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Renters in Tarrytown Building Worried They Soon Could Be Homeless

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March 25, 2024

By Rick Pezzullo—

For many of the tenants living in the 108 apartments at Asbury Terrace in Tarrytown, 1 River Place has been their home for most of their lives.

David Cova, 51, a school counselor at Blythedale Children’s Hospital, has called Asbury Terrace home since he was seven years old, and he considers all of his neighbors’ family.

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“Tarrytown raised me,” Cova told the Tarrytown Board of Trustees during a March 4 meeting.

Audrey Thomas, 69, has been an Asbury Terrace resident for 43 years.

“It’s not the greatest. It’s not luxury, but it’s my home,” Thomas said. “I don’t want to leave.”

But since early March, when tenants received a notice from Mountco Construction & Development, owners of Asbury Terrace, that rents would be increasing substantially for about 50 of the tenants not receiving Section 8 assistance, on September 1, Cova, Thomas and others have been worried they could be homeless.

“Soon it will be place that we no longer call home,” said Madeline Viruet, a 23-year resident. “Why do middle class, hard-working people always get the short end of the stick? This is outrageous. This is supposed to be a community housing building. It sure doesn’t seem like it anymore.”

Viruet claimed rents for tenants, which include electric and heat, were slated to rise anywhere from $800 to $1,300 a month, but John Madeo, Executive Vice President of Mountco, insisted that’s not the case.

Madeo said no tenant will pay more than 30% of their gross income as long as they provide management with the proper paperwork, such as a W-2 form or a tax return.

“We don’t want anyone to be rent burdened. Nobody wants to pay more than they have to, but they have to pay their fair share,” Madeo explained. “We felt that 30% is a fair standard. We’re not trying to hurt anyone here. This is a really good deal.”

Madeo said currently some tenants pay less than 30% of their gross income, but maintained it was possible certain tenants could pay less than they’re paying now if they produce the required information.

Mountco Construction & Development purchased Asbury Terrace in 2020 for $15.5 million. Net proceeds from that sale ($15 million) were distributed to the Housing Action Council to establish the Tarrytown Affordable Housing Fund to be used for the development, construction or rehabilitation of affordable housing projects in Tarrytown consistent with the village’s Comprehensive Plan.

Madeo said Mountco invested $5.5 million in Asbury Terrace to upgrade windows, kitchens and bathrooms and needs to increase rent to operate the building and keep up with rising insurance rates and other cost of living expenses.

Even though Tarrytown has no authority or control over Asbury Terrace, officials promised residents they would do whatever they could to lend a hand.

“Tarrytown is wonderful because people care and look out for each other,” Mayor Karen Brown said. “We are all neighbors. We are all one community.”

A few residents appeared at last week’s board meeting to criticize Trustee Paul Rinaldi for saying it was “shocking to hear” about the situation at Asbury Terrace since they had alerted the board a few years ago about some changes that were occurring there.

Madeo noted five tenants had already contacted management to begin the process of reviewing their rent and was hopeful through word-of-mouth others would come forward.

“It’s a fantastic building. It’s a great location,” Madeo said.

 

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