Stuyvesant Town owner and tenants agree to settle suit

NEW YORK Thu Nov 29, 2012 5:04pm EST

NEW YORK Nov 29 (Reuters) - The owners of Stuyvesant Town and Peter Cooper Village have reached a $147 million settlement to resolve claims by thousands of tenants who said they were overcharged on rent, removing the biggest hurdles to a sale of the huge Manhattan apartment complexes, attorneys for the tenants said on Thursday.

CWCapital Asset Management LLC, which has controlled Stuyvesant Town/Peter Cooper Village since 2010, and past owner MetLife Inc will pay $68.75 million to reimburse 21,250 tenants for past overcharges under the agreement. CWCapital also agreed to end any effort to recover $78.1 million in rent reductions it has provided since the lawsuit was filed in 2009.

The tenants had sought roughly $215 million in their lawsuit.

The settlement, which also sets rents for the 11,200-unit project through June 2020, has been approved by the New York State Division of Housing and Community Renewal.

The settlement is the most recent chapter in the saga of MetLife's sale of the 56-building project to T ishman Speyer Properties L.P. and an affiliate of BlackRock Inc for a record $5.4 billion at the top of the commercial real estate market in 2007. The lawsuit and the downward spiral of the real estate market culminated with the owners defaulting on their loans in 2010.

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