FIRMS HELPING TEACHERS WITH HOUSING CRUNCH
By Elaine Misonzhnik
Real Estate Weekly
September 25, 2002
It might be a sincere wish to help New York City with its public school crisis,
or it might be just a convenient way to get more tenants. In either case, Roseland Management Company’s decision to aid out-of-state teachers
with their search for housing seems like a shrewd marketing strategy.
Roseland is one of the three real estate companies chosen by the New
York Board of Education as a preferred housing provider for its Teach
New York program. Their program, created to alleviate the shortage of teachers in New York schools, provides extra benefits for those willing to relocate to the city. So far, Teach NY has attracted several thousand teachers from around the globe.
Among the problems the board had to resolve before offering these people work, however, was the high cost of housing. New York is notorious for its exorbitant rents and anyone with a starting salary of $39,000 a year would be hard-pressed to find a decent apartment within city limits. So the board hired Goodstein Realty to find real estate developments close enough, good enough, and affordable enough to house new teachers.
Roseland’s particular development, called Riverbend at Port Imperial, is located across the river in Weehawken, N.J. With the asking rents of $1,600 for one-bedrooms and $2,000 for two-bedrooms, it is priced at about market rate, but Roseland’s package offers a few perks the teachers wouldn’t be able to find with an independent landlord.
“Part of our program includes no security deposit, no broker fee, tenants
can move in one week before their lease actually starts, and if they get transferred, they only have to give us 30-day notice,” says Sharon Burkey, president of Roseland. “Plus the transportation to and from the water ferry and the ride across the river are inclusive in the price of the apartment.”
In addition, the company offers a Roselink Internet package, which provides instant Internet connection and basic cable.
There is a catch, however – TeachNY requires the teachers to find an apartment within a limited space of time (they usually have to settle down before they start teaching). And since many of them are new in the country and eager to have a place of their own, they won’t bargain shop as much
as native New Yorker would.
Plus, those of the teachers who have positioned in outer-borough schools won’t find the commute so easy – they would have to take at least two bus rides and a ferry ride to get to their place of work.
So far, some 15 teachers have signed leases at the Port Imperial, with others “still coming in and trying to make a decision.” But Burkey is confident they’ll come around. “We are going to continue to see a flow of teachers into our communities over the next couple of months,” she said.
The agreement with the Board of Education is not the first time Roseland
is offering discounts to new city residents. According to Burkey, her firm
has an agreement with several large companies to provide housing to their relocating employees.
“This program is really a tool for human resources to attract new employees to this area. We only offer it to those companies that have significant relocations and housing needs and we use it all over New Jersey.”
The other two firms that have been chosen for TeachNY are Silverstein Properties with its West 42nd Street project and a LeFrak high-rise in
Jersey City, N.J.