City Allows Owners to Conduct Structural Examination of Rivington House Building

45 Rivington St., April 2017.

45 Rivington St., April 2017.

Mayor de Blasio has said repeatedly he does not believe the city has a legal case to wrest control of Rivington House from luxury condo developers. While a “stop work order” has been in place on the former nursing home building since April of 2016, the Department of Buildings recently gave the owners, led by Slate Property Group, permission to perform some exploratory work inside the converted schoolhouse.

City officials lifted deed restrictions at 45 Rivington St., just before the Allure Group sold the property to Slate, Adam America Real Estate and China Vanke for $116 million. Rivington House became one of the biggest scandals confronted by the de Blasio administration, resulting in many investigations but few tangible results for the local community.

Earlier this month, on May 16, the Buildings Department (DOB) approved an application, allowing for the, “miscellaneous removal of areas of flooring, walls and ceiling finishes throughout the existing building in order to expose the existing structure and masonry elements… for future renovations.” The owner representative listed on the application is Martin Nussbaum of Slate Property Group. The applicant or record was John Cetra of CetraRuddy Architecture.

The other day, we asked a DOB press representative if the permit allows the owners to begin their luxury condo conversion. A spokesperson, Joe Soldevere, said the approved application does not allow any renovation work to take place. It only permits them to “examine and assess structural elements of the building,” he said.

Separately, the office of State Assemblywoman Yuh-Line Niou contacted the mayor’s office about Rivington House. A representative for Niou was told that last year’s stop work order remains in effect and that anyone who sees construction work taking place within the building should alert authorities.

A local group, Neighbors to Save Rivington House, continues to push for the return of the facility to the community.