Cabrini Nursing Home May Keep Building, Remain Open Under New Owner

The Cabrini nursing home provides care for 240 patients.
The Cabrini nursing home provides care for 240 patients.

There may be some good news for Cabrini Center for Nursing and Rehabilitation Center in the East Village today, just as 2011 comes to a close.

This afternoon, we’ve received a copy of a letter from an attorney representing the owner of the building, who bought it for $25.5 million in September. The letter, a response to last week’s plea for help from local elected officials seeking to avoid closure of the low-income nursing home, reveals that the potential buyer negotiating with current owner, MM 62-74 Avenue B Owner (believed to be backed by Ben Shaoul), is actually a for-profit operator who is seeking to acquire both the nursing home operations and the real estate it occupies.

Writes Kenneth Fisher, of Cozen O’Connor:

On December 6, 2011, Cabrini’s counsel advised me that it was negotiating with a for-profit operator for the sale of its business operations, and identifying him as a potential purchaser for the real estate as well … after some discussion, and recognizing the urgency of the situation, the parties reached an understanding of what will be necessary for a transaction to occur.

Fisher goes on the caution that no deal has been inked, and asks the recipients of the letter to encourage Cabrini’s leaders and the new operator to conclude their negotiations and reach a deal as soon as possible, as the real estate sale is dependent upon the sale of the business.

Cabrini’s lease is up in April, which means, as Fisher notes, that closure proceedings for the nursing home would need to begin in early January if the deal falls through. Apparently, according to Fisher’s letters, previous negotiations between Cabrini and the Archdiocese of New York to build a new nursing home, which seemed a sure thing as late as September, when Fisher’s client acquired the building, have fallen through.

Should the nursing home and the potential new operator fail to reach agreement, Fisher makes clear in his letter that his client was proceeding with plans to evict the nursing home from 542 E. Fifth St. “My client purchased the property in good faith, with the intention of upgrading it for an as-of-right use. Their financing is in place and architectural design in under way,” Fisher writes.