Controversial landlord sells 118 buildings in Hudson for $327.8 million

A real estate management company that has drawn harsh criticism from tenants in Jersey City has sold more than 100 buildings in Hudson County for more than $325 million to four different investors.

The sale of 118 buildings owned by Trendy Management, formerly Riverside Management, was completed in six separate packages. With a total of 2,137 units, the portfolio’s official sale price was $327.8 million.

In March 2017 the Clifton-based mega-landlord was hit with more than 100 violations at Jersey City buildings. The company was also hit with dozens of violations in 2015 after residents trying to escape a fire at 500 Garfield Ave. fell through the rotting fire escape.

The buildings in the portfolio are located throughout Jersey City, West New York, North Bergen, Guttenberg and Union City.

The largest of the six packages involved 67 buildings sold for $190.65 million — with 993 units in 47 buildings in West New York, 175 units in 12 buildings in Jersey City, 76 units in six buildings in North Bergen and 28 units in two buildings in Guttenberg. This package averaged $150,000 per unit.

Meanwhile, the second largest package averaged a $165,000 per-unit price, selling for $97 million. This included 35 buildings, consisting of 588 units, throughout Jersey City’s Journal Square and Heights neighborhoods.

Optimum Holdings LLC, a real estate investment firm based in Mississippi, was the buyer of those two packages.

Madison Hill Properties, based in Passaic, purchased two of the packages — a total a 14 Union City buildings for $23.5 million.

MS Properties Inc. of Fort Lee purchased five West New York buildings for $15.1 million and the Weingarten Group of Jersey City bought one building in Jersey City for $1.5 million.

Jersey City Together, a social advocacy group, has been a frequent critic of Trendy Management, publicizing the living conditions in some of the buildings owned by the company in March 2017. Since then, it’s held rallies and called on local officials to crack down on the company. 

Trendy Management did not return messages seeking comment on the sales. 

Last month, the city tapped Dinah Hendon to head its new Housing Preservation Director, a role she will assume July 23. Hendon, an attorney, said she intends to make sure that housing code and rent control laws are being enforced.

“We have been aggressive in our stance on management companies that fail to comply with our standards, and have worked with community leaders on expanding enforcement,” said Jersey City spokeswoman Hannah Peterson. “Any ‘mega-landlord’ that aims to put profit over people will continue to be tightly monitored by our brand new Housing Preservation Division that will ensure fair treatment towards tenants and hold landlords accountable for their actions.”

Diane Maxon, a leader with Jersey City Together’s housing team and a member of St Paul’s Episcopal Church, expressed concerns that the new owners of the buildings could raise rents. 

“Jersey City Together will continue to remain vigilant and identify opportunities for accountability, and we are hopeful given some of the City of Jersey City’s recent changes,” Maxon said in a statement. “But a message must be sent that harrassing tenants and violating rent control and housing code laws have no place in our city.”

This story has been updated to include statements from the City of Jersey City and Jersey City Together. 

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