EXCLUSIVE: New York State Senate Socialist Candidate Gentrifies Neighborhood Living In New Luxury High Rise

Joe Simonson | Media Reporter
  • Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez ally and fellow socialist Julia Salazaer lives in a new luxury building, despite her calls against development
  • She is endorsed by anti-gentrification groups like The Working Families Party and TenantsPAC
  • The developer behind the building allegedly benefited from tax breaks and did not section off any units for affordable housing

Julia Salazar is another New York Democratic Socialists of America member running for a state senate seat on an anti-development platform, yet according to records reviewed by The Daily Caller News Foundation, she also lives in a new apartment complex in a hip Brooklyn neighborhood currently undergoing rapid gentrification.

Like Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Salazar is beginning her political career by boldly challenging an incumbent member of the Democratic Party’s establishment, state Sen. Martin Dilan. Salazar has also been a dues-paying member to the DSA for years.

Ocasio-Cortez and Salazar have shared the stage at various events and campaigned for each other. Ocasio-Cortez has directly asked her supporters to back Salazar’s bid for state senate.

“I can’t think of a better place to start the fight for progressives like us than helping get Julia Salizar [sic], Zephyr Teachout and Cynthia Nixon on the ballot!” Ocasio-Cortez wrote in an email.

Yet despite making housing a center piece of her campaign, Salizar also lives in a recently built apartment complex in Bushwick, Brooklyn. In various listings on real estate websites, the building’s units are labeled as “luxury.”

Both “good credit” and income are required for units in the building, but various listings also say that “guarantors” –normally meaning parents of renters who can help supplement rent — are “welcome.”

While no units in Salazar’s complex are currently available for rent, comparable one bedrooms in similar buildings nearby are listed at well over $2,000 a month — a large sum for an individual like Salazar who worked at a nonprofit group called “Jews for Racial & Economic Justice” before jumping into the race.

Salazar’s lifestyle might be more forgivable if she had not constantly knocked her opponent for his position on landlords over tenants.

“The Dilans are my only state representatives,” Salazar told New York Magazine in an interview, “and over the last 16 years, Martin Dilan has taken an enormous amount of money from for-profit real-estate developers, and it’s directly translated into him supporting policies that really hurt tenants.”

For all her talk against “runaway gentrification” on her twitter and at various campaign events, the very building Salazar lives in was made possible by a landlord seeking favorable development terms by the city.

The developer behind her building, Joel Braver, allegedly benefited from favorable property taxes without having to designate any units as affordable housing or provide amenities like parking that help ease the impact of neighborhood changes on nearby residents, according to individuals familiar with the project.

It is not clear whether groups against gentrification that have endorsed Salazar’s campaign like TenantsPAC or the Working Family’s Party are familiar with her current living situation.

The news of Salazar’s apartment building could prove to be another setback for her campaign.

Reports surfaced Monday that Salazar was once a Republican who led an anti-abortion group as a student at Columbia University.

Salazar is also facing scrutiny for failing to file tax returns while working as a nanny in New York.

A spokesman for Salazar declined to provide comment.

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