For the second time in a year, the nursing home formerly known as Rivington House, will be closing its doors. The facility, now called the Rivington Center for Nursing & Rehabilitation, will shut down by the end of next week, soon after the last residents are transferred to other homes.
Rivington House operated from 1995 until late last year as a nursing home for AIDS patients. Its previous owner, VillageCare, closed the location and sold the building to The Allure Group, a for-profit nursing care provider. The idea was to run the 215-bed center as a nursing home for the general population. The Rivington Center for Nursing & Rehabilitation opened this past February with a limited number of patients. But the bureaucratic hurdles of making the facility work apparently became insurmountable.
Executives of The Allure Group have not replied to our requests for information. But Community Board 3’s district manager, Susan Stetzer, has been provided some details about the nursing home’s future on the Lower East Side. The company, we’re told plans to reopen in a different location within a short walking distance of the current building at Rivington and Forsyth streets. The property, 45 Rivington St., has not yet been sold. That will reportedly not happen until the state provides assurances that Medicaid reimbursements will be available for the nursing home beds. The company would like to replace all of the beds currently available on Rivington Street but it expects that will be a tall order.
Two transactions related to the converted former school building have been recorded by the city’s finance department in the past year. On February 9, The Allure Group purchased the property (now known as 41 Rivington St.) for $28 million. Then on November 10, records show, The Allure Group paid $16,150,000, acquiring the deed from the city of New York. As part of that deal, the city administration lifted a restriction in place since the 1990s requiring the property to operate as a not-for-profit residential health care facility. For the moment, we don’t know why these two transactions took place and can’t explain what bearing they might have on the building’s future.
There is this tidbit, however. Neighbors in an adjacent building report they recently heard from a construction firm working with the Slate Property Group, which was anticipating a market rate residential conversion of the building. Tessa Huxley lives in an HDFC cooperative on Forsyth Street. Years ago, the residents agreed to give up their community garden so that Rivington House could put a generator there. They certainly didn’t anticipate that the sacrifice would one day benefit a luxury condo building. “In terms of trying to preserve our community,” she said, “a market rate conversion isn’t really what we had in mind.”
Employees of the center have been told they will be transferred to other Allure Group facilities. There are about 45 full- and part-time staff members.