By Mark Hallum
City Councilman Paul Vallone (D-Bayside) announced a land purchase between Cord Meyer and Bay Terrace Cooperative Section I, ending a 60-year lease between the development company and shareholders.
The purchase of the 10 acres on which the co-ops sit will be completed as Cord Meyer and residents work to finalize the agreements on an individual level, making leaseholders into official landowners by the end of 2018. More than 1,800 families live in this development, including a large population of seniors who will see an increase in the value of their units, according to Vallone.
Bay Terrace Cooperative Section I stretches from Little Bay Park in the north to Bay Terrace Shopping Center, also a Cord Meyer asset, and the Cross Island Expressway in the east to Clearview Park Golf Course in the west.
“This is a historic land purchase, not just in northeast Queens but the whole city. Once all the other sections have finalized their land purchases, the over 1,800 families of Bay Terrace will have complete control of their destiny and future for the first time,” Vallone said. “As some of the only true affordable housing that exists in my district, the Bay Terrace co-ops will continue to thrive as they become more attractive to buyers and provide greater financial security to their current shareholders.”
Purchases of expiring land leases are rare in the city, Vallone said. But the outdated agreement between Cord Meyer and the coops was overdue for reassessment by the two organizations and this will help residents arrange mortgage from banks which would not normally offer loans for coops because of restrictions on land leases.
Warren Schreiber, president of the Bay Terrace Cooperative Section I, credited Vallone with getting the two groups to see eye-to-eye at the negotiation table.
“The land purchase represents a major milestone in the history of Bay Terrace Cooperative Section I that will benefit both current shareholders and future generations of shareholders to come,” Schreiber said. “This would not have been possible without the involvement of Council member Paul Vallone, who brought everyone to the table, which was instrumental in finalizing an agreement.”
Anthony Colletti, Cord Meyer CEO, explained that negotiations with residents had been taking place during his entire career with the company and the recent agreement was a breakthrough years in the making.
“Since I started in Cord Meyer in 1983, we have been working with the leaseholders in all 9 Bay Terrace sections,” he said. “It wasn’t until Council member Vallone put us all in a room together that we finally got it done.”
Reach reporter Mark Hallum by e-mail at mhall