Built in 1831, a red-brick building called the Northern Dispensary at the buzzy intersection of Waverly Place and Christopher Street would be an ideal place for some profit-making new condos. Trouble is, restrictions built into the triangular site's deed are so complicated and convoluted that it will be exceedingly difficult for its owner, William Gottlieb Real Estate, to figure out what to do with it. The New York Times dug deep into the history (and mystery), finding that a 19th-century clause dictates the plot must be used to somehow aid those who are sick or otherwise in need. Yup, those who can buy in that area will probably not fit the bill. Oh, and no obscene performances! Abortions are banned, too?the land was once owned by the Catholic Church.
The owners of 165 Waverly Place told the Times that they're "aware of the deed restrictions" and "examining our options." May we suggest condos priced for celebrities with some added amenity to sweeten the deal, like a rehab center? That wouldn't enrage neighbors the way a proposal for a homeless shelter did back in 1990s, and it could certainly be painted as helping the infirm.
· Before Reopening, a Dispensary Must Untangle Restrictions [NYT]