Executive Director Melissa Aase’s Response to Mayor de Blasio’s July 8th ‘Deed Restriction Process, $16 Million for the Lower East Side

Contact: Amy Brenna

(New York, NY) July 15, 2016 – Late on Friday, July 8th, Mayor de Blasio issued a press release stating that policies and procedures related to lifting deed restrictions would be implemented in the future.  To the Lower East Side neighborhood, he offered $16 million that would be “re-invested in the affected community”.

Simply put:  The Mayor’s response is not good enough.

The hard truth behind the Mayor’s proposal is that the Lower East Side still is on track to lose:

  • 150,000 square feet of community-benefit skilled nursing home space for 219 people.  This is on top of the loss of Bialystoker and Cabrini nursing homes in recent years.
  • An estimated $70 million in public funds that were invested 25 years ago to make Rivington House into a functional and compliant nursing home.  Will tax payers be reimbursed for this financial loss?
  • $13 million additional dollars.  If the deed restriction fee should have been calculated at 25% of the value of the building, and the City is offering this value to us to make us whole, then the Lower East Side should get a total of $29 million, based on the price Allure paid for Rivington House.

Our neighborhood has lost more than just dollars and cents.  We have lost tangible benefits that make the Lower East Side the vibrant, welcoming community it has always been.  Rivington House was surrounded by and integrated into the neighborhood in meaningful ways.  We also lost the people who lived at Rivington House, our neighbors.  What will we gain in place of an irreplaceable neighborhood institution? Years of disruptive luxury development and 100 astronomically unaffordable units.  And a vague promise of a small measure of restitution.

I am glad the City has listened to its citizens and embarked on a review of what happened to Rivington House. The proposed changes to its deed restriction policy and practices offer hope to neighborhoods that are similarly struggling with the disproportionate and questionable impact of rapid luxury development.  I commend the Mayor and his administration for promising to connect this kind of land-use decision to overall policy, meaningful community input to surface questions and historical nuances, and improved transparency and fairness for all.

But, still: It is not good enough.  We reaffirm our call to save Rivington House and return it to the Lower East Side community.  #CareNotCondos

Please sign the petition urging Mayor de Blasio to return Rivington House to the Lower East Side.

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