From the NY Times:
“Bronx portfolio,” the Web posting read. “These distressed properties fetches prices that are much below its market value.”
The grammatically sloppy advertisement for 10 troubled buildings in the Bronx appeared this spring on eBay classifieds, a forum not known for attracting the kinds of investors who can afford to rescue the properties, which are plagued with crumbling ceilings, roaches and unsustainable debt piled on during the speculative boom of the previous decade.
But with scores of such buildings in foreclosure and many others in disrepair, city officials and housing advocates say a new wave of investors has already begun to swoop in. And the actions of some of the new buyers — one was recently jailed for contempt of court, another has already clashed with tenants — have raised fears that conditions in timeworn buildings could get even worse.
Rafael E. Cestero, the commissioner of the city’s Department of Housing Preservation and Development, said he had seen a number of distressed properties sold to buyers who were not acting “in the best interests of the city, the neighborhood or tenants.”
Mr. Cestero said that city officials, seeking ways to intervene, had little recourse, since most of the deals were private. “This is probably the most difficult thing we’re doing at H.P.D. right now,” he said. “We don’t have a clear and obvious way to insert ourselves.”
And from the Huffington Post:
At a tenant rally, City Council Speaker Christine Quinn warned that an unnamed buyer planning to step in and take over the 10 disintegrating properties is agreeing to a deal that could only lead to profit if tenants are left in abhorrent conditions.
"None of the debt on these buildings is being reduced in this sale," Quinn said. "Unless the purchaser is some philanthropic billionaire who is going to put his or her last penny into these buildings, I don't see how we can have any hope ... that the buildings are going to get any better."
The deal, which Quinn said is far overvalued and worth more than $35 million, would require the new landlord to make such large interest payments that there's no way it could afford to make the necessary repairs on the crumbling properties, she said.
P.S. Sam Suzuki denies being a slumlord.