Maybe we need to start calling this Deed-gate.
The developer BRP Companies paid the city $875,000 last November to lift a protective covenant on a Harlem parcel that was owned by the Dance Theater of Harlem and designated to be used only by nonprofit cultural organizations. BRP, which made a $10,000 contribution to one of Mayor Bill de Blasio’s political causes, closed on the purchase of the parcel at West 152nd Street and St. Nicholas Avenue last month for $3.1 million, the New York Times reports, paving the way for a residential building on the undeveloped lot.
Also in November, the obscure Department of Citywide Administrative Services (DCAA) was accepting $16 million from a for-profit health care provider to lift a deed restriction on Rivington House, a Lower East Side AIDS hospice that was designated to be used only as a health care facility. The owner promptly flipped the property – at a $72 million profit – to a developer of luxury condos.
Mayor de Blasio has said he was unaware of Rivington House deed deal, which has spawned three separate inquiries. The head of DCAA is scheduled to testify at a City Council budget hearing on Friday, and the Council is planning a separate hearing on deed restrictions.
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