De Blasio Says City Will Try to “Re-Acquire” Former P.S. 64 Building (Updated)

De Blasio hosted a town hall meeting last night at P.S. 188. Photo by Pat Arnow.

De Blasio hosted a town hall meeting last night at P.S. 188. Photo by Pat Arnow.

Mayor de Blasio came to the Lower East Side last night for a town hall meeting at P.S. 188. It was co-hosted with District 2 City Council member Rosie Mendez.

Many in attendance were thrilled to hear the mayor throw his support behind the campaign to return the old P.S. 64 building on East Ninth Street to the community. The property, formerly home to the CHARAS/El Bohio community center, was purchased at a city auction in 1998 for $3.3 million. Developer Gregg Singer has been trying to open student dormitories in the building.

Here’s what the mayor had to say on the topic last night:

…the decision made a long time ago by the Giuliani administration was a mistake. For the Giuliani administration to put that building into private hands failed miserably, and we’ve seen the negative effect that has had on the community. So I’m announcing tonight, the city’s interest in re-acquiring that building. We are ready to right the wrongs of the past and will work with Council member Mendez and her successor (almost certainly Carlina Rivera) to get that done.

The mayor did not offer any specifics. [We’ll have more details as they become available.] In the meantime, have a look at the video recording from last night’s town hall meeting.

UPDATE 10/14 A spokesperson for Singer told DNAinfo that the developer has no intention of selling the property. Nicole Epstein said, “Singer has absolutely no plans to give the ‘building’ back… The city is trying to be a bully here.” City officials have declined to elaborate on the strategy to acquire the property.