No, it’s not a dream, a trick or someplace in Kansas.
The new owners of Stuyvesant Town/Peter Cooper Village are offering a month’s free rent and adopting new, pet-friendly policies to attract tenants.
Tishman-Speyer Properties, owner of the massive, 110-building complex on the East River, has quietly made the tantalizing offer on all new leases.
Especially welcome to pet-centric apartment dwellers: The owners are now relaxing the once-iron-clad, don’t-even-think-about-it no-animals rule.
Dogs up to 90 pounds and cats will be welcome if their owners pay a one-time $250 fee.
The astonishing move comes as the 60-year-old complex, which Tishman-Speyer purchased for a record $5.4 billion in 2006, struggles with a vacancy rate that hovers between 5 and 10 percent, insiders say.
Manhattan’s overall rental-vacancy rate is less than 2 percent.
“They were trying to rent market-rate apartments for whatever the market would bear, and this is what they thought it was, and apparently it isn’t there right now,” said Alvin Doyle, president of the complex’s tenants association.
In April 2007, a one-bedroom in Stuy Town started at $2,800 a month. Currently, one-bedrooms run between $2,775 to $3,150.
Once the free month is factored in, tenants actually pay just between $2,543 to $2,887 including utilities.
“We are constantly adjusting our rates to reflect changes in the overall market and seasonal factors,” said Tishman-Speyer spokesman Bud Perrone.
Perrone also claimed that when apartments were vacated, the managers moved in to renovate and modernize – keeping the units off the market and thereby raising the vacancy rate.
He added that during the first two months of this year, rental activity has been 50 percent higher than the same period in 2007.
Doyle, however, believes that management’s practice of raising rents on market-rate tenants in the double-digit percentage – some as high as 25 percent – simply drove many tenants away.
Metropolitan Life sold the complex on 80 acres of some of the most valuable real estate anywhere, despite howls of protest by tenants fearing the loss of their middle-class housing.