The Roosevelt Island Operating Corporation has scheduled a special Board meeting for Monday, July 23, to vote on an amendment to the Westview ground lease. This means that years of negotiation regarding Westview's exit from the Mitchell-Lama affordable housing program could finally be coming to a close.
The ground lease negotiation has been one of several issues holding up the building's privatization process. Its potential resolution suggests that the privatization plan is nearing a deal, as RIOC's ground lease terms have been contingent on the building remaining affordable.
On Wednesday, RIOC's Real Estate Development Advisory Committee spent their entire meeting discussing Westview in executive session. The resulting amendment has not yet been released. The meeting is open to the public and will be held at the Roosevelt Island Cultural Center, 548 Main Street.
Assembly member Rebecca Seawright poses with Westview Task Force members and tenants at June 28 Town Hall
At the June 28 Town Hall meeting with elected officials, many Westview residents turned out to express their frustration with the stalled privatization plan. Tenants carried signs stating Don't Screw Westview and Save Our Homes. One resident, who blamed RIOC for the delay, went so far as to ask whether it wasn't time to give Roosevelt Island back to the City of New York.
When Assembly Member Rebecca Seawright arrived, she addressed Westview residents, saying, "You should be upset; you should be angry. I'm angry along with you."
Westview resident holds sign at June 28 Town Hall
In the intervening weeks, Westview tenants have continued to scramble for information with little success. At a Westview Task Force Meeting, July 10, only one Westview Task Force member attended, explaining there were no updates. Among the issues concerning tenants are potential rent increases and the question of whether they will have the opportunity to downsize or switch apartments prior to purchasing.
A July 16 meeting brought together the Island's elected officials along with New York State Homes and Community Renewal (HCR) Commissioner RuthAnn Visnauskas, Deputy Commissioner Betsy Mallow, and Attorney Mark Colon. The meeting didn't include Westview owner, David Hirschorn, or any representative from the Westview Task Force.
HCR has invited Westview tenants to a public information meeting at 6:30 p.m. Monday, in the Good Shepherd Community Center, following the RIOC meeting.