Tuesday, June 13, 2023

Community group urges Mayor Adams to reacquire the former P.S. 64/CHARAS 'now'

EVG file photo via Stacie Joy 

The coalition Save Our Community Center, CHARAS, former P.S. 64 (SOCCC-64) has embarked on a new letter-writing campaign to urge Mayor Adams to reacquire the long-vacant property on Ninth Street between Avenue B and Avenue C. 

The time is past due for the city to act in the interest of the community and intervene to restore this once-vital community resource to its former use. 

Send a letter to the Mayor asking him to take steps to reacquire CHARAS now! 
You can find the link here

The campaign is the first activity we've heard from here since mid-March, when the day before the foreclosure auction of the address, developer Gregg Singer put the long-vacant property into bankruptcy protection, the latest maneuver in a long saga.

On March 15, SOCCC-64, community leaders and residents hand-delivered a letter from local elected officials — including Councilmember Carlina Rivera, Congressman Dan Goldman, Assemblymember Harvey Epstein and State Sen. Brian Kavanagh — to City Hall requesting a meeting as soon as possible to discuss reacquiring 609 E. Ninth St.

The five-floor landmarked building is zoned for "community facility use," Any conversion to residential housing would require a zoning variance. The long-standing Stop Work Order and Full Vacate are still on file with the Department of Buildings.

Singer wanted to turn the building into a dorm (more here), though those plans never materialized. 

In late December, New York State Justice Melissa Crane ordered the foreclosure and sale of the former P.S. 64 with a default, including penalties and interest totaling approximately $90 million.

The property that Singer purchased from the city in 1998 for $3.15 million fell into foreclosure last year and was reportedly in the hands of lender Madison Realty Capital.  

In October 2017, then-Mayor de Blasio's statement at a Town Hall put forth the idea that the city would take steps to reacquire the building. According to published reports, the Mayor said he'd work to "right the wrongs of the past."  (Recently revealed emails show that de Blasio's aides thought his efforts to buy the property were "nuts.") 

Some residents want to see the space used again as a community center, as it was during its time as Charas/El Bohio Community Center. Singer evicted the group on Dec. 27, 2001. 


Anonymous said...

Rudy Giuliani did this—let’s not forget.

Dan said...

Thanks for your updates on Charas. I sent a letter just now via the link included. Takes 2 seconds.


jack said...

A community center could be a good idea but it's a lot of space. What would the scope of the community center be? Loisada Center, a great facility and program, is a block away.

Line up organizations: preschool? seniors? all ages job training? arts? in-door sports facilities? all of the above? Work on the funding involved in the renovation. Singer destroyed the interior, bringing the building up to code will not be cheap. The city can, and might, help but the impetus has to come from the community if we want a community center.

John Penley said...

Once again this "coalition" has people asking the mayor to "give Charas Back" but has no plan to raise the money [millions of dollars] to rehab the building. Considering the financial state of the city I highly doubt that Mayor Adams is going to "give the building back", rehab the building and pay for the legal activity against Greg Singer to get it back. In the spirit of the old , squatted Charas I suggest that this "coalition" join the efforts to help Immigrants at St. Brigid's school which is something that actually could happen instead of repeatedly asking the mayor to "give it back" without having the money to bring it up to code.

Anonymous said...

The fine that should be levied on Singer and Madison Realty for violating the usage requirements for over a decade are already sufficient to rehab it. Why do these rich speculators get to ruin a building, deprive a community from accessing its cultural center, and still not get held accountable. What kind of elected politicians, policies, and judges are in power to create such conditions? In this eeathiest of cities? Everyday this drags on is a violation of democratic rights. Let's imagine and work toward getting it back asap.

Anonymous said...

The only way CHARAS will ever be a community center again is if it is reopened the same way Chino and them opened it back in the day..

Anonymous said...

Tear the ugly rotten monstrosity down and convert it into an open garden.

Anonymous said...

I don't understand why the 'coalition' has no financial plan to make any of this happen, its doesn't even have renovation estimates, cost estimates on running a 'community center' etc. This property is a huge asset to the city as a tax payer. So I hope this building gets developed privately and pays its share of real estate taxes and maybe even provides housing to the city. The biggest issue this city is facing is lack of housing. We need to produce more housing to meet the demand. Here is a great opportunity if the city allows it rather than keeping a huge vacant structure empty and unused for so long.

Anonymous said...

Affordable daycare 8am-6pm is sorely needed in this neighborhood