Mystery buyer snaps up controversial Rivington House for $160 million

Sketchy real estate deal in 2016 was scandal for de Blasio

Slate Property Group’s David Schwartz and 45 Rivington Street (Credit: Google Maps)
Slate Property Group’s David Schwartz and 45 Rivington Street (Credit: Google Maps)

UPDATE, Sept. 19, 12:43 p.m.: Slate Property Group and its partners have sold their Rivington House property — the former nursing home that became a flashpoint of controversy for Mayor Bill de Blasio three years ago.

Slate, China Vanke and Adam America Group sold the 150,000-square-foot building at 45 Rivington Street last week to an anonymous buyer for $159.6 million, property records filed with the city Wednesday show.

The identity of the new owner could not be immediately determined. The buyer took steps to cloud its identity behind an LLC.

Mortgage documents for the deal were signed by an attorney at the law firm Goulston & Storrs.

Slate earlier this year signed a 30-year lease at the property with Mount Sinai Hospital, which plans to operate the building as a behavioral health center.

“We are pleased with this outcome, and that we could work with Mt. Sinai on a long-term lease to ensure that Rivington House will remain a healthcare facility serving New Yorkers in need for decades to come,” a spokesperson for the developer emailed to The Real Deal.

Slate and its partners purchased the Lower East Side property for $116 million in 2016 with plans to convert the century-old building into 102 residential condominiums.

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The developers were never accused of any wrongdoing, but the property has been the source of continued controversy over the wheeling and dealing that led to its sale to luxury developers.

Rivington House operated as a nursing home for people living with HIV/AIDS until it closed in 2015. Nursing home company Allure Group — led by de Blasio donor Joel Landau — purchased the property in February 2015 for $28 million.

Allure persuaded the Department of Citywide Administrative Services to lift a restriction on the property’s deed that required it to be operated as a nursing home.

Allure paid the city $16 million for that change and the next year flipped the property to Slate and its partners.

The deal immediately drew criticism and spurred investigations from the state attorney general’s office and Albany’s ethics panel.

Then-Attorney General Eric Schneiderman reached a settlement with Allure Group earlier last year that required the for-profit healthcare provider to pay $2 million in penalties. The city’s Department of Investigation issued a report excoriating City Hall and DCAS for a “complete lack of accountability” for removing the deed restriction.

It’s not exactly clear how much progress had been made on the condo conversion at the time of last week’s sale. A partial stop-work order exists on the property, according to the Department of Buildings website.

This article was updated to include a comment from Slate Property Group.