Lifeline for canners needs city’s help to buy redemption center site

Facing eviction, nonprofit Sure We Can seeks $2M to acquire Brooklyn property

New York /
Jun.June 23, 2021 08:00 AM
Sure We Can has tried to purchase the property in the past (Facebook via Sure We Can, Getty)

Sure We Can has tried to purchase the property in the past (Facebook via Sure We Can, Getty)

Sure We Can, a nonprofit recycling center in East Williamsburg, is a lifeline for hundreds of can collectors across New York, who last year redeemed 11 million cans and bottles at the facility.

But unable to afford a pending rent hike and facing eviction, Sure We Can is calling on the city to provide $2 million to help buy its longtime space at 219 McKibbin Street.

Sure We Can has been trying to purchase the property for years, the group said. In 2016, it even began an effort to collect 60 million cans, which at 5 cents a can, would have yielded $3 million toward the purchase. But that attempt was unsuccessful and last year, the group applied for a $2.3 million grant from the Economic Development Corporation to cover most of the acquisition cost of the location, which it has occupied for a decade. That was denied because Sure We Can had not had a contract with the city of at least $50,0000 in the past three years, which was required.

Sure We Can says it’s not giving up.

“We want to let the city know that it’s in their interest to support the canners and Sure We Can,” said Ryan Castalia, its executive director. “We can help them meet the city’s sustainability goals, we can help provide green jobs, we can help support these low-income workers who have been really deeply marginalized for a long time.”

Sure We Can applied for city funding again this year and has requested the Office of Management Budget exempt it from the contract requirement. The city did not respond to requests for comment.

The nonprofit now pays $6,000 on a month-to-month lease, but the landlord intends to raise the rent to $9,000, Castalia said. The organization faced a similar issue in April 2020, when the owner first stated its intention to raise the rent or end the lease. Evictions moratoriums have kept Sure We Can at its location, and last month, Gov. Andrew Cuomo extended the state’s ban on evictions of pandemic-affected businesses through Aug. 31.

The McKibbin property is owned by the Perez family, who also run L Train Vintage thrift stores. Ruby Perez, a property manager for the McKibbin Street location, said the family has charged Sure We Can below market-rate rent but can no longer afford to do so. Its costs have been increasing and demand has also picked up for commercial space in the area, she said.

Perez added that the landlord has been “patient and supportive” over the years while Sure We Can tried to raise funds to buy the site. “But both efforts haven’t been enough,” she said.





    Related Articles

    arrow_forward_ios
    Steve Roth and renderings of 260 11th Avenue (Getty, Profile New York)
    Vornado lays out vision for Otis Elevator Building complex
    Vornado lays out vision for Otis Elevator Building complex
    From left: Arch Companies' Jeff Simpson and Hello Living's Eli Karp along with a rendering of 1580 Nostrand Avenue (Getty Images, Arch Companies, Hello Living)
    Eli Karp’s Hello Living says goodbye to Flatbush project
    Eli Karp’s Hello Living says goodbye to Flatbush project
    A photo illustration of Daniel Brodsky and 75 West End Avenue (Getty Images, Google Maps)
    Brodsky brings challenge to NYC Airbnb law
    Brodsky brings challenge to NYC Airbnb law
    (Illustration by The Real Deal with Getty)
    How illegal Airbnbs slip through the cracks
    How illegal Airbnbs slip through the cracks
    FSA Capital’s Benjamin Clyburn and 133-09 37th Avenue in Flushing (Google Maps, Breaking Ground, Getty)
    Brian Pun’s FSA Capital plans 173K sf project in Flushing
    Brian Pun’s FSA Capital plans 173K sf project in Flushing
    Brookfield Properties’ Brian Kingston with Two Manhattan West (Brookfield Properties, Getty)
    Hedge fund finds 283K sf at Two Manhattan West
    Hedge fund finds 283K sf at Two Manhattan West
    Savills' Nick Farmakis with 655 and 767 Third Avenue (Loopnet, Getty, Savills)
    Third Avenue: The land of “leave-behind”
    Third Avenue: The land of “leave-behind”
    (Getty)
    Zoning, infrastructure limits are squeezing US land supply
    Zoning, infrastructure limits are squeezing US land supply
    arrow_forward_ios

    The Deal's newsletters give you the latest scoops, fresh headlines, marketing data, and things to know within the industry.

    Loading...