Former Manhattan properties of “worst landlord” could find new life with nonprofits

Revived Neighborhood Pillars program could renew Maguire Capital took over from Daniel Ohebshalom 

331 East 14th Street and 438-440 West 45th Street (Getty, Google Maps, Loopnet)
331 East 14th Street and 438-440 West 45th Street (Getty, Google Maps, Loopnet)

Two Manhattan buildings formerly owned by “worst landlord” Daniel Ohebshalom may get scooped up by nonprofit housing groups, thanks to an infusion of city funding.

The city’s new budget revived the Neighborhood Pillars program with a $15 million boost, which could help nonprofits and developers buy neglected properties, like those formerly operated by Ohebshalom, Gothamist reported

Ohebshalom’s lender, Marvin Azrak’s Maguire Capital, initiated a UCC foreclosure on four of his properties last year, including one at East 14th Street and one on West 45th Street. Maguire Capital is now trying to unload these properties for $7 million and $5.25 million, respectively. 

Both buildings, 331 East 14th Street and 438-440 West 45th Street are in need of extensive repairs, with maladies ranging from unsecured doors to mushrooms growing out of the walls. Only a fraction of the units in either building remain occupied, Gothamist reported. Housing advocates accuse the owners of warehousing, or leaving rent stabilized units vacant in lieu of costly repairs. 

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Ohebshalom topped the Public Advocate’s Worst Landlord Washlist in 2022 for his management of two Washington Heights properties that racked up nearly 700 violations. The Los Angeles-based owner spent time in Rikers earlier this year for failing to make repairs on those properties. 

“What we don’t want is a for-profit buyer who seeks to further deregulate the buildings, and what we certainly don’t want is more apartments warehoused while we’re in the midst of a historic housing crisis,” Councilmember Erik Bottcher, whose district includes the West 45th Street building, told Gothamist.

This Land Is Ours, a community housing group, told Gothamist it had toured the property and is considering purchasing the building with other affordable housing investors. However, the group’s project director said it could take up to a year to put together funding for purchase. 

Emily Davis

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