In a second round of bidding for Starrett City, eight groups submitted bids Tuesday that were substantially lower than a failed $1.3 billion offer made last year for the working- and middle-class enclave on Jamaica Bay in Brooklyn.

The winner, in all likelihood, will be a nonprofit housing company, rather than the kind of private equity firms and large developers that have purchased block after block of apartment buildings for rapidly rising prices over the last seven years.

Acting at the urging of tenant groups fearing the continuing loss of affordable housing, elected officials blocked the sale of Starrett City, which is the nations largest federally subsidized housing complex. They argued that any buyer paying such a high price would have to cut services and remove longtime residents in favor of higher-paying tenants to make a profit.

If the arrangement works, It could become a new tool that would be helpful in preserving the scarce stock of aging, affordable housing built with substantial public investments, Jerilyn Perine, executive director of the Citizens Housing and Planning Council, said Tuesday.