History Of Hillman Housing Corporation
Hillman Houses is the 2nd limited-equity housing corporation built on the Lower East Side by the Amalgamated Clothing Workers union (ACW) and is named after the ACW's president, Sidney Hillman, who championed the construction of affordable cooperative housing throughout NYC and elsewhere.
Hillman consists of three 12-story buildings, the first of which opened in 1948, built around private parks and playground - and situated on both sides of the ACW's first cooperative housing venture on the Lower east side, Amalgamated Dwellings. Combined, the two housing cooperatives formed two superblocks along Grand Street and replaced dozens of dark, poorly ventilated tenement buildings with nearly 1,000 light-filled, airy apartments.
Shortly after opening Hillman Houses the ACW joined forces with other labor unions, including the Ladies Garment Workers Union (ILGWU), to create the United Housing Foundation (UHF) which built thousands of additional affordable limited-equity cooperative apartments throughout New York City, including East River Housing Corporation (1956) and Seward Park Housing Corporation (1960) on the Lower East Side. Those two cooperatives plus Hillman Housing Corporation and Amalgamated Dwellings came to be known as Co-op Village.
Demand for apartments in Co-op Village has always been high and the waiting lists for apartments were very long. As limited equity housing corporations, owners were not able to sell their shares in the corporation to buyers on the open market. Upon leaving the co-op owners sold their shares back to the corporation at no profit. In turn, the corporation sold the shares to the next person on the waiting list - again, at no profit.
Towards the late 1990s the shareholders in all four of the co-ops voted to reorganize and convert from limited-equity to free market. The waiting lists went away and owners were able to sell their shares directly to
buyers at market prices.
Today, although prices are no longer artificially capped, co-op Village apartments continue to be in high demand and offer great value at atractive prices.