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Yorktown Narrowly Averts Losing $37,000 Investment

YORKTOWN, N.Y. – The Yorktown Town Board narrowly averted losing a $37,000 investment Tuesday night. The board held an emergency meeting to exercise its “first right of refusal” in the sale of a piece of property the town subsidized in its Community Housing Program. The program allows participants to buy properties at below market rate, but participants must first offer to sell them to the town if they decide to sell the properties.

One of the properties in the town’s affordable homeownership program was in the New Chalet apartment complex on Lexington Avenue in Yorktown. New Chalet is a failed condominium complex, the owner of the single unit in the 205-unit complex, whose name was not disclosed, is one of only a handful of people who actually own their apartment.

The current owner of the unit is interested in selling now because the entire complex is being purchased by a third party, also not disclosed during the meeting. The third party would like to purchase the entire complex whole, rather than have a handful of units with individual owners.

Real estate companies involved in the negotiations said they would not postpone a closing, scheduled for Wednesday, unless the town passed a resolution exercising its "first right of refusal."

“He’s interested in selling, so he’s out to get the best deal for himself,” said Ken Belfer, Chair of the Community Housing Program in Yorktown. The town will negotiate a price with the current owner of the unit to recoup its investment.

The unit was purchased in 1991 by the current owner who paid $103,000 for it. The town subsidized $37,000 0f the $140,000 price.

The town has pledged to reinvest its investment of $37,000, and any profit, back into its affordable homeownership program when the sale is final. The town’s entire program has only 13 units, most of them single-family homes, or units within condominium complexes. The unit in New Chalet is an anomaly in the program.

The town will now enter into negotiations with the owner of the single unit in New Chalet, and then the town will sell the unit to the new owner of the entire complex. Town officials said they will likely reinvest the money into a new property, which is not tied to a failed condominium complex.

The town’s “right of first refusal” on the property is part of deed restrictions owners enter into when buying a home through the affordable homeownership program. The deed restrictions allow the town to purchase and resell the units to new owners at below market rate, keeping the prices low. Belfer said this keeps participants in the program from selling for a "windfall profit," and also keeps units in the program.

The town’s affordable homeownership program is not part of Westchester County’s affordable housing settlement.

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