stated deadline for tenants to sign renewal leases. Please also provide an updated timeline to the Gateway tenants and to us, as to when a deal can be expected to be reached, if not by June 30th.
We appreciate your consideration. If you wish to discuss this matter, please feel free to contact any of us directly, or via Lizzie Lee of Senator Kavanagh’s office at firstname.lastname@example.org or 212-298-5565.
Gale A. Brewer
Manhattan Borough President
Margaret S. Chin
Scott M. Stringer
New York City Comptroller
cc: Rosalie Joseph, President, Gateway Plaza Tenants Association