Stretching from 14th to 20th Streets between First Avenue and Avenue C on Manhattan’s East Side, the 110-building Peter Cooper Village and Stuyvesant Town high-rise complexes comprised a vast middle-class, largely rent-regulated city-within-the-city. In both communities, renters who wanted to stay in Manhattan could live a safe, secure life within a development containing modern elevator buildings, its own security force, and 80 acres of lawn and playground space.
In recent years however, the winds of change have blown through Peter Cooper Village-Stuyvesant Town (or “PCV-ST,” for the sake of brevity). First, the owner, Metropolitan Life, announced that as apartments were vacated, they would be renovated, then decontrolled and rented as luxury apartments. In 1998, MetLife evicted doctors and dentists from the ground-floor offices many of them had occupied for more than 20 years.
“Before I moved in,” says Roberta Koza, a retired assistant principal who moved to Peter Cooper Village six years ago, “renovations had started. The hallways had been re-done. Subsequently, lobbies, elevators and the grounds have been renovated, first at Peter Cooper and now at Stuy Town. A new key card system replaced the lobby and laundry room key. It was clear that something was going on.”
Then, earlier this year, it was announced that MetLife was putting PCV-ST up for sale. The announcement sent shock waves through much of the tenant body and caused alarm among elected officials.
Finally, after a brief-but-fierce bidding war and a flurry of press coverage, MetLife agreed to sell PCV-ST for a record-setting $5.4 billion. The buyer was real estate investment giant Tishman Speyer Properties, and the sale was completed in mid-November. Tishman Speyer’s partner in the deal was BlackRock Realty, an arm of global investment management firm Black Rock Inc.