What Is Starrett City, and How Is It Worth a Billion Dollars?

Life in New York these days: another day, another enormous middle-class enclave on the auction block. This time, it's the lower-profile Starrett City in Jamaica Bay, Brooklyn — the largest federally subsidized complex in the country. (Only here, of course, could there be a 140-acre, 14,000-resident collection of 46 towers that few people have heard of.) Although recently renamed a more suburban-sounding Spring Creek Towers, Starrett is, in fact, something of a city: It has its own schools, places of worship, "peace officers," crocodilians, and power plant (it didn't even go dark during the 1977 blackout). Its Times profile in 1984 painted a perhaps overly boosterish picture of "a red-brick Camelot" with "everything Florida has but the weather." Its owners think it will go for over a billion dollars.

The immediate question is whether it's going to get the luxury treatment some suspect is in store for parts of now-Tishman-owned Peter Cooper Village and Stuyvesant Town. One view is that new owners would be silly to deregulate these buildings, where most rents are close to market rates anyway, and forfeit the massive tax perks. Still, it's hard to get rid of the feeling that we're looking at Stuy Town the Sequel. To complete the picture, the same two CB Richard Ellis brokers are handling the sale, and — per Daily News sources — some thwarted Stuy Town suitors are expected to come calling.

Brooklyn Tract, Home to 14,000, Goes on Block [NYT]
Starrett City owners eye Stuy-high offers [NYDN]