It’s a story that speaks volumes about the way we live now in New York City. The last senior citizens are moving out of the Salvation Army’s Williams Residence on the Upper West Side so the 15-story building, originally the Marcy Hotel, can be converted into luxury condominium apartments, the West Side Rag reports.
Sixty-five residents of the 325-unit building are relocating to the Salvation Army’s new EastView building in East Harlem, completing the last chapter in a long story. In 2014, the Salvation Army sparked protests and a lawsuit when it filed to sell the Williams Residence, which had been retrofitted from a hotel to a seniors’ residence in 1969. Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer called the sale of the residence “a disgrace.” The organization said that the building needed extensive renovations and a sale to luxury developer Brack Capital Real Estate would provide funds to break ground on a replacement facility on East 125th Street. The sale was postponed until October 2015. In 2016, a judge ruled that residents would be allowed to stay at the Williams until the new facility was completed. That time has arrived.
“For a while [residents] were afraid,” says retired Salvation Army Col. Nestor Nuesch, one of the 65 residents who has moved from the Williams to the EastView. “They didn’t understand why [the Williams was sold]. But to keep that old building, we would have to put in $40 million in renovations. It is a 90-year-old building, and we were having problems constantly.”
Eva Yachnes, another former resident of the Williams, says it was painful to watch the building slowly empty after the Salvation Army announced the sale. “It used to be that that huge dining room was crammed with people,” Yachnes says. “When the moving started, there were three of us on this huge floor. And then as of last week, I was the only one on that floor. It was really eerie.”
That eeriness is part of the way we live now in New York City, where the only constant is change – and the luxury condominiums just keep coming.
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