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After botched air rights sale, developer tweaks plans for former LES nursing home

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Ascend Group aims to build a 28-story building and renovate a landmarked nursing home into condos

The former Bialystoker Nursing Home.
Courtesy of Google Maps

Ascend Group is consolidating its plans for two new Lower East Side buildings into one tower and aims to convert a landmarked, former nursing home into a condo building after the developer’s bid to beef-up the project with air rights were rejected by a neighboring co-op, The Real Deal reports.

The Seward Park Cooperative sent Ascend Group reeling when its residents voted in June to reject the developer’s proposal to purchase 155,000 square feet of air rights for $54 million. Ascend aimed to use the co-op’s excess development rights to erect a 19-story building to the west of the former Bialystoker Home for the Aged at 228 East Broadway and a 31-story tower to the east side.

Instead, Ascend plans to move forward with an alternative plan to build a 28-story, 55-unit condo building at 223 East Broadway and to covert the Bialystoker building into an 18-unit condominium, sources told The Real Deal.

Ascend’s new plans call for the building and overhauled nursing home to jointly include 128,000 square feet and share amenities such as a swimming pool, a private park, and a movie screening room, according to the real estate magazine. No formal plans have been submitted to the city’s Department of Buildings.

The former nursing home was the only property eligible to receive the Seward Park Cooperative’s unused air rights and funds from the co-op board said the sale would have gone toward sorely needed building improvements and Ascend would have used $5 million to pay the entire complex’s maintenance bills for four months.

Just over 1,200 co-op shareholders voted on the sale with 690 — or 56 percent — in favor of the sale and 30 abstentions. But the vote fell short of the two-third majority required by the co-op’s rules and therefore was rejected.