Meir Babaev of AB Capstone is constructing what will be the tallest building in Ridgewood. Babaev has brought on Arch Companies, which operates a “$630 plus million dollar portfolio across 9 states” and has rebranded his project from the “Ridgewood Tower” to “Myrtle Point.”
The project had been stalled since 2015 while scaffolding has taken up our public space, created safety hazards for pedestrians, and accumulates piles of garbage that make sidewalks unsanitary. However, the project has been propelled by two big loans from Madison Realty Capital. The first loan Babaev secured was a $37.5 million land and predevelopment loan in 2018 and the most recent one was for $106 million in construction financing.
We’ve been spreading the word to our neighbors about the takeover of our neighborhood by Babaev since 2016. Babaev, recently awarded “emerging developer of the year” by Property Shark, a real estate data provider, plans to build a 17-story luxury tower with 138 apartments that will include retail and commercial space, as well as a curtain wall glass façade, a pool, mini golf course, and an outdoor theater with outdoor cabanas on the roof. Last year racist “all lives matter” and “blue lives matter” signs were found at their construction site. We demanded he take down the signs and halt the project until he met with members of the community.
Last year, after we protested at Babaev’s home, we communicated with his director of property management, Jaime Contreras, because our steering committee decided it wanted to meet with the developer if certain demands were met. We needed that meeting to either be in public or to be recorded on Zoom. They never agreed and so now we continue to spread the word to all our neighbors.
THINGS TO NOTE:
– Meir Babaev’s vision for Ridgewood does not include working class tenants or small businesses, as you can see in this video from the Stoler report from 2016
– They have leased part of their commercial space to Target, a fiercely anti-union corporation with a net worth of over $60 billion
– Babaev has displaced the small businesses that once used to occupy the spaces that are now demolished at his current development site
WHAT YOU CAN DO:
– E-mail Meir Babaev right now to demand he meet with concerned community members
– Call 311 to report any unsafe working conditions at the development site
–Join the Ridgewood Tenants Union to help us fight back!