Heard the One About the Rent-Stabilized Luxury Rental Building in the Financial District? No, Seriously.

The meticulous renovation of the pre-war luxury rental building at 37 Wall Street in the Financial District speaks to the care with which architect Costas Kondylis turned famed architect Francis Kimball's original Beaux-Arts structure into one of the more desirable rental listings in the Financial District. It's a luxury rental through-and-through, but 37 Wall Street is also something else -- a test-case in a lawsuit that's looking to extend rent-stabilization to all buildings, luxury rental buildings in the Financial District notwithstanding, that were constructed with the benefit of New York's 421g tax breaks. The renovation of 37 Wall Street benefitted from those tax breaks in funding its overhaul into luxury rental apartments, and the New York Times reports that a December housing court decision could pass those benefits on to the residents at 37 Wall Street through eviction protections and, maybe, rent reductions. Suffice to say that the developers behind 37 Wall Street are not pleased.

"If [the] December Housing Court decision holds, all of [37 Wall Street's] 372 walnut- and marble-adorned apartments, which were constructed with the help of a tax break, could become rent-stabilized. So could an additional 8,600 rental units built nearby with the same tax break," Cara Buckley writes in the New York Times. "The decision has led to something of a battle royal between landlords, who are pushing for the case to be reargued — a judge will decide in the coming days — and tenant advocacy groups. It also raises the question of whether wealthy denizens of plush apartments should receive rent protections intended for the middle and working classes. Not only could affected tenants have eviction protections, but some of them could also see cuts in their rent."

While those looking for luxury rental apartments in Manhattan will obviously want to keep an eye on how this is decided, it doesn't seem likely that mega-developers will lose this one. Both because NYC real estate mega-developers rarely lose, period, but also because... well, read the article, it's interesting. And the perfect article-closing quote from Harold Shultz of the Citizens Housing and Planning Council makes it all worthwhile.