Tenants in the sprawling Stuyvesant Town/Peter Cooper Village residential complex in lower Manhattan are seeking help from CalPERS in their attempt to buy the property, which is threatened with foreclosure.
On May 12, New York City Councilman Daniel Garodnick sent Anne Stausboll, CEO of the $209.1 billion California Public Employees' Retirement System, Sacramento, a letter inviting the fund to formally join the tenants' bid on the property.
“CalPERS should consider participating as an investor in our tenant-led restructuring plan,” wrote Mr. Garodnick. “Joining this bid could offer CalPERS an attractive, stable, long-term investment opportunity and the ability to publicly demonstrate its commitment to its new fiscal policy.”
CalPERS had invested $500 million in the $5.4 billion acquisition of the buildings by a group led by BlackRock and Tishman Speyer four years ago, a deal whose success hinged on getting rid of many tenants and deregulating rents on their units.
Last month, the pension fund — which lost its entire investment in the deal when the buyers defaulted on their mortgage — announced that from now on it would commit to avoiding any type of investment plan where displacing residents was a component of the strategy.
Representatives from CalPERS declined to comment.
Tishman Speyer and a partner defaulted on the $3 billion mortgage of the property earlier this year. CWCapital Asset Management, the special servicer representing the senior debt holders, filed a motion last month asking the court to appoint a referee to sell the complex. CWCapital also requested that the property be offered for sale either as separate portions or collectively as one parcel.
James Comtois is a reporter at Crain's New York Business, a sister publication of Pensions & Investments.