The Real Deal New York

Rivington House redux? BRP Companies bought Harlem plot after deed restriction lifted

City accepted $875K to change the rule, in place since 1976
May 13, 2016 10:20AM

BRP's Meredith Marshall and 841 St. Nicholas Avenue

BRP’s Meredith Marshall and 841 St. Nicholas Avenue

BRP Companies recently purchased a Harlem development site just a few months after the city agreed to lift a deed restriction at the property, raising questions similar to those swirling around the recent sale of 45 Rivington Street, known as Rivington House.

The developer bought the plot, at 841 St. Nicholas Avenue, from the Dance Theater of Harlem, closing for $3.1 million last month.

In November – the same month the Rivington House deed restriction was lifted – the city had changed a 1976 rule that required the property to be used for nonprofit cultural purposes, following a $875,000 payment from the developer, the New York Times reported.

While the site is more modest than 45 Rivington Street, which ultimately sold for $116 million to Slate Property Group, Adam America Real Estate and China Vanke, the deal is nonetheless likely to draw scrutiny in light of the federal, state and city investigations now in progress over Rivington House deal, which saw the Allure Group earn a $72 million profit after paying the city $16 million to lift a similar deed restriction.

Neither the local community board nor the area’s City Council members were informed of the Harlem rule change, the Times reported.

In 2014, BRP Companies contributed $10,000 to the Putnam County Democratic Committee. The donation coincided with a move by Mayor Bill de Blasio and his allies to use such local committees to support Democratic state senate candidates.

BRP, a major affordable developer, is planning to build a 12-unit affordable rental building on the site. Last May, the company filed a permit application to build a two-building, 580-unit affordable project at 147-30 Archer Avenue in Jamaica, the 10th largest filing of the year by square footage, at 636,443. [NYT]Ariel Stulberg