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NEW YORK CITY, NY-Dozens of members from Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now, shouting “Keep Starrett City affordable,” stormed the offices of Starrett City Associates at 150 E. 58th St. In yesterday’s protest, some made it up to the owner’s 22nd floor offices, while others circled outside demanding that the firm meet with tenants and representatives of the Bloomberg and Spitzer administrations to develop a long-term plan to preserve Starrett City as affordable housing.

Calls to the owner, Starrett City Associates, a group of private investors led by Disque Dean, were not returned before deadline. A Clipper Equities spokesperson tells GlobeSt.com that the company is not commenting on Acorn’s protest at this time.

Now that Clipper Equities’ failed $1.3 billion bid to buy Starrett City is about to expire on Aug. 10, tenants and Acorn members are calling on the owners to foreswear a new auction or any action that would put the complex back at risk, according to tenants. Evan Thies of Acorn told GlobeSt.com that tenants are concerned that the owners will either “attempt to sell the complex again to a different bidder with similar ill intentions or take the complex out of government affordability programs.”

State and federal regulators recently rejected the expiring $1.3-billion bid from Clipper Equities because they say the deal would have led to dramatically increased rents for tenants. The concern is that the increased rents could lead to the eventual loss of thousands of apartments for low- and moderate-income New Yorkers.

“They must work with the community on an affordability program that protects residents at the complex,” 30-year resident Mira Harpazi told GlobeSt.com. “We just want to be left in peace.”

Dr. Queen Williams, also a resident of Starrett City, who has lived in the complex for eight years, expressed hopes that the outcome of the protest leads to the preservation of permanent affordability for both existing and future residents for all ethnicities. “Where else would we go?” she asked when discussing the possibility that current residents might not be able to remain in their apartments if the bid is extended or if there is another attempt to sell to a different bidder.

“Starrett Associates has done incredibly well for themselves over the past 30 years,” said Florence Coates, a Starrett City tenant and Acorn member. “They owe it to the taxpayers of this city who subsidized their profits to come to the table now and work out a framework with tenants and city and state officials to keep Starrett City affordable.”

Starrett City Tenants Association president Marie Purnell said that Starrett City is a model New York community–it is racially and economically diverse, and full of people that care about their neighborhood. “Any billion-dollar bid would certainly mean the end of this community, the eviction of thousands of good neighbors, the loss of services, and the destruction of all we’ve worked so hard to build together.”

A man, presumably representing ownership–although he did not identify himself–did appear claiming that he would forward letter from Acorn to the Starrett Associates office; however, formal representative never materialized. The tenants spent about 20 minutes on the floor in the building protesting and then retuned peacefully to the street where they continued to chant and hand out fliers for a while longer.

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