Mayor Bill de Blasio has announced a plan to buy back a former East Village elementary school to prevent it being turned into dormitories, but he has a pretty big obstacle to overcome: the owner says he won’t sell.
Developer Gregg Singer wants to convert 605 East Ninth Street into dorms for Adelphi University, despite strong opposition from community groups and officials. At a town hall forum last week, the mayor said he wanted to “right the wrongs of the past” by re-acquiring the building, DNAinfo reported.
“For the administration to put that building into private hands failed miserably, and we’ve seen the negative affect that has had on the community,” de Blasio said of the Giuliani administration’s decision to sell the property, according to the website.
However, a representative for Singer said the city is trying to be a “bully” and the developer has no intention of selling. She added the property has been appraised at $60 million, and Singer has spent $80 million on maintaining it.
Singer bought the 152,000 square-foot building from the city in 1998, but deed restrictions meant it couldn’t be turned into residential housing. He then reached a deal to turn it into dorms.
Construction was put on hold in 2015. The city’s Department of Buildings put a stop work order on site, claiming that Singer had not conformed with the agency’s “dormitory rule.” [DNAinfo] — Miriam Hall