Nearly two years after it was announced that Rivington House, a onetime nursing home for HIV and AIDS patients on the Lower East Side, would go condo, its owners are taking steps to make that conversion a reality. Plans for the new building, which will have more than 100 apartments, have been filed with the Department of Buildings, according to the Lo-Down. While that doesn’t bring the scandal-filled saga of this particular property to a close, it does push the project into its next phase.
The plans on file offer some insight into what the developers (a consortium made up of China Vanke Co., Adam American Real Estate, and Slate Property Group) have in mind for the condo conversion. There’ll be 102 apartments spread out over six floors, with three triplexes and one duplex spread out over the top floors. Plans also call for parking for 12 cars, along with amenities like bike storage, a wine cellar, a roof deck, a gym with a sauna, and a recreation room.
To briefly recap how we got here: Rivington House operated as a nursing home for nearly 20 years, until 2014, when its operator, Village Care, sold the property to Allure Group, a for-profit care provider, for $28 million. Allure then paid the city a mere $16.5 million to lift the deed restriction on the property, which limited its use to a medical facility. Once that was done, Allure then sold the parcel to its current developers for a cool $116 million—and, unsurprisingly, plans to turn the longtime medical facility into high-priced apartments were announced not long after.
The sale set off a firestorm that eventually reached City Hall, and led the city to explore ways to stop the conversion from happening. And just last month, Attorney General Eric Schneiderman announced that a settlement had been reached with Allure, which requires that the firm 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. The settlement also forbids the future sale or closure of the facility by Allure Group for at least nine years. Similarly, Allure is forbidden to sell or close the Brooklyn and Lower East Side facilities it opens as part of the settlement for at least eight years.
Still, it’s unlikely that the project will move forward without a fight; a spokesperson for City Council member Margaret Chin told the Lo-Down that she is “actively looking for ways to fight the conversion.”
And in a statement to the Lo-Down, the advocacy group Neighbors to Save Rivington House said, “Once again, the Rivington House community has been forsaken. Our Mayor promised the Council Member he would call a meeting with the buyers to encourage them to consider returning the building to those in greater need of it. We can no longer wait for him. … We are now asking other electeds to step in: to invite Slate Property, Adam America and China Vanke to address the hole created when people here were denied this housing.”