msnbc.com news services
updated 6/15/2011 2:56:16 PM ET 2011-06-15T18:56:16

Ten dollars in New York City can buy you a martini, an "I Heart New York" T-shirt, four subway rides and for a lucky few, an apartment.

At the end of June, nine tenants living above Mars Bar, the now shuttered, infamous East Village watering hole, will leave their apartments so the building can be torn down, reports Crain's New York Business. In two years, they'll be allowed to return and pay $10 to buy an apartment in a 12-story, 65 unit high-rise.

In the city's East Village, where $1.46 million is the current median sales price for a home,according to real-estate website Trulia, $10 to own an apartment is almost as bizarre as the bar that the luxury building is replacing. The average price per square foot for homes in the East Village was $1,117 in the most recent quarter, which is 13.61 percent lower than the average price per square foot for homes in New York City.

Mars Bar was considered one of the last and best of the East Village dive bars. It was known as much for its raucous and eccentric clientele as its graffiti-strewn walls and blaring rock music. "Thanks for the memories," now reads some graffiti above one of the bar's windows.

Jon Vaccaro, 81, will be one of the tenants to take advantage of this rare deal, reports Crain's. He currently pays $294 in monthly rent for his 2,100-square-foot loft, which is still pretty cheap by New York standards.

"Look at this stuff all around us, all these high-rises. Everywhere you look. Behind us. West of us," he told Crain's. "It bothers me that New York has changed so much. It's not the New York I came to."

When building developers BFC Partners proposed the plan last December, they wanted to designate 12 units as low-income units, meaning they would be available to those making 80 percent or less of the area's median income, which is approximately $63,000, reported the New York Times' blog The Local.

Now, 13 of the building's apartments are considered affordable, and with nine already spoken for, that leaves four to be sold off by a lottery system. BFC Partners, the building's developer, said they'll be sold for about $150,000 to people who make less than $64,000, Crain's reported.

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