The Real Deal New York

City’s HRA inquired about fate of Rivington House a year before $116M sale

De Blasio has insisted he wasn't aware of the building's fate until March
June 29, 2016 08:34AM

From left: Mayor Bill de Blasio, HRA chief Steven Banks and 45 Rivington

From left: Mayor Bill de Blasio, HRA chief Steven Banks and 45 Rivington

Mayor Bill de Blasio insists he didn’t know about the controversial deed restriction deal that allowed for the $116 million sale of 45 Rivington Street. But a city agency he has empowered made inquiries about the property more than a year before the sale, according to a new report. 

The city’s Human Resources Administration asked about the Lower East Side nursing home facility known as Rivington House in January 2015, more than a year before it was sold to Slate Property Group,  Adam America Real Estate and China Vanke, Politico reported. The partners plan to build 100 luxury condominiums at the site.

The HRA’s Daniel Tietz, chief special services officer, emailed VillageCare execs in January 2015 asking where things stood with Rivington House, which was being run as an AIDS residence. “I know that the nursing facility has closed, but do you have a plan for the building? If you wouldn’t mind giving me a bit of an update that would be great,” Tietz wrote.

A month later, VillageCare sold the building to Allure, a for-profit nursing home operator, for $28 million.

The city’s Department of Citywide Administrative Services reportedly lifted a deed restriction, paving the way for the sale, after receiving $16.1 million from Allure in November 2015.

Allure subsequently sold the property to Slate, Adam America and Vanke for $116 million this February. After the deal, James Patchett, chief of staff for Deputy Mayor Alicia Glen, unsuccessfully tried to reclaim the property for affordable housing, according to Politico.

De Blasio insists he did not learn of the deed restriction deal until March 2016, despite reports that a number of city officials did. Officials in his administration have accused Allure of deceiving the city about the fate of the property.

As far back as 2014, HRA sat in on meetings discussing Rivington House’s fate. Sources told Politico that HRA was interested in developing low-income housing there.

“The fact that this administration couldn’t coordinate well enough to find a use for it seems like a management failure, pure and simple,” Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer told Politico. [Politico] – E.B. Solomont