On October 17, 2006, Met Life agreed to sell the complex to Tishman Speyer Properties and the real estate arm of Black Rock for .4 billion.

From the first outset, objections were made to the haste with which the project was approved and lack of public participation in the process; the project's population density; the absence of any public facilities such as schools, community centers, or shops in the development; the gated-community, private property character of the complex and the denial of city residents of the right to walk through a part of the city that was once public; and violations of the city's master plan.

Lawsuits were brought by property owners of the land, but in February 1944 the Supreme Court of the United States refused to review the constitutionality of the New York State law that enabled the development, despite the taking of public property for private profit, the granting of tax exemptions, and the public benefits advanced by the developers and their advocates.

The complex was developed by the Metropolitan Life Insurance Company, and was based on its earlier development in the Parkchester neighborhood of the Bronx, which was completed in 1942.

The same companies and developers also built Riverton, which was completed around the same time. Ecker said of Stuyvesant Town in its initial offering that it would make it possible for generations of New Yorkers "to live in a park – to live in the country in the heart of New York." On the first day the company received 7,000 applications; it would receive 100,000 applicants by the time of first occupancy.

When the $50 million Stuyvesant Town plan was approved by the City Planning Commission on May 20, 1943 by a five to one vote, discrimination against African-Americans was already a significant topic of debate. This provision was not accepted, with those rejecting it, including Robert Moses, arguing that the company's profitability would be harmed and that opponents were "obviously looking for a political issue and not for results in the form of actual slum clearance." Lee Lorch, a City College of New York professor, petitioned to allow African Americans into the development and was fired from his teaching position as a result of pressure from Metropolitan Life.

Upon accepting a position at Pennsylvania State University, Lorch allowed a black family to occupy his apartment, thus circumventing the no Negroes rule.

The complex is a sprawling collection of red brick apartment buildings stretching from First Avenue to Avenue C, between 14th and 23rd Streets.

It covers about 80 acres (320,000 m) of land, a portion of which is used for playgrounds and parkland.

In 2015, the complex was sold to Ivanhoé Cambridge and Blackstone for 5.3 Billion USD East 20th Street looking east in the direction of First Avenue in 1938.