Politicians, landlord in battle over Williamsburg senior center

Owner raised rent, served eviction notice to pave the way for luxury condos, advocates claim

TRD New York /
Jun.June 25, 2014 09:00 AM

A group of Williamsburg politicians and community activists wants the city to buy a 40-year-old community center now that the property’s owners have raised the rent and made plans to give tenants the boot.

Rent at the Swinging Sixties Senior Center, located at 211 Ainslie Street in Williamsburg, increased by $7,000 per month late last year, DNAinfo reported. The landlord then sent the center an eviction notice on Christmas Eve — a move local activists say was prompted by plans to build luxury condominiums on the site.

Local elected officials including Councilman Antonio Reynoso, Assemblywoman Maritza Davila, Assemblyman Joseph Lentol and council member Steve Levin want the city to allocate capital funds to buy the center and negotiate a fair purchase price with the current owners.

“This center was built and supported for decades by this community,” Reynoso told DNAinfo. “We’re asking that the mayor step in and help us keep it in the community’s hands.”

On top of the rent hike, the new lease agreement from father-and-son developers Victor and Harry Einhorn requires that the tenant handle the cost of $500,000 worth of outstanding repairs, including elevator and plumbing updates, advocates told DNAinfo. As for the eviction notice, nonprofit St. Nicks Alliance, Which Runs The Center Along With The Conselyea Street Block Association, is currently fighting the proceedings in court. In the meantime, the tenants are paying $40,000 per month in rent under judge’s orders, a St. Nicks spokesperson told the news site.

St. Nicks previously offered $6 million to buy the building but never got a response on the offer, spokesperson Greg Hanlon told DNAinfo. The Einhorns later gave the center a $10.5 million selling price, which St. Nicks deemed too high.

A limited liability company, 207 Ainslie LLC, paid $4.5 million for the building in December, according to Department of Finance records cited by DNAinfo The Einhorns have communicated with the tenants as the landlord since that time. [DNAinfo]Julie Strickland

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