BROOKLYN, NY-The Associate Press is reporting this weekend that a second attempt by Clipper Equity to acquire Starrett City has been rejected by New York State housing authorities. It was a little over a month ago that housing officials first turned down the firm’s $1.3-billion offer. Both times, the ongoing affordability of the Mitchell-Lama complex was cited as the overriding concern. Starrett City is home to some 14,000 residents.

“What they want to do is to implement a market-rate rent for all the units,” housing commissioner Deborah Van Amerongen is quoted as saying. But her words merely echo those of US Housing and Urban Development Secretary Alphonso Jackson last month, when HUD first nixed the deal.

“The Starrett City sale would quickly displace most, if not all, of the residents here,” quoted Jackson at the time. “Those who leave will have nowhere to go, because of the shortage in affordable housing. So if the residents of Starrett City are displaced because they are priced out, then we confront a human tragedy: the destruction of one of the safest, most friendly communities in New York City.”

Clipper Equity, however, is reportedly hanging tough in its resolve, and AP quotes company spokespeople as saying that the firm is “in this to stay. We are confident that we can and will maintain affordability for current and future tenants.”

This too is consistent with the stance Clipper has held since the first rejection. “We agree totally that affordability is a defining core value at Starrett City,” a spokesperson said at the time of the first refusal.

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