The new partner in Island House and Westview is The Sheldrake Organization. Its founder is J. Christopher Daly.
The Sheldrake Organization describes itself as “the largest owner and manager of privatized public housing in New York State,” and says, “Through enduring partnerships with both government and non-profit agencies, Sheldrake now owns and operates more than 2,500 units of housing in seven counties throughout New York State. Furthermore, Sheldrake currently has Federal and State applications pending, the approval of which will lead to the renovation and construction of an additional 1,500 units.”
Daly did not respond to messages left this week at his office in Hempstead, Long Island. The WIRE was not able to determine whether a deal has actually been made, nor to determine what stake Daly’s company will hold in the Roosevelt Island properties. According to an aide to City Council Speaker Gifford Miller, Daly has an appointment for a meeting with Miller.
Both Island House and Westview are currently Mitchell-Lama properties under the supervision of the New York State Division of Housing and Community Renewal (DHCR), which sets rental rates. This week, in fact, DHCR held a hearing on the owner’s request for a rent hike for Westview.
If the buildings are privatized – that is, privately mortgaged and removed from the Mitchell-Lama program – they are no longer under DHCR supervision, and owners are free to raise rents. But on its website, Sheldrake makes a point of saying it maintains affordability in the housing it owns or manages:
The Sheldrake Organization is currently focusing on the development of affordable housing and, more specifically, the conversion of public housing to private ownership. Through pro-active management of its more than 2,500 units throughout New York State, Sheldrake has become engrained in the economic, social, and cultural fabric of the communities it serves. It is the mission of this Organization to preserve and maintain the welfare of our residents, to provide high-quality affordable housing to communities in need, and to continue being New York State’s leading developer of privatized public housing.
Sheldrake’s properties range in size from a 36-unit senior citizen building in Hempstead, Long Island, to a 496-unit building in Mount Vernon. They range west to North Tonawanda, near Buffalo.
Sheldrake describes itself as a “driving force behind the revival of Hempstead Village… Originally founded by J. Christopher Daly in 1988 to develop distressed and blighted commercial properties in suburban Hempstead, the Sheldrake Organization has grown rapidly into a full-service real-estate firm which owns, manages, develops, and leases residential and commercial property throughout New York State.”