Most New Yorkers would look upon the good fortune of the residents of Southbridge Towers with envy. They paid, on average, $17,500 for their Lower Manhattan apartments, many with stunning East River views. The average maintenance fee in the middle-income development in the financial district near South Street Seaport is $620 a month. And soon, their fortunes could soar even higher.
In late September, after a contentious eight-year debate, shareholders voted to leave Mitchell-Lama, the affordable housing program that has provided them with decades of low-cost housing. The decision paves the way for residents to sell their apartments at market rate and reap profits in the high six figures.