The long Rivington House fiasco is finally over. In an effort to make amends for allowing a luxury condo developer to buy a Lower East Side AIDS hospice – despite deed restrictions – the city has announced a deal to bring 88 new affordable homes for seniors plus 60 new nursing facility beds to the neighborhood, Curbed reports.
“This neighborhood must be made whole for a broken city process that resulted in the sale of a critical health care facility,” Mayor Bill de Blasio said in a statement formally announcing the new facilities.
But the housing for seniors will not be built at 30 Pike Street, the site the city had earmarked for the housing units in 2016. Instead, the 88 affordable apartments for seniors will be built into a new 400-unit mixed-use tower being developed by the Chinese American Planning Council and Gotham Organization on the parking lot adjacent to 50 Norfolk Street and near the former site of Beth Hamedrash Hagadol Synagogue, which was decimated by a fire in May. The synagogue’s air rights are being used to develop the site.
The city’s announcement comes just days after Attorney General Eric Schneiderman reached a settlement with Allure Group, the for-profit nursing home operator that purchased and sold two critical nursing homes in Manhattan and Brooklyn for the development of luxury housing.
The settlement requires Allure to pay $1.25 million to Lower East Side nonprofits that provide healthcare to services to the community as well as $750,000 in penalties and costs to the state. Those numbers are chump change to Allure Group, which bought Rivington House from a non-profit care provider for $28 million in 2015, claiming it intended to convert the former AIDS hospice into a geriatric care facility. But after paying $16 million to get a deed restriction lifted by the Department of Citywide Services, the company sold the building to luxury condo developers for $116 million – a flip that netted a $72 million profit.
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