[Aerial view of 45 Rivington via Google Maps]
On March 22, New York City Comptroller Scott Stringer launched an investigation into the de Blasio administration's decision to lift deed restrictions on the Rivington House at 45 Rivington St., a move that netted the nursing home operator, the Allure Group, a $72 million profit off the property's sale to condo developers.
In the days that followed, many more details emerged in the media, such as that James Capalino, a de Blasio friend and fund-raiser, had been lobbying for two years for the prior owner to have the deed restriction lifted. Capalino's firm earned a record $12.9 million lobbying City Hall in 2015, according to the Times.
The Allure Group had promised that 45 Rivington — the former Rivington Center for Nursing & Rehabilitation — would remain a health facility. In February 2015, Allure paid $28 million for the property. The deed was reportedly changed in exchange for the Allure Group's $16 million payment to the city.
Allure then reportedly quietly sold the property for $116 million to the the Slate Property Group, a condo developer (and Capalino client) who plans to create 100 luxury residences in the building that overlooks Sara S. Roosevelt Park on the Lower East Side.
[Via The Wall Street Journal]
Here are some developments about the sale and investigation from this past week...
Op-ed — To catch a thief: Solution needed for de Blasio real estate deal whodunit (Daily News)
Op-ed — Why isn’t the mayor furious at this rancid deal? (New York Post)
CB3 Sent Written Plea to Mayor on Rivington House Jan. 27 (The Lo-Down)
How New York Allowed Gentrification for $16 Million (The New York Times)
Two pols demand info on deal to turn Lower East Side nursing home into condos (Crain's)
Nursing home deal, and City Hall response, raises questions (Politico New York)
And an excerpt from the Times article on Wednesday:
“I’m not happy that it happened,” Mr. de Blasio, a Democrat, told reporters on Monday. “I’m not happy about the fact that I didn’t hear about it in advance, before it became public.”
On Jan. 27, however, the local community board sent a letter to Mr. de Blasio requesting “information as to what transpired as to this transaction.” The letter was remarkably prescient; it warned that Rivington House could be converted into free-market housing, “as has been made possible by the lifting of the deed restriction.” The building was sold in February; city officials never responded to the letter, according to the community board, and Mr. de Blasio never saw it, said Karen Hinton, a spokeswoman for the mayor.
Today, the Post reports that, despite de Blasio's apparent anger over the sale, no one in his administration has taken the fall.
Also today, the Post reports that the Allure Group, "a cadre of young, seemingly disparate entrepreneurs," owes more than $6 million in back taxes on two properties in Brooklyn.
Previously on EV Grieve:
What next then for 45 Rivington St.?
Report: Developers buy former LES nursing facility for luxury housing