It’s a done deal — Gateway rent agreement is signed

By Julie Shapiro

The deal to extend rent protections at Gateway Plaza finally came through, four days before the prior agreement was set to expire.

Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver announced the news last Friday, marking an end of protracted negotiations between the Battery Park City Authority and The LeFrak Organization, which owns the building. Silver helped broker the deal, which allows Gateway Plaza’s 3,500 tenants to stay in their apartments for the next 11 years with guaranteed lease renewals at stabilized rates.

Silver first announced a handshake deal between the authority and LeFrak in April, but it took another 11 weeks to finalize the terms. Jim Cavanaugh, the authority’s president, had said last week there were “a lot of little sticking points” that kept popping up like a game of Whac-A-Mole.

“It wasn’t as easy as we’d hoped, but it’s all done now,” said Paul Goldstein, director of Silver’s district office.

Ruth Ohman, a leader of Gateway’s senior-citizen residents, was relieved to hear the deal was officially signed.

“We’re off the roller coaster anyway,” she said of the ups and downs that saw tenants first celebrate the handshake deal, then grow concerned when it was not signed a week before the old agreement expired June 30. LeFrak had not renewed any leases that were up July 1 or after; those tenants, in particular, were waiting anxiously for the deal to become final.

The authority confirmed that the deal had been signed. The authority will cover the cost to LeFrak of keeping the complex stabilized, an estimated $80 million. Incoming tenants will not have rent protections, but current tenants who move to a different apartment within the complex will remain under the program, said Linda Belfer, president of the Gateway Plaza Tenants’ Association.

Gateway management did not return a call for comment.